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June 4, 2023

Review: 2023 Honda Civic Type R

The newest Honda Civic Type R is something else. Around the racetrack, it’s guaranteed to have more talent than most drivers out there, thereby cementing itself as a venerable track day hero. It’s so good (no disclaimer needed), that there’s little need to touch any of the FL5’s track credentials anymore. Instead, let’s focus on just how easy (or hard) it is to live with on a daily basis.

For most, driving a manual transmission-equipped car sounds like a recipe for disaster given Manila’s terrible traffic. But this 320-horsepower Civic isn’t one of those cases. In fact, it doesn’t require much effort—the gearchange is light and easy, while the steering and clutch are undemanding. For the most part, the shift action is slick with nice, well-defined slots. It’s not MX-5 sweet as the third gear engagement is sticky, but it does beat out the Toyobaru twins. Even better, when you up the pace, those same qualities turn the Civic Type R into a confident canyon carver. The sense of connection it gives, and the performance it’s capable of, is just on a different plane.

The 2.0-liter VTEC Turbo loves to rev with a redline that touches 7,000 rpm. Yet, on the daily drive, there’s no need to squeeze every ounce of it since it’s got excellent tractability off the line. With well-spaced gearing and a usable torque curve, there’s little need to row excessively through the gears. All you need is to press down on the accelerator, and it’ll pull with tenacity. It’ll accelerate through the gears rapidly, and before you know it, you’re flying past 100 km/h. Now, admittedly, the exhaust note isn’t as elaborate or fine-tuned, but thankfully it’s an honest one with none of those fake, speaker-fed embellishment. Honda’s also worked to reduce the interior drone too. It’s still there, but it’s not as irritating as it once was.

As expected of a hot hatch, the suspension travel is short, but it’s short enough not to bottom out at every pothole. It’s uncanny how Honda engineers managed to tune the suspension to feel soft during the initial travel, only to progressively stiffen up depending on the impact. Larger cracks and road corrugations will jiggle the occupants, but it won’t be dragged around as much through potholes. It also won’t thud as hard. Sadly, the Achilles heel of the previous Civic Type R’s managed to stick around, and that’s the road noise; tthere’s still a fair bit even at cruising.

Like the previous Civic Type R, the new one comes with switchable driving modes. Comfort is best for city drives, while Sport is best for twisties. There’s also a +R mode, but its ultra-stiff damper setup and heavy steering limits it for track use. A new Individual mode though allows drivers to dial in various settings from engine mapping, steering effort, to even the way the gauges display information. A nice touch.

Matching the Civic Type R’s excellent on-road behavior is its driving environment—it’s easily one of the best in the business. The touch points—the seats, steering wheel, and gear lever—all work together to create an impeccable experience. The Alcantara steering wheel is a delight to hold and operate, so too the metal gearlever and pedals. Like the standard Civic, the driving position is low-slung, but here, it’s accentuated further by the one-piece sport buckets. Don’t be fooled though. These figure-hugging seats are surprisingly comfortable and are forgiving even to plus-sized individuals. They also offer plenty of adjustment too.

For those traveling in the back seat, the Civic Type R can only accommodate two adults. In place of where the middle occupant usually sits is a crudely engineered cup holder. There are no rear map pockets or a flip down armrest either. When you’re paying P 3.880-million, Honda could have certainly done a better job. Thankfully, the cargo space is generous enough and it still folds down flat in a 60/40 split like a standard hatchback.

The interior look is generally shared with the standard Civic down to neatly integrated hidden AC vents, full-width mesh dash pattern, and the infotainment screen jutting out at the top. The 9-inch system is the same one in the Civic RS Turbo with the addition of some Type R stuff like the LogR track app. Racier elements are found in the red carpeting and seat belts. For sure, it’s not to everyone’s liking, but it’s nice to see Honda taking some chances here.

Meanwhile, the instrumentation is displayed on a 10.2-inch screen behind the steering wheel with two display modes available. There’s a row of shift lights above it that light up as you head towards the rev limiter helping you time that perfect upshift. You also get an audible beep to alert you, for when you’re too busy to keep an eye on the lights. Both of these functions can be turned off via the Vehicle Settings menu on the infotainment.

When it comes to visibility, it’s quite easy to see out of the front, and even with that huge spoiler strapped to the trunk hatch, there’s no issue seeing out of the back either. A rear camera helps you drive into a tight parking spot, but there are no sensors of any kind here. Honda Sensing comes standard too, but the LaneWatch has been ditched for blind spot indicators. The same system also happens to unlock rear cross traffic alert.

In terms of looks, the FL5 is definitely more grown up. Compared to the cartoonish wheel-arch extensions and giant gear spoiler of the previous Civic Type R, this one’s more subdued. This may have put hot hatch fans on the fence, but don’t go around thinking it has lost its character. Honda has just managed to integrate everything better now. If there’s one issue, it’s with the ground clearance. Although it’s a tad higher than the previous model’s 120 millimeters (it’s now at 123 millimeters), it’s just a matter of when, not if, you’ll scrape that front chin through parking ramps or driveways.

Ultimately, if there’s a road block to the Civic Type R FL5, it’s down to two things: stock availability and price. For the first one, there’s a steady trickle of units making it to local dealerships so for as long as you’re willing to wait, Honda’s not treating this as a limited edition offering. However, the FL5 does cost a lot. At P 3.880-million, it’s almost a million more compared to the FK8’s introductory price in 2018 and P 670,000 more than its final 2021 price.

But for those who can stomach the price tag, ultimately, the Honda Civic Type R does have the performance and engagement not just for the track, but for the real world as well. In terms of speed, handling, and everyday usability, this hot hatch is hard to match. The Civic on which it’s based on is already great, so by extension, this version is even more so. And with the demise of its rivals such as the Subaru WRX STI and the continued unavailability of the Toyota GR Yaris (or GR Corolla for that matter), the Civic Type R finds itself in its class all by itself.

2023 Honda Civic Type R (FL5)

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Bottom Line
Pros Manically fast, excellent mechanical polish, great hot hatch package.
Cons Crummy rear seats, low ground clearance, obtrusive road noise.
TL;DR A formidable track weapon that's easy to drive on the street.
Year Introduced 2023
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Sports Hatchback
Seating 4
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 320 @ 6,500
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 420 @ 2,600-4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~95
Transmission 6 MT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 6.94 km/L @ 16 km/h,
10.63 km/L @ 28 km/h
Fuel Tank Size (L) 47
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,593
Width (mm) 1,890
Height (mm) 1,407
Wheelbase (mm) 2,735
Curb Weight (kg) 1,428
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc, Brembo
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electronic, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Michelin Pilot 4S 265/30 R 19 Y (f & r)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 35 front, 33 rear
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors None
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 2
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Collision Mitigation Braking
Forward Collision Warning
Lane Keeping Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Road Departure Mitigation
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps None
Light Operation Auto, w/ Auto High Beam
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Suede
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Suede
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual Zone
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 12, Bose
Steering Controls Yes


  1. I believe it's overpriced but Honda Ph knows petrol heads will still buy it no matter what.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. All you need to know is here:

      Wow check out their negative reviews:


  3. Ser Geybin is in the house. One of the proud owner of Honda Civic.


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