Honda released the first official photos of the upcoming 2022 Civic Type R today, ahead of a testing trip to the Nürburgring. The car hasn’t made its official debut yet, so the fine details of the body work are covered in camouflage, but the pictures are clear enough to show us some of the differences from the base Civic hatch. When I first saw these photos, long before any coffee entered my system, I had a thought: this car looks exactly like the best Civics of the 90s.
First, let’s go over what differentiates the Type R from the standard Civic. The top grille, between the headlights, has been extended further down the face of the car. The bottom grille, formed into a perpetual scowl on the existing hatchback, is now upturned into a sort of grin. These two little changes transform the entire from end of the car, and turn it into a replica of every Civic from Initial D.
I can explain.
This is the fifth-generation Civic, commonly called the EG (or, less commonly, EH) generation. It was the Civic of the early ‘90s, with all the smooth lines and bar-of-soap styling that dominated the era. Honda never made a Type R of this generation, but this GLi trim shares its headlights and grille opening with the upcoming eleventh-generation Type R.
Both pairs of headlights have the same thin, elongated shape. They’re in a similar position relative to the front of the car, and both push the amber turn signals out to the edges with a hard line making the division. The grille is almost the exact same shape!
The fifth generation Civic was followed up, fittingly, by the sixth generation — what the cool kids call the EK. It rounded out the rest of the ‘90s, ending its run in 2000. This was the first Civic to wear the Type R badge, and while its face is further from that of the upcoming Civic we can still find some common threads.
Namely, the placement of the top grille. The EG only had one opening for air, but the EK added a second. It’s directly between the headlights, begins just under the hood opening, and tapers in width as it travels down the front end. Sound familiar?
My coworkers on the Jalopnik mainframe didn’t believe me either, until I showed them the gif from the top of this article. Do you see it now, in the press shot?
It’s not a perfect match, but none of the photos I used to make the GIF at the top have been changed in any way other than scale. No tweaks to geometry, no spacing between components added in or taken out. A dedicated Photoshopper (with some more skill than I have) could easily make an EG/EK mashup that perfectly replicates the upcoming Type R.
With any luck, the upcoming Type R won’t just look the part. ‘90s Civics (particularly the Type R) are renowned for their light weight, agile handling, and rev-happy engines. The outgoing tenth-generation Civic Type R holds the esteemed spot of The Best Car I’ve Ever Driven, so my fingers are crossed that the next one keeps the crown.