Design treatment is more subtle than the outgoing Type R, but huge spoiler remains
Next-gen Ford Focus ST rival set for January deliveries in the UK with upgrades to mechanicals and aerodynamics
The new Honda Civic Type R hot hatch is on sale now, with prices starting from £46,995 in the UK and deliveries set to begin in January 2023.
The most powerful variant of the venerable Japanese hatch to date, the Type R enters its sixth generation with redesigned bodywork concurrent with the new 11th-generation Honda Civic, also gaining important mechanical upgrades and improved aerodynamics.
After much speculation about the model’s powertrain, it was revealed that the new Type R will be driven by an “evolved” version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged 17YM engine seen in the previous car, mated to an improved six-speed manual gearbox.
Honda’s ‘mainstream’ models have already gone hybrid-only in Europe, and this is likely to be the last pure-ICE car the brand ever launches here.
Power stands at 325bhp and 309lb ft of torque, making it the most powerful version yet, with a 0-62mph sprint of 5.4 sec. Top speed, meanwhile, has increased to 171mph.
All of the Type R’s stats are a slight improvement over the previous-generation car, which offered 316bhp, cracked the 0-62mph sprint in 5.8sec and topped out at 169mph.
Honda says the uprated engine, which gains a revised turbocharger and new compact housing, is the strongest VTEC turbo yet and that it helps to “deliver the fastest, most addictive yet secure and rewarding drive” in Type R history.
Camber rigidity, which improves front-end response, is also upped by 16% courtesy of heavily revised suspension geometry, and wider 265-section, 19in Michelin Sport 4S tyres play an important part in the Type R upgrades.
A resin plastic boot lid and an aluminium bonnet help to save weight, while the platform delivers a 35mm longer wheelbase over the previous Type R and has 38% better structural rigidity.
According to Ko Yamamoto, technical advisor for Honda Motor Europe: “It’s the improvement in chassis rigidity and the handling performance – and also the updates to the steering and suspension – that are the biggest gain over the previous Type R. It’s more engaging and more confident.”
The brakes have also been upgraded, this time with “enhanced temperature control and air cooling”, with the vents behind the front wheel helping to reduce air pressure in the wheel arch.
The new 2022 Civic Type R also gains an upgraded exhaust system, with improved back pressure to help deliver faster turbo response, but the distinctive triple exhaust remains. A sound synthesiser now features, but is only active in the R+ drive mode, or can be switched on independently in the new Individual drive mode, where the adaptive dampers, steering, rev-match and engine response can also all be adjusted separately.
Inside, the Type R gains similar upgrades to the recently revealed Civic e:HEV. The sporty character of the Type R, meanwhile, is differentiated with a 10.2in touchscreen, a bespoke digital cockpit, red Type R trim, sports seats designed for both road and track and suede-effect upholstery.
While the old Type R sported a particularly dramatic exterior design, this new version is far more understated. A large rear wing makes a return, though, and it rides on purposeful, lightweight 19in alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Other design features include a larger lower grille, added front bumper air vents and a revised bonnet to improve airflow to the engine.
Honda has emphasised the improved performance of the Type R throughout the build-up to its reveal. Prior to its unveiling, it rounded Japan’s 2.2-mile Suzuka circuit in 2min 23.120sec, setting a new lap record for front-wheel-drive cars.
The time was 0.873sec faster than the previous record holder – the Honda Civic Type R GT Limited Edition, based on the FK8-generation car.
The model was also said to be “ready for Nürburgring testing”, suggesting the Type R could be set to challenge the front-wheel-drive record at the Nordschleife, too.
“With the all-new Civic Type R, Honda engineers have again delivered on our goal to create the most rewarding driving experience in the performance hatchback segment,” said Honda Europe senior vice-president Tom Gardner.
“Through exceptional advancements and the application of motorsport-derived technologies, we have exceeded the capabilities of even the stripped-out, lightweight version of the previous model. It is this dedication to performance excellence that has made the Civic Type R so popular with driving purists for 25 years.”