With the 2022 model year, the Civic transitioned to the next generation with a complete redesign in 2021. As we approach the third quarter of 2022, a 2023 model year Civic release is a bit late but imminent. The biggest threat to the future of the Honda Civic isn’t really anything to do with what Honda does with it now or in the future. The problem with the Civic today is the fact it’s a compact sedan and hatchback, and not an SUV or a pickup truck. So, here we have it, the 2023 Honda Civic: what’s it like, and is it still relevant?
What are the Trim levels?
The 2023 Honda Civic is expected to carry over the same trim levels, namely LX, Sport, EX, Touring, and Si. All the trims are offered in sedan and Hatchback/lift-back forms. But that’s not where it ends.
The Type-R is returning after a hiatus of one year as a more formidable compact Sports. The Type-R will be discussed here a little later on.
2023 Honda Civic Powertrains
As with the trim levels, engines are likely to be the same. 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers the LX and Sports trims, and a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motivates the rest of the upper three trims, albeit in a 200-hp tune and with a standard manual transmission in the Civic Si.
The CVT will remain the standard transmission for the rest of the lineup, with no option for a manual one. All-wheel drive is also not in consideration, which is something to point out considering that Mazda is following in the footsteps of Subaru and offering the Mazda 3 with all-wheel drive.
Is the Honda Civic still a good driver’s car?
Since its inception, the Civic has always been economical, small on the outside, and roomy on the inside. But that doesn’t affect its driving characteristics. As it got old, the Civic became a truly rewarding driving machine while still being low on operation and maintenance costs.
That remains true for the current redesign. The trim levels are designed in such a way as to satisfy every taste, from comfy to sporty and everything in between.
The Civic is still fun to drive, thanks to the communicative frame and sharp steering. And if you’re a true petrolhead, the upcoming Type-R will fulfill your desire. The base-level Civic is brisk around town, although acceleration times are at the lower end of the spectrum compared to the competition.
Upgrading to trims with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine gives you better than average acceleration times. The bottom line is that the current Civic is easy to drive, precisely what you expect from this continuously popular car.
The Honda Civic has always been a satisfying commuter car, and that will not change anytime soon. Excitement isn’t high on the Honda agenda, apart from the Type R, of course, but the Civic remains a solid choice for many buyers.
2023 Honda Civic Pricing and availability
Honda has yet to announce the release date for the 2023 model year of the Civic. Recent supply chain issues because of chip shortages and Honda’s history of late release of their vehicles put the date somewhere between August and October of 2022.
Automakers tend to increase prices ever so slightly for each new model year, so we should expect a small increase in MSRPs. With that in mind, the base LX trim should start at around $22,700. The rest of the trims are likely to increase in price by around $150 to $200. This would see the Touring trim edging closer to that psychologically important $30.000 milestone.
What about Si and Type-R? Well, the Si should reach $28,000, and the Type-R should fall around $40,000, which is way less than its European competitor, the Golf R, which is north of $45,000. Expect dealer markups due to prevailing market conditions and supply chain issues.
Not too much is likely to be new for the 2023 Honda Civic as this year is effectively a carryover. Thanks to last year’s complete redesign, the Civic now enjoys more mature looks, updated in-car tech, and improved fuel economy, which should help to keep it relevant in the current market for the time being, even though it’s not an SUV.
Considering that last year’s redesign was well received by consumers and critics alike, Honda will likely continue the Civic as it is for a while now, although more exterior paint options and tech updates are always possible. But still, since we know that the automotive market has turned very dynamic recently, Honda might be packing a twist we don’t know about yet.
What about a Honda Civic Hybrid?
The world is moving towards an electric future. It’s natural then to assume that hybrids will make an appearance in the Civic before long. Exploring this possibility, we cannot rule out that a hybrid Civic is possible, but not before the 2024 Honda Civic arrives, at least. Especially when Honda discontinued the Honda Insight after the 2022 model year and the European market is getting a hybrid for the 2023 model year.
A hybrid combined with the 1.5-liter motor might reach the North American shores in a year or two. Honda has in no way implied this, so it is complete speculation that depends entirely on market conditions. Let’s face it, manufacturers are discontinuing cars in favor of more SUVs, so it’s possible the Civic will meet its end before it ever gets a hybrid powertrain.
All-new 2023 Honda Civic Type-R
The much loved and long-awaited Civic Type-R makes its return for the 2023 model year after being absent for the 2022 model year. Spied many times lapping the tracks and test circuits, the new Civic Type R is going to be a step ahead of the competition and an improvement over its predecessor.
The news we hear so far confirms this as the Type-R recently set a new front-wheel-drive record at the Suzuka Circuit, besting the time set previously by the 2021 Civic Type-R Limited Edition.
From spy shots of camouflaged prototypes, the exterior is looking a little more reserved than the flamboyant and boy-racer styling of the previous generations. The front features openings and vents that satisfy the breathing demands of the engine, and the rear has a wing for aerodynamic purposes.
It also features triple exhaust pipes in the center, the same as the GR Corolla. 20-inch wheels wrapped in sticky rubber will provide the grip, and it will only be offered as a sedan like the previous generation.
That’s all we’ve seen so far. Now about inside the engine bay. An updated 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will continue to power the new Type R, but this time it will be producing more than the 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque of the last generation.
Honda has confirmed the availability of a manual transmission, but it is speculated that a Dual-Clutch Automatic Transmission will also be available to counter the Hyundai Veloster N. As with the engine, the chassis will be an update of the outgoing model, and the suspension setup will be the same.
This means that the control-arm front suspension as seen on the new Acura TLX won’t replace the innovative dual-axis strut front suspension that does a great job of suppressing torque steer. These updates will surely make it an excellent sports car on the track and on-road alike.
The same sophisticated and minimalistic interior as in the normal Civic is expected, but with a compulsory sporty touch. Spy shots have shown racy bucket seats that might be available as an option.
This should be enough to offer competition to both the Golf R, GR Corolla, and others you care to mention. But we’ll have to wait until next spring when it arrives in showrooms to properly pit it against the competition.
Is the Civic still relevant?
I’d say the 2023 Honda Civic still has some life left in it, but I’m not sure for how much longer. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the new Honda Civic, it’s just the automotive world has fallen out of love with cars. The irony is, that the hooligan Civic Type R that took so long to arrive in the US could end up outliving the rest of the Civic family.
There’ll always be a market for a car that drives as the legendary Type R does, but the more mundane Civic models might be living on borrowed time.