Honda has done little to hide the fact that there’s a new version of the Civic Type R in the works — and now, it says, next-generation of the performance hatchback will make its debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon next month.
It will show up in “special camouflage,” the Japanese automaker says, and will “be featured in a new action-packed test-driving video, so TAS visitors can go behind the scenes with Honda engineers and experience the development of Type R.”
The image above was lifted out of that video which shows the Civic Type R heading out for more testing at the Suzuka Circuit a few hours outside Tokyo.
Plenty left to learn
We’ve gotten a few other spy and teaser shots of late. Unfortunately, we’ve still seen no interior shots. And Honda has offered virtually nothing about the technical details of the Type R. But digging deep and connecting with our various sources and we’ve got more to tell you about the Civic Type R coming next year.
First, some quick background notes. This will be the 11th generation Honda Civic — though the high performance Type R was a relatively late arrival into the U.S. market. When it was introduced in 2017, the outgoing Type R used an optimized version of Honda’s 2.0-liter VTEC engine to make 316 horsepower in the European configuration — but just 306 in the American package — and about 295 pound-feet of torque.
That will climb notably, company sources have directly confirmed, though they’ve yet to lock down a hard number. Some reports have indicated that we could see as much as 400 hp. That would require a hybridized version of the revised 2.0-liter powertrain.
There is no doubt that Honda sees hybrid technology playing an important role in future performance products, but it is questionable whether it’s ready to go there with the 2023 edition of the Type R.
More realistically, bumping the turbo-4 engine up to 320 hp would seem likely.
For those who prefer to row their own, the 2023 Type R is almost certain to be offered with a manual gearbox, an upgraded version of the 6-speed in the new Civic Si.
The underlying platform for the Type R will have gone through a near-complete makeover, like the rest of the Civic line. That means a stiffer body and chassis with a slightly longer wheelbase and a wider rear track.
As it should be with a performance car, the outgoing Type R was a work in progress. It received numerous updates along the way, including major revisions to its suspension. In 2020, for example, its active damping system was substantially refined, yielding a much quicker response at each corner to both driver input and road conditions.
Expect to see Honda upgrade the technology onboard the new Type R. There’ll be improvements to the infotainment system, of course, and there’ll be new nanny functions for the Honda Sensing system — though the new hatchback will offer a range of driver modes that will allow a motorist to sharply dial back on how and when they step in.
As for production, the current Type R was a British import but, with the Honda plant in Swindon set to close, the automaker has said production will move to the U.S. One possibility is that this move might involve the limited-production facility in Ohio that was originally set up to handle the Acura NSX. With that supercar now gone, it could give the facility a new purpose in life.
Expect to see the 2023 Honda Civic Type R to carry a starting price of around $40,000.