Peugeot discontinued the GTi a few years ago and Renault will be doing the same in 2023 with the RS. With Ford announcing plans to axe the Fiesta and Focus, the ST models will perish as well. Moreover, the Hyundai i30 N won't get a new generation anytime soon. Not all hope is lost for hot hatchbacks as VW has already announced to stick to its GTI models. Honda won't abandon exciting cars either, according to the Civic Type R lead engineer.
In an interview with Autocar, Hideki Kakinuma said "without Type R, there is no Honda." He went on to explain the Japanese automaker "strongly believes that driving pleasure is the core essence of private mobility, personal mobility." Of course, he remains realistic in an automotive industry where stricter rules are forcing companies to embrace electrification:
"[Because of] carbon neutrality and emissions regulations that are very stringent, it's very difficult to think about such a sports model in these boundaries."
2023 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive
The good news is Honda sees these obstacles as "new challenges to provide our customers the joy of driving." To that end, Kakinuma told the British magazine the firm remains committed to bringing additional Type Rs. Interestingly, he mentioned there still might be enough time for a performance car with a combustion engine, albeit he's not getting his hopes up too high.
The engineer said carbon neutrality can still be achieved with an ICE-powered car, which tells us Kakinuma was likely referring to synthetic fuels. As a side note, Toyota is experimenting with hydrogen-fueled combustion engines. With tougher Euro 7 regulations coming into effect later this decade, the future doesn't look good for conventionally powered performance cars.
Kakinuma argues a Type R isn't necessarily about having a gas engine since an electric or hybrid car can still earn that badge as long as it's fun to drive. Lest we forget that earlier this year, Honda Motor Europe technical advisor Ko Yamamoto didn't exclude a plug-in hybrid Civic Type R based on the recently launched model.