Despite all the differences, and there are a lot of them, the all-new 2023 Honda Civic Type R is very similar to the old FK8 generation from 2017-2021. And the first drag race proves that even though 2023 models are superior, you’re not going to see a massive gap.
We’ve already done an article discussing the differences between the FL5 and FK8 in minute detail. They range from cosmetic to quality-of-life buffs to a new turbocharger that supposedly delivers better power across the band. Also, we’ve recently featured the first dyno test of the 2023 Civic Type R, and in case you’re wondering, both models make a little more hp than advertised. On paper at least, the new one makes 315 hp and the previous generation boasts 306 hp, but both have the K20C1, a capable 2-liter turbo
What you want to know is “what happens in a drag race?”. And Throttle House is here to answer that with their latest video, which is part comparison review. Basically, the 2023 Civic Type R smokes the old car off the line. Honda has worked a lot on the behind-the-scenes stuff, the electronics which ensure those front tires can hold 300+ hp, which is essentially too much power.
I think the Canadian+British duo omits one important factor, and that’s the fact that the 2023 tires are designed for this car and they’re also a fraction wider (20mm) than on the FK8. So the new Civic Type R is faster than the old one, a victory for engineering and progress.
However, the driver’s skill also plays a part in a real-world drag race. Not everybody is a professional at managing that awful wheel hop. Unless I’m mistaken, Thomas Holland, the guy in the old Civic, is the more skilled driver, but he still got gapped.
The two notice how after the initial launch, the old car was beginning to catch up, and the roll race which follows confirms it: the old FK8 Type R is somehow faster, even though it’s down 9 hp and 15 pound-feet of torque (20 Nm). The gearing is exactly the same except for the final drive, and the dyno tests don’t show any hidden hp. It’s really difficult to explain. Yes, the new car is a little bit heavier, but that can’t be it.
But what if you want AWD in your manual hot hatch?
Where others simply reviewed the new Type R, Throttle House brought the heat to the track, two more hot hatchbacks with 6-speed manual gearboxes. If you’re buying something fast right now, it’s impossible to ignore the 2023 VW Golf R; the 2.0-liter turbo is simply that good.
And for enthusiast drivers, the Ford Focus RS is also worth mentioning. It might not be in production, but it’s a potent tool, not to mention more collectible. Both are AWD, but where the Golf makes 315 hp, the Focus brings a bigger 2.3-liter motor with 350 hp.
Yeah, the Civic Type R is never going to keep up with these two because it doesn’t have AWD. But surprisingly, the Golf R is quicker than the Focus RS despite the 35-hp gap.