Ultimate Hot Hatch Battle: Honda Civic Type R vs. Ford Focus RS

Mar 17, 2017 07:20 AM EDT | BC Tabotabo

The Honda Civic Type R got everyone excited at the Geneva Motor Show and will finally be back in America this spring. However, the Ford Focus RS is slowly growing in popularity and is the current favorite hot hatch.

The 2017 Civic Type R recently made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The high-performance sports compact was only available in Japan and Europe in the past. The newest Type R will finally make it to American showrooms later this spring!

However, can the Honda hatchback compete against the new Focus RS? According to a report by Automobile, the two are very different but are offered at around the same price in the mid-$30,000 price range. On the one hand, the Focus RS has a fun drift mode, but on the contrary the Type R has stunning and unique looks.

The two have some similarities aside from their price range, according to the same report. For one, the Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS are both five-door hatchbacks. In addition, both of the hot hatches have turbocharged I4 engines. They both have six-speed manual transmission and adaptive suspension. Finally, the two also come with Brembo brakes.

However similar they may seem, the two are also quite different. In another report by CNET Road Show, the two differ in terms of their drivetrain, output, and tires.

The Honda Civic Type R has a 2.0-liter turbo I4 six-speed manual engine. While the Ford Focus RS also has a turbocharged I4 engine with six-speed manual transmission, its engine is 2.3 liters. In addition, the Type R can produce 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. On the other hand, the Focus RS can produce an identical 350 horsepower and pound-feet of torque. This actually makes the Ford hot hatch more powerful.

Finally, the two have very different tires. The Civic Type R has Continental ContiSportContact 6, 245/30 R20 tires while the Focus RS has special super grippy tires - the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, 235/35 R19.

Another added difference is the Drift Mode. The drift mode sends more power to the back wheels and effectively softens the dampers. This makes it easier to catch the slide and drift along smooth roads. While drifting can be done with a car without a Drift Mode, it should still be done by someone with experience. This is potentially dangerous, especially because it requires high-speed to perform. In addition, it is significant to note that the 2016 models reveal that the Civic Type R has a higher top speed than the Focus RS. 

It would seem that the Ford Focus RS has the advantage over the Civic Type R. However, considering that so many Honda fanboys have been dreaming of the day when the Type R will make its way to the United States, there will be plenty of people lining up. The Type R has a certain appeal and a rugged aggressiveness to it. It is a magnificent engineering achievement and the Japanese hatchback needs a truly skilled driver to show it off fully.

In the battle of the hot hatchbacks, the Honda Civic Type R seems to play second fiddle to the Ford Focus RS. However, until the Type R is officially released and an in-depth analysis of its features and driving. In the meantime, enjoy the video of the 2016 models below.

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