A mere 24 hours ago we named the Honda Civic Type R the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023. Honda’s latest hot hatch charms with its grown-up personality and look teamed with a more refined take on the already stellar driving dynamics of the last model. The vote among our editors was unanimous.
But the Honda Civic Type R isn’t perfect. No vehicle is. It could be better. Here’s how.
No Touring model
The Type R has made great strides to grow up in the design department over the outgoing generation. It no longer looks like a Transformer is trying to escape from within. But the pedestal-mounted rear wing is still large and always grabs attention. Some drivers might not want that attention. Day-to-day life isn’t lived on a racetrack for most consumers, and the downforce the wing provides rarely comes into play. A Touring model with a wing delete would go a long way here. While some might point to the 2024 Acura Integra Type S as the solution, it will certainly be more expensive and it’s a shame to charge more for less.
Softer Comfort mode
Maybe we are getting old or maybe the Civic Type R is just stiff, but further differentiation between the adjustable dampers’ Sport and Comfort modes would be welcome. We chose Comfort mode in the Individual setting for our most ideal setup on twisty backroads, but Comfort mode still felt a touch too firm. If the dampers were a bit softer in Comfort mode, it would make the ride more comfortable on the freeway and over road imperfections for day-to-day driving.
Make black an option inside
Red front seats are a Civic Type R trademark, and the heavily bolstered high-back red front sport seats are covered in cloth. Don’t like red? Too bad. Will it drive you nuts that the back seat is black while the front is red? Too bad. Tradition is important, but a black front seat option might appeal to a wider audience. The carpeting is red, too, which also might not fit with everyone’s taste.
We want heated front seats
The Civic Type R costs $43,990. The front seats aren’t heated, and heated seats aren’t even an option. It seems like a lot of money to spend for an amenity most of us have come to expect and appreciate. Some of us live in cold-weather climates, Honda. Please, won’t you think of the people outside of the sunshine states?
A better Apple CarPlay and Android Auto experience
The year is 2023 and many drivers rely on Apple CarPlay or Android Auto rather than native infotainment systems. It’s unacceptable when these systems don’t work. The Civic Type R’s 9.0-inch touchscreen features the same interface as every other Civic with the addition of the cool Honda LogR data logger app. In our testing of the Type R, and the Civic Si, we’ve experienced glitches with Apple CarPlay and had to reset the system to accept the connection. Less glitchy software would be appreciated, Honda. While we’re at it, how about an upgrade to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make short trips around town simpler?
Knock $5,000 off the price
There’s no question the Civic Type R is the most refined and grown up of the current hot hatches, and it features the highest-quality interior, too. But it’s also the most expensive by a considerable margin. It costs $8,495 more than the Hyundai Kona N and $6,995 more than a Toyota GR Corolla, though it only costs an extra $5,815 by the time the GR Corolla gets the optional front and rear limited-slip differentials we want. Still, knocking $5,000 off the price of the Civic Type R would make it the value like the last-generation model was when it debuted. As a reference point, the 2017 Civic Type R cost $34,775. Then again, what can we expect in the days of high inflation and low dealer inventories?
It’s near perfection
If the above improvements sound petty or insignificant it’s because most of them are. Honda solved the issues of the last Civic Type R, which was already a winner, making it feel and look more grown up. None of our proposed changes take away from the fact that the Civic Type R is one of the best, most fun vehicles we’ve driven in the past year. Its ability to carry speed around corners and through esses shocks and delights, and this time around we wouldn’t have to feel like a boy racer driving one every day.
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