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Is the 2023 Honda Civic Type R a Good Car? 5 Pros, 3 Cons

honda civic type r 2023 17 white exterior rear angle scaled jpg 2023 Honda Civic Type R | Cars.com photo by Damon Bell

Honda reinforced its reputation for affordable performance back in 2017, with the announcement that the long-awaited Civic Type R would finally be sold in the U.S. For 2023, Honda has relaunched the automaker’s hottest of hot hatches with a redesigned Type R based on the current-generation Civic.

Related: 2023 Honda Civic Type R Review: Fast and Not as Furious Looking 

The Type R has lost some of its boy racer look and now has a more subdued exterior free of outlandish scoops, vents and bulges. But the performance remains, if in a more mature and refined form — not unlike the approach Volkswagen took with the Golf R.

Like its predecessor, the 2023 Type R uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, now with a slight bump in horsepower. And like the previous version, the Type R is available only with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. Other enhancements include upgraded brakes and suspension, along with all the improvements in interior room, quality and refinement included with the redesigned Civic that arrived for the 2022 model year. We’re pleased to say that while its “Fast and Furious” look may be gone, the new Type R delivers the goods both on the street and at the track.

But as good as it is, not all is perfect with Honda’s latest performance car. Cars.com’s Damon Bell recently had the chance to spend some time behind the wheel of a 2023 Civic Type R and found a few niggling faults buyers should be aware of. Hit the link above to read Bell’s complete review. For a quicker look at five things we like about the 2023 Honda Civic Type R and three things we don’t, read on.

Things We Like

honda civic type r 2023 33 interior engine scaled jpg 2023 Honda Civic Type R | Cars.com photo by Damon Bell

1. Quick and Refined Powertrain

Improvements to the Type R’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine result in a power boost to 315 horsepower, with a smooth and steady delivery from low rpm right up to the redline. An active-valve exhaust system produces an appropriately aggressive snarl under acceleration. The six-speed manual transmission is well matched with the engine, with a smooth and easily modulated clutch, and a lighter flywheel helps sharpen engine response.

2. Sharp Handling, Decent Ride

The Type R combines crisp handling and quick reflexes with a relatively comfortable ride thanks to suspension enhancements, wide Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and four selectable modes (Comfort, Sport, Plus R and a customizable setting). In Comfort, the Type R soaks up bumps and rough pavement acceptably well, while Plus R stiffens things up considerably and is best reserved for track use. Regardless of the setting, the Type R’s Brembo brakes are more than up to the job, with impressive and easily modulated performance.

3. Accommodating Yet Businesslike

The Type R benefits from the roomier interior of the current-gen Civic and its improved materials quality. Type R-specific features build on that and include red carpets, seat belts and front sport seats with aggressive bolsters. For those serious about track time, the seats also have shoulder cutouts for a racing harness, while an updated version of the LogR Performance Datalogger system offers additional instrumentation along with a stopwatch, integrated track maps for selected circuits and a scoring function based on driver performance.

4. Practical Performance

Even with its performance upgrades, the Type R remains a Civic hatchback, with all the practicality and occupant room of more subdued trims. The rear seat is spacious enough to accommodate adults, and cargo room rivals that of a subcompact SUV. Thin front pillars and well-positioned side mirrors make for good visibility, and the Type R gets the latest Honda Sensing active-safety features like blind spot warning and traffic sign recognition.

5. Mature Yet Aggressive

The Type R has lost much of the previous version’s tacked-on boy racer bits, going instead with a more integrated approach to aerodynamic and cosmetic enhancements. It’s notable that the only body panels shared with other Civics are the front doors, roof and lift gate; everything else is unique to the Type R, including a vented aluminum hood and fenders with flares built in rather than added on.

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Things We Don’t Like

honda civic type r 2023 21 interior backseat scaled jpg 2023 Honda Civic Type R | Cars.com photo by Damon Bell

1. Access Challenges

The driving position is on the low side for a compact car, which enhances the high-performance feel — but that also can make getting in and out more of a challenge. Getting in requires a deep drop into the driver’s seat, and getting back out of the low, snug sport seats can take some effort. The seats don’t offer any lumbar adjustments or heating, either, and the integrated head restraints aren’t adjustable.

2. Economy Class Rear Seat

Unfortunately, rear-seat passengers don’t get the same improved accommodations of those up front. Instead of racy red upholstery, the backseat is covered in basic black cloth dressed up with red stitching and seat belts. There’s no flip-down center armrest, nor is there any place for a third passenger in the middle.

3. Price of Admission

Type R shopping is easy because it basically comes in one well-equipped variant with only the choice of five colors to complicate things — three of which add $395. It doesn’t come cheap, however, with a starting price of $43,990 (including destination). That works out to about a $5,000 premium over a 2021 Type R, but it is comparable to competitors such as the VW Golf R and Toyota GR Corolla.

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