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Better Late Than Never: The 2023 Honda Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R front 3/4 view

Ask and ye shall receive.

Dropping a subtle hint into a review works sometimes, too.

Back in February, in my review of the 2024 Acura Integra Type S, I mentioned that I couldn't compare it to the Honda Civic Type R as most reviewers do because the Civic Type R I was scheduled to review in January of 2023 got diverted just before my turn and was never rescheduled.

Three days later, I got a note from DriveShop, which handles prep and delivery for Honda in Northern California, letting me know they'd read the piece, still had the Type R in the fleet and that it would be in my driveway in mid-March.

Can I tell you how glad I am that happened?

2023 Honda Civic Type R rear 3/4 view

The Civic Type R absolutely lives up to its reputation as one of the best sports cars you can buy for the least amount of money.

2023 Honda Civic Type R hood up

2023 Honda Civic Type R engine

Putting a 315-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo under the hood of a Honda Civic guarantees a good time, but it's just one element of what makes the Type R such a terrific driver's car.

Honda's short-throw six-speed is one of the best gearboxes on God's earth, and the Type R also gets a limited-slip differential, four-wheel disc brakes with red Brembo front calipers, a rear multi-link suspension, adaptive dampers, and a four-mode adaptive drive system (Normal, Sport, Individual and Type+R).

2023 Honda Civic Type R +R mode display

Sixty from a standing start happens within a tenth or two of five seconds flat, torque steer is not an issue (a concern when that much power is only going through the front wheels) and on the twistiest Sierra foothill roads I could find, the car felt like it was glued to the pavement (that big wing on the back doing its job, as are the 265/30 R 19 high-performance summer tires).

All that performance comes with a pretty light penalty in fuel economy---an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city/highway.

2024 Honda Civic Type R rear seats

A car like this can help you make friends. It can also help you take them places. Not many cars with this much performance have livable rear seats, if they have rear seats at all. The Civic Type R features 37.4 inches of legroom back there, and a pair of cupholders.

2023 Honda Civic Type R front seats

Do you like the red and black interior combination? Good, because it's the only way a Civic Type R interior comes.

2023 Honda Civic Type R instrument panel

It also only comes with that six-speed manual in the console. I've written before about how today's automatics can shift better than we do and deliver better fuel economy, but I'm not at all unhappy that Honda made this choice. The Civic Type R should have you as involved as possible in the act of driving---it's how you'll get the most satisfaction out of it.

The base price of the 2024 Honda Civic Type R is $45,890 including destination. Get it in Rallye Red or Crystal Black Pearl and that's also your bottom line. The three additional paint choices, Sonic Gray Pearl, Boost Blue Pearl and the Championship White our tester wore are $455 options.

Apart from what we've already discussed, standard equipment includes a comprehensive suite of active safety features, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, a nine-inch color touchscreen with navigation, voice recognition and a multi-view rear camera, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, suede effect sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver's seat height adjustment, an aluminum shift knob, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, an electric parking brake, sport pedals, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, a cargo arear cover, a 12-volt power outlet, auto high-beams, LED headlights and taillights, a triple-outlet sport exhaust, smart entry with security, heated power door mirrors with turn indicators, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a rear wiper with washer, a tire repair kit and floor mats.

2023 Honda Civic Type R instrument display and steering wheel

2023 Honda Civic Type R center console and shifter

2023 Honda Civic Type R center stack

2023 Honda Civic Type R interior badging

This car's only option was the paint, so the as-tested price for a 2024 Honda Civic Type R (our tester was a '23, so I've adjusted the pricing) is $46,345.

2023 Honda Civic Type R front view

2023 Honda Civic Type R side view

2023 Honda Civic Type R rear view

Having driven the Civic Type R, I can see I got some of my assumptions about the differences between it and the Integra Type S wrong and some right. The price gap is much larger---about seven grand separating the two. While the Acura is absolutely more mature-feeling, the Civic doesn't feel juvenile. It's a bit more raw---a shade more primal---but even at my age, I didn't feel like I was in a car for a much younger driver.

Let's have a round of applause for Honda, for giving us two excellent compact sports cars based on the same vehicle, with enough differences to make a meaningful choice.


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