New Honda Civic Type R hot hatch gets 325bhp and a giant spoiler

After breaking its own lap record at the Suzuka race track, the new Civic Type R is finally unveiled

  • 325bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine
  • Functional aerodynamic trim pieces
  • European orders to arrive in early 2023

After months of track testing and 25 years on from the original car’s launch, the new sixth-generation Honda Civic Type R has been revealed, with power increased to 325bhp. This updated model sits as the high-performance version of the relatively sensible Civic hatchback and boasts a multitude of visual and performance upgrades.

Top 10 best hot hatchbacks 2022

Pricing for the new Honda Civic Type R is yet to be confirmed, but we expect it to cost around £40,000 when it goes on sale in early 2023. While competitors like the Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes AMG A 35 come with all-wheel drive, the new Type R remains true to its roots as a front-wheel-drive hot hatch. Other competitors include the critically-acclaimed Hyundai i30N and the hybrid-powered Cupra Leon.

2022 Honda Civic Type R: design

For buyers that were tempted by the previous generation Civic Type R but couldn’t quite commit to its angular, aggressive looks, the new Type R’s designers have made it a more subtle looking hot hatch. 

At the front, designers have created a smooth and aerodynamic bumper that channels air to the vertical slot shaped vents in each corner. A large lower honeycomb front grille remains to cool the engine, and above this are new headlights with slim edge-to-edge LED daytime running lights. 

A bonnet scoop features again, although it’s not quite as pronounced as seen on the previous model. Vents are still present behind the front wheel arches, but these have been carefully sculpted for a cleaner design along the side of the vehicle.

Don’t go thinking that the new Type R has gone all tame, however, as it retains the old car’s distinctive triple exhaust setup. Although, you may be surprised to hear that this is not the most eye-catching thing at the rear; that honour goes to the Civic Type R’s giant spoiler which, according to Honda, actually provides significant downforce at full speed.

At launch, buyers will be able to specify their new car in one of five paint colours: Championship White, Rallye Red, Crystal Black, Racing Blue, and Sonic Grey Pearls.

Interior and practicality

In the front, a sporty set of red seats have supportive bolstering to keep owners held into their seat while cornering. In a nod to tradition, the Type R logo is embossed onto the headrests of the front seats, which also feature padding to ensure reasonable comfort for longer journeys. 

A suede steering wheel is joined by an aluminium gear knob. The latter has become a notable feature of Honda’s Type R derivatives, and it sits just below a set of physical controls for the climate control. Selectable driving modes will be able to not only change the engine and steering feel, but also the suspension stiffness.

Two screens are fitted to the dash, with the infotainment display including a physical control for the volume and some buttons for its most important functions placed to the left of the screen. The look of the instruments can be changed depending on your preference, with a prominent rev gauge that should be helpful for buyers that want to take their car on track.

The current Civic is one of the class leaders in terms of practicality and the new model is set to improve on that with a longer wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels). This should improve passenger space, and the boot will still be a good size even with the steeply raked rear windscreen.

Engines and performance

Unlike the standard version of the Civic and its smaller sibling, the Honda Jazz, the Type R won’t be offered with a hybrid powertrain. Instead, the outgoing Type R’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine has been reworked to produce 325bhp – 9bhp more than before. While this may seem like an insignificant improvement, a plethora of other incremental advancements to the transmission and chassis have led to the new Civic Type R smashing the previous car’s lap record at the Suzuka racetrack in Japan.

The Type R’s 19-inch wheels will be fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tyres and feature powerful brakes designed by Brembo, for even greater stopping power. Although it is yet to be confirmed, we expect the new car to also come fitted with a limited slip differential to improve handling.

What does this mean for car buyers?

Although there’s plenty of competition in the hot hatchback market, the latest Civic Type R brings many of the features that enthusiasts will savour. A manual gearbox paired to a petrol engine and selectable driver modes mean the new Civic Type R will be more enjoyable than ever before, but buyers should note that this is likely to be the last time a combustion engine solely powers a Type R. 

For those who were drawn to the previous generation, but couldn’t overcome the raucous vents and spoilers adorning its bodywork, the less controversial styling of the new Civic Type R is likely to be a welcome sight. Yet, with prices looking to hover around the £40,000 mark, the Type R will need to offer a lot more than just a tasteful exterior to stay competitive against more-premium rivals.

Read our guides to the best cheap sports cars, the fastest hot hatchbacks on sale and the best drivers’ cars

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