Black Magic

by Petrol Mum
Honda Civic Type R MY23 side

For 30 years Honda have performed witchcraft on the Civic hatchback to create the Type R. Harder, faster and more extreme looking than the standard Civic, the Type R has mythical status among car enthusiasts. The Honda badge shape that proudly adorns the front of the Type R is a divination from the driving gods of the pleasure that will be had on your favourite roads.

The sixth generation Type R is the most powerful model in the history of the brand and it is now built in Japan rather than its longtime home in the United Kingdom. An obvious difference between the previous model and this current generation Type R is the exterior styling; it’s less in your face. The rear wing is still big mind you and I love the vents behind the front wheels and in the bonnet and the front bumper and rear diffuser look just right.

The red Brembo 4-Piston Aluminum front brake calipers and the large Honda badge really pop on this Crystal Black Type R with black 19-inch alloy wheels. The red exterior highlights pair nicely with the bright red front seats, red carpet and the red seatbelts on the interior. All of this red makes the Type R feel racy and it is racy, very racy! The 2023 Honda Civic Type R recently broke the front-wheel-drive car record at the Nürburgring with a time of 7:44.881.

The 2.0 litre DOHC VTEC turbo In line 4-cylinder engine is carried over from the previous generation Type R albeit with an improved air intake and exhaust system, and a revised turbocharger with increased boost. Power is up to 235kW at 6,500rpm and 420Nm of torque between 2,600-4,000rpm. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.9L/100km and I used 13.5L/100km of 95RON petrol. But considering the fuel tank is only 47 litres that’s about 350km of spirited driving range and something you may want to factor in for your planned road trips.

Those F1-inspired shift lights across the top of the driver’s dash flash orange, then red before you hit the 7,000rpm red line or if you engage + R mode you get the full-on Gran Turismo experience with a large horizontal taco across the top of the 10.2” all-digital customisable driver’s display and a central gear indicator. The taco graphic works in tandem with the LED shift lights, combined with an urgent beep to tell you when to shift up to the next gear in the sweet 6-peed manual transmission.

Gear changes with 6-speed manual transmission are slick and the smooth and the metal gear knob is lovely to hold, but can get a bit cold in the morning. Push hard in the corners and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres fitted as standard on the Type R will understeer wide in a predictable manner. There is some tramping and torque steer under hard acceleration off the line, so be sure to grip the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel tight. The Type R is such a fun car to push hard because it feels so solid underneath you and you can really provoke it out of the corners.

In addition to the +R drive mode you also get Comfort, Sport and Individual and I ocellated between +R and Comfort mode depending on my driving mood for the week. The ride in Comfort mode feels firm, until you switch to +R mode and then the adaptive damper system on the Type R gets very firm, but not unpleasant. Under Individual mode you can customise Engine, Steering, Suspension, Engine Sound, Rev match and Gauge design. There are no artificial pops and bangs from the exhaust just a lovely vroom sound as you work up and down the manual transmission and you will occasionally get a hint of turbo whistle as well.

You may become spellbound by the Type R LogR function that can log your real-time driving performance and even gives you a score that can be stored in the vehicle’s memory or downloaded. The system scores your Acceleration, Deceleration, Turning, Straight and Composite giving you the tools to become a better driver. It can also log your time and performance on the track, allowing you to share and compare with others who’ve completed the same course. Another screen displays data showing various temps and pressures with a G meter as well, everything the tech-savvy racer needs.

The Suede-style front racing seats hold your thighs, waist and shoulders in snuggly and the fabric is grippy and smells nice. But the front seats are not heated and only have manual adjustment for recline and forward/back, with the driver’s seat also getting height adjustment as well. The sporty seats are complemented by black suede style door trim with red stitching, alloy sports pedals, and a Type R serial number plate on the honeycomb dash insert.

The Type R has Android Auto with Google Assistant and wireless Apple CarPlay with Siri Eyes Free mode, which is good because the voice control only works if voice tags have been inputted to the infotainment system. At the front of the centre console there is a wireless charge pad with one 12V and two USB-A ports above it. I had the same issue with the Type R as I did in the two previous new Civics, I have driven with the air temperature control on the climate system only operating at full hot or cold for every other temp setting.

The Type R is a four-seat hatchback and the black suede style fabric rear seats with red stitching have two ISOFIX/rear tether child seat restraint points. I found that there was ample leg room for me, but head room was tight. There are no rear air vents or USB ports and between the two seats there are two drink bottle holders and additional drink bottle storage in the rear door cubbies.

The boot lid is power assisted with manual close and there is enough room for the weekly shop or a pram and a small shop in the boot space. There are four substantial tie down points, one hook, and one light with the tyre repair kit is neatly packaged in side of boot. If more space in the boot is required the rear seats have a 60:40 split fold mechanism with manual release on seat shoulder.

The new Civic range does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but the Type R does have a number of active safety measures including blind spot information system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist system, and adaptive cruise control.  You also get high beam support system, automatic headlights, and automatic wipers.  Passive safety includes front, side front, full-length curtain, and knee (front) airbags and a standard rear-view camera with front and rear sensors.

All new Honda’s sold in Australia come with the Honda Road Ahead Guarantee that includes a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five years Premium Roadside Assist, and five years map updates for the satellite navigation system. Plus, owners have the confidence of five low price services for just $199 each (some conditions apply, see the Honda Australia website for more information). For the new Honda Civic Type R, the service schedule is every 12 months, 10,000km, or when the engine oil monitor light illuminates, whichever occurs first.

You will be mesmerised by the new Honda Civic Type R as it is a substantial solid feeling hot hatch with immense performance potential. Purchasing your new Honda is made easy with the Honda One Price Promise. This means your new Honda has the same price no matter which Honda Centre you visit in your State or Territory, haggle free and for the Honda Civic Type R the cost $72,600. Some wait times for the Civic Type R are expected to be up to 24 months, please contact your nearest Honda Centre for more information build and price your Honda Civic Type R online

The playful engineSmall fuel tank
The gear shift knobTemperature control on the climate system
The racy red interiorNo rear air vents

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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