Last night, Honda revealed the 2023 Civic Type R in all its Historic Championship White glory. We all got to see the car from every angle and confirm the bits of visual info we’d gleaned from Honda’s earlier tease, but the full reveal held one crucial thing back: the specs.
Honda has given us precious few bits of information about the new Type R, and last night didn’t provide any more meaty details. But, by combining some of the information we already know with a few of last night’s photos, I think we can make some educated guesses.
I should specify, however, that that’s all we’re doing here: Guessing. I don’t have any information beyond what’s publicly available, and I’m not emailing Honda to ask if any of these guesses are true — it’s all just some fun speculation based on the teases, the full reveal, and what we already know about Honda as a company.
Of course, that means that I don’t have any more information than you do as you read this, so feel free to take to the comments and do some speculation of your own. Let’s see who comes out right.
To start, we’ll need a few core facts. Things we definitely know about the new Type R, based on what Honda’s already revealed about the car. While we may not have much, we certainly have more than nothing, so let’s get our confirmed facts down on the page.
- It’s a hatchback, based on the 11th-generation FL5 Honda Civic chassis.
- It’s wider than the base Civic hatchback and wears 265/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. That means a smaller wheel size than the FK8, which rode on 20s.
- The 2-liter VTEC turbo engine from the FK8 Civic Type R is being reused here but is now “even more powerful and responsive.” Honda calls it “the most powerful Type R ever” and crucially does not specify a sales market for that claim. More on that later.
- It set a new lap record for FWD cars around Suzuka circuit, with a time of 2:23.120. That beat the FK8 Type R Limited Edition (you know, the yellow one) by 0.873 seconds.
That’s not a ton, but we can accent it with some information about the current Civic chassis.
- In sedan form, Honda claims it’s much more rigid than the outgoing model — an 8 percent increase in torsional rigidity, a 13 percent increase in bending rigidity, and a 27 percent increase in rear damper mount rigidity. Subjectively, having driven the 2022 Civic Si soon after its tenth-generation predecessor, those improvements make the car feel more confident in the twisties than the older car.
- The Integra, which wears the Civic’s hatchback body, is 2 percent stiffer than the Si sedan.
- A base Civic LX hatchback on the tenth-generation chassis weighed 2,906 lbs, while a current LX hatchback weighs in at 2,928 lbs — a 0.76 percent increase. The current chassis also has marginally better weight distribution.
That gives us some additional info about the chassis, but it’s mainly based on the new Si. So, what do we know about how the old Si compared to the old Type R?
- The FK8 Type R was taller and shorter in length than its contemporary Si, but context matters — the base Civic hatch of the time was too. Compared to a standard hatch chassis, the Type R was 1.5" longer, 3.1" wider, and the same height — taller, in fact, than some trim levels.
- An Si sedan and a base Civic hatch shared their 2,906 lb curb weight, but the Type R added an extra 215 lbs (7.4%) to that number. It was also more front-heavy than the Si and the base hatch.
- The old Type R cost $37,895 by the end of its run, a 66% jump over the Si’s $25,000 price tag.
So, we’ve got a solid amount of data to work from. With all that at our fingertips, what can we guesstimate about the upcoming Civic Type R?
Ah, the big question, the one everyone wants to know: how much horsepower are we talking? Honda didn’t swap out the old K20C1 engine for the J30AC you’d find in the TLX Type S or anything, so we’re likely playing in a very similar ballpark to the FK8. As further proof of that, pull up both the Type R’s 2021 and 2023 Suzuka laps side-by-side — the G-meter in the bottom-right corner doesn’t show much difference in terms of longitudinal force. Sure, they could be calibrated differently, but the new Civic doesn’t seem to accelerate too much faster than the old one. It just carries more speed through the course, likely thanks to the new chassis and the wider tires.
Honda, however, claims the most powerful Civic Type R yet, so there must be some power boost. It’s unclear which variants of the Civic set each Suzuka record, but given that both are left-hand-drive I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess they’re both for the European export market.
See, Japanese and American FK8 Type Rs made a respectable 306 horsepower, but the European model got ten more. If that trend continues to the FL5 model, and if Honda’s conservatism towards engine figures from the Si sticks around, I’m going to place my bets on a four-horsepower bump across the board: 310 horsepower for the USA and Japan, 320 for Europe. If Honda decides to unify and give each market the same power output, I’d expect it to be 320 everywhere — but don’t be surprised if that number’s a little underrated.
The FK8 Type R was 1.5" longer and 3.1" wider than a base LX hatchback and stood the same height. The 11th-generation chassis sits 1.1” longer, 0.1" wider, and 0.8" lower than its predecessor, which seems similar enough that the new R won’t differ from the base model by some wildly extenuating amount. The best guess, then, is that the Civic Type R will have an overall length of 180.5", a width of 74", and a height of 55.7". Fun fact: That’s wider than a C5 Corvette.
All that extra structural rigidity in the new Civic chassis didn’t come with much of a weight penalty. Its curb weight is less than a single percent more than the old car, so it’s likely the new Type R won’t be too different, either. In fact, with the GT-style wing shaving a few ounces, the difference between base and R could even be smaller than it was for the FK8.
The current base Civic hatchback weighs in at 2,928 lbs, and the old Type R added 215 to its base-model counterpart. If we shave that delta down slightly, the new R is likely to tip the scales somewhere between 3,130-3,140 lbs.
While the 2022 Civic Si lost the adaptive dampers of the prior generation car, the Type R isn’t likely to. Expect it to drive even better than the outgoing car, taking full advantage of the stiffer chassis and wider tires. Will it be different enough for you to notice from the driver’s seat? Probably, yeah. Will it make a difference in your lap times, if you aren’t a professional driver? Almost certainly not.
What might make a difference, however, is the new tire and wheel package. Gone are the FK8's 20-inch wheels, replaced with a 19" that wears a bit more sidewall. They’re no rally tires, but they might just save your wheel over a local pothole.
Will The 2023 Civic Type R Eventually Get its Own “Limited Edition” Trim, Painted In Phoenix Yellow, That Will Beat The Base Type R Around Suzuka Circuit?
Almost certainly. For starters, to not make one would leave Hardcore Honda Fetishist money on the table, and no company wants to rake in less cash. Secondly, the new R only beat the old LE around Suzuka by 0.873 seconds, and having driven both generations in Si trim I’m convinced the FL5 can do better. Give it its own set of forged lightweight BBSes, throw the Pilot Sport Cup 2s back on, and let ‘er rip.
After horsepower, this is usually the second-biggest thing that everyone wants to know. So, let’s do some math. The FK8 Type R was priced 66% higher than its contemporary Si, and the Si’s price has jumped by $2,500 since those days. Working off the updated Si’s price, that jump would bring the new Type R to $45,650 — not out of the question for Honda’s hottest hatch.
Maybe I’m just blindly optimistic, however, because I don’t think Honda will want to outprice the Golf R — the FK8 always cost less than the Mk7 R, and I expect that trend to continue. With the Golf sitting just over $44,000, I’m predicting a price point closer to $43,000 for the 2023 Civic Type R. That places it just under the old Limited Edition, and gives it some breathing room from the German competition.
Of course, while all these are educated guesses, they’re still just guesses. You have the same information I do here, so now it’s your turn to think it through. Where do you predict the 2023 Civic Type R will fall for horsepower, weight, and price?