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The latest Honda Civic Type R has proven to be a continued improvement over previous generations. However, each Civic Type R was a major player in the hot hatch world of style and performance. Many people hear the hype of the latest generation without knowing the evolution of the model or even why the best-performing Civic contains an “R” in its name. 

What does Type R stand for in Honda Civic Type R?

A white 2023 Honda Civic Type R performance hatchback model at the Sonoma Raceway track
2023 Honda Civic Type R | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

According to an article in The Drive, the “Type R” stands for racing, and the Civic Type Rs have always been standout performers in the racing industry. Honda enthusiasts have compared Civic Type R models to top-notch performance vehicles such as the Ferrari 360 M and the Porsche 911 GT3 due to the nameplate’s powertrain and aerodynamics. 

The R for racing also refers to speed. The Honda Civic Type R has set world records at Nurburgring and is one of the top-performing front-wheel drive vehicles ever.

Evolution of the Civic Type R

There are six Honda Civic Type R generations, according to an article from They are: 

  • EK9 (1997 to 2000)
  • EP3 (2001 to 2005)
  • FD2/FN2 (2007 to 2011)
  • FK2 (2015 to 2017)
  • FK8 (2017 to 2021)
  • FL5 (2022 to present)

The first generation of Honda Civic Type R was powerful before turbocharging was an option. It had a high-rpm engine and a limited-slip differential, giving it the power and traction to navigate the raceway. The EK9 also transformed the Civic hatchback into a vehicle that more closely resembled racing. This meant racing seats, red floor mats, and no air conditioning, producing Type R fashion and functionalism at its finest. 

With the new millennium came a second-gen Civic Type R. This is when the world began seeing a difference between European and Japanese models. Whether there was a speed stick, racing seats, or other design elements depended on where it was manufactured. Still, a precision gearbox and increased horsepower maintained the EP3’s peak performance. 

Over the years, the Type R received upgrades such as aerodynamic embellishments and a turbocharged powertrain. It broke speed records and became a well-known competitor to more expensive vehicles. Car sites like AutoEvolution admit that the Honda Civic Type R is not the cheapest performance vehicle out there, but it has a reputation that is congruent with Honda performance. 

2023 Honda Civic Type R

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R is still in the same generation as the 2021 FL5 model year, but it has been refreshed to make it another Honda success story. 

Features included in the 2023 Civic Type R include: 

  • Four-mode drive system
  • 2.0-liter VTEC engine with 315 horsepower
  • Six-speed manual transmission with rev-match control
  • Triple outlet exhaust
  • MacPherson struts
  • Brembo four-piston brake calipers
  • Helical limited-slip differential
  • Lightweight construction
  • Optimized aerodynamics and increased downforce

The new Civic Type R is a smooth-shifting aerodynamic performance vehicle that accelerates and corners better than ever. Honda excellence is poured into every design element, and the interior provides that racing feel while offering many digital and comfort options. The 2023 Civic Type R has it all, whether you are going for a casual drive or a lap around a raceway. 

The differences between other Honda Civic models

The R for racing transforms the Honda Civic from one of comfort and affordability to one of speed and performance. Other Honda Civic types include: 

  • Civic Sedan
  • Civic Hatchback
  • Civic Si

The Civic Sedan has a turbocharged engine but is meant for excellent highway and in-town performance rather than performance at high speeds. The Civic Hatchback offers increased storage with a fifth door. The Si sedan brings some speed and performance but not at the level of the Civic Type R. Each of the Honda Civic models has the automaker’s precision and quality, but the Type R stands for racing, and it outperforms all the rest.

Related A Remixed Race Car: Next-Gen Honda Civic Type R Spotted During Street Testing

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