If cars could send postcards, the Civic Type-R’s would make you jealous right now. “Greetings from Suzuka,” it’d read, with that big Ferris wheel in the background of Japan’s most famous racetrack. Today, Honda released photos of its next-generation hot hatch testing around the circuit it owns, ahead of its full reveal next year.
Normally we don’t glom onto media blitzes like this, but the Civic Type-R is sure to be one of the most exciting enthusiast cars of 2022 and it looks good in these pictures. I’m actually surprised by how much I don’t hate the design of it, given that I was always put off by the existing Civic Type-R’s overly busy boy-racer look. Honda’s designers needed to know when to put the pen down. It’s hard to make judgments when the car’s still clad in a wrap that obfuscates any lines or details, but I think they finally learned that lesson with the new one.
That’s not to say there’s no drama about the upcoming Type-R. The triple exhaust is still present around back, in what I can only assume is a nod to the Ferrari F40. I’m also a fan of the rear wing, which isn’t bulky in the way they tend to be on production cars. With thin supports, it almost looks like the sort of wing you’d expect to see on a GT4-class car, just downsized a bit. I hope it’s production final; at this point I have to assume it is.
Overall, the Civic Type-R is still relatively quirky for a driver’s car, particularly in profile. Honda calls it a hatchback — as did I a few paragraphs ago — but the more I look at it, the more the new Type-R strikes me as a sedan. The hatch portion is too rakish for this to be a proper two-box hatch, like a Focus, GTI or even Veloster N. “Liftback” is probably the appropriate word, especially considering that’s the word Acura’s chosen for the Civic’s North American cousin, the new Integra.
Speaking of which, I’m still curious how this Civic is going to inform what I assume Acura will call the Integra Type-S. How different will the two compacts be? How different could Honda possibly make them? And how might the Type-R compare against the hot hatch that I personally am more jazzed about for 2022, Toyota’s GR Corolla? Next year’s going to be a fun one for relatively cheap-ish fast cars; I can’t wait to see what it brings. Until then, let’s kill time gazing upon the photos.