The all-new 2023 Civic Type R is here for us all to see. The camo wrap came off the 6th generation Civic Type R (based on the 11th generation civic) with the chassis code name FL5. Technical details are still scarce, as we are all waiting for Honda to tell us more. We know that this is the fastest and most powerful Type R Honda has ever made; the chassis is stiffer, and the car is more aerodynamically efficient. We can tell you from yesterday how it looks, its interior features, and what we saw at the premiere.
The last generation Civic Type R received a lot of commentary regarding the outrageous anime-like styling. The new FL5 receives the 11th generation Civic refreshed looks but with the Type R treatment. The wider stance and fender flares give the car a more athletic shape with hip-like features that allude to its performance focus. The grille has been expanded, and no fake vents can be found. The hood now has a vent that appears to channel air from behind the radiator out over the hood to aid in cooling. Without much information from Honda, it’s clear that improving the cooling woes of the last Civic Type R (CTR) was a priority in the car’s exterior design. Honda did say that everything in front of the A pillars is all new sheet metal compared to the regular 2022 Hatchback and Si. The rear wing also features a new sleeker design. Overall, the car has a more mature look and feel to it. It still maintains a nice balance between clean, understated maturity and badass performance cues.
There was some technical information that was revealed: new wheels and tires. The new FL5 CTR comes equipped on 19-inch lightweight wheels on a wider 265/30 tire. This is the same slim profile sidewall tire on the previous generation Type R, but the previous 20-inch wheels came with a 245/30 square set up, a 7.5% increase in contact patch surface. The tires seen equipped on the cars during the launch event are the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.
The interior and cabin technology are where several aesthetic and tech enhancements remind you that you’re sitting in the “fastest Honda branded vehicle ever offered in the US.” Compared to the regular 11th generation Civic, the cabin features new red sports seats with suede-like material and a higher friction coefficient to reduce body slippage during aggressive driving. The serialized number plates return on the dashboard on the passenger side, and red carpeting matches the seats for a very vibrant cabin. The rear seats are still standard black cloth.
The Honda LogR app adds a lot of sensor data to help the driver understand what the car is doing and how hard it can be pushed on the track. Water temp, oil temp, intake and exterior air temp, oil pressure, and boost pressure can all be displayed on the same display on the 9” infotainment screen. G meters, lap times, and even an “Auto Score” feature that appears to grade your driving habits on track. The all-digital gauge cluster has new customizable settings, including a +R mode-specific screen with a Hockey stick-like rev counter.
As a 2019 Honda Civic Type R owner with 79,000 miles in my car, I had a unique perspective to see what they changed. Overall, it appears that they’ve listened to both customers and the aftermarket. The decision to go with smaller wheels but wider tires is not only what I’ve done, but many FK8 owners have done to get more performance out of the 10th gen cars. The hood vent rather than an air scoop is exactly what many track-going FK8 owners did, switching to aftermarket Varis or Seibon Carbon hoods to help improve cooling. The ability to see so much information about the car’s different system temperatures in the LogR app is a much-appreciated feature given that the old cars had cooling issues when pushed on longer track sessions. The FL5 appears to have taken everything that needed more refining and polishing from the last generation car that had a reputation for being one of the best driving experiences at any price point and punching above its weight on circuits as well. Now, they’ve taken it to the next level.
What I find most important about this new car is that Honda’s focus was not entirely on increasing performance statistics. Carl Pulley, Honda’s Western PR manager stated that there was a large focus on the car’s driving feel, to make it “addicting to drive.” In an era where other manufacturers focus only on performance figures, our relationship with the car is often forgotten. Not with Hideki Kakinuma. Honda’s lead engineer for the Type R not only brought us the last generation car, but also worked on some of Honda’s greatest sports cars since he first started working on the EK9 era Civic Type R. “The mission of the Type R is to pursue the speed of a racing car and unparalleled driving pleasure.” This is an admirable mission to hope to achieve with this car, and I’m looking forward to driving it to see if it accomplishes such a noble task.