How Does Honda’s Civic Type R Stand Up To Ford’s Focus RS?

There’s a whole new class of hot hatches out there. Never mind the upscale rides from the likes of Audi Sport and Mercedes-AMG – we’re talking about high-performance versions of mass-market hatchbacks from mass-market automakers like Ford and Honda.

These beasts pack turbocharged four-cylinder engines kicking out upwards of 300 horsepower and can trounce dedicated sports cars costing twice or even three times as much. Yet they can still do the school run, hauling your kids and all their stuff without breaking a sweat.

The question is, which is the best of them? Surely the Ford Focus RS and the Honda Civic Type R score at the top of the hot-hatch charts, but the matter of which is the best between the two is more complicated than a straight-up comparison of the specifications will tell you.

Fortunately the good folks at Carfection have lined up the two in an effort to determine which is the best all-out hot hatch – which embodies the better approach and executes it to the effect of the wider grin on the driver’s face. Watch the nine-minute video below to find out what they discovered.


  • LJ

    The Type R is a hideously overdesigned mess that looks like it was cobbled together with poor aftermarket parts by a 16 year old that wanted a WRX STi, but could only afford a Civic.

    The Focus RS, on the other hand, looks like it was designed by actual professional engineers and meant to be driven by people who’s balls have dropped.

    • hwkr_01

      The type-R isn’t just pieced together to look “cool,” or superficial, its purpose is to achieve greater aerodynamic efficiency. Yes in doing so it loses some composure over the standard 10th gen civic hatch but this is made up in power and competence. It sounds like to me that there maybe some bias towards the ford here with your harsh negative intro on the Civic…

    • JGreen

      I too was skeptical of the transformer bodywork, but every piece has a performance reason behind it (look it up).
      Honda makes their own aerodynamic package for IndyCar and they have won the Indy 500 the last 2 years with it, so I would say actual professional engineers work on the Type R.

  • Blade t

    I’m sure they are both fun cars….

  • John

    in terms of track performance… Type R wins based on Nurb. laptime by a ton
    in terms of rally performance… i’m sure Focus RS would do better than type R because of AWD
    … but i think Subaru WRX STI prob performs better than Focus RS in both rally and track anyway?

    in terms of look and show off factor…F both of them… gonna buy BMW or Infiniti for that money (with real markup on both Focus RS and Type R) all these hot hatch are for hippies =p

  • pngrant54

    Other than the aggressive rear spoiler to me the Type R looks fine. In this video this guy hinted at it. However the reality is in day to day driving the Focus RS rides like shit even on the comfort setting. This makes it almost unlivable.The Civic Type R is actually a civilized ride. You can use it day in and day out. The R spoiler is unnoticeable in the rear view mirror. With 3 driver modes you can use as you wish. Interesting that the journalist finds torque-steer and being slightly out of control as the character in the RS that the Civic Type R is lacking. I look at it from the exact opposite opinion. The fact that there is virtually “zero” torque-steer in a FWD car putting over 300 HP to the front wheels is frankly an engineering triumph. The Civic is a car that has the cornering grip of a Porsche Cayman as well as the ride of a Porsche Cayman. Perhaps because it has so few flaws other than looks(subjective) it is really elevated out of the typical hot hatch FWD arena and should really be compared more with a RWD sports sedan or coupe. The RS is based on the out dated chassis of the current Ford Focus. It’s interior cheap for it’s price. The ride handling trade off is atrocious. The Civic represents new thinking, better engineering. Just look at its top speed of 170 MPH. That’s Porsche territory!

    • Honda NSX-R

      “But…but drift mode!”

      • pngrant54

        Yes-I’ll give Ford that. However it also has “Torque-Steer” and its AWD. To me that’s evidence of an old platform in need of replacement.

    • TheBelltower

      Wow. Did Honda pay you by the word, or by the character?

      • pngrant54

        No actually I rode in both. The Ford truly does ride like crap and for 40 grand it should have a nicer interior. The Honda is simply a better engineered car.

    • Bash

      Chill, I Personally would still get me a blue RS.

    • willhaven

      As a Focus ST owner, the idea of buying a more expensive and less comfortable version of my current car is unappetizing. The ride quality of the RS is almost inexcusable considering the adjustable dampers.

  • SteersUright

    Type R needed 50 more horsepower.

  • Mind Synthetic

    hardly a hot hatch when ether one is the size of a wagon from the 80s, screw both of these.

  • nellydesign

    Yes, the Type-R screams aggression, if “aggression” is a measurable metric defined by the number of fake plastic grilles it has.

    The Ford looks better, hands down.

    • Six_Tymes

      you mean you dont like the silly, fake, absolutely appalling looking grilles on the back bumpers? lol

  • TheHake

    “There’s a whole new class of hot hatches out there.” HUH??? What about the previous RS? And the one before that?

  • Infinite1

    When it comes down to it, people who love one car will hate the other and hate on it bad. They’re both great and capable cars and which one you like is solely based on your personal preference. I love the AWD and drift mode in the RS but I like the ride in the Civic.

  • This Type R would look really good next to my Infiniti.

  • JGreen

    Watch this about the Type R’s aerodynamics:

    • Six_Tymes

      Honda you had one job, NOT to add a pair of ugly fake grilles on the front and rear bumper covers.

2020 Audi RS6 Avant Looks Like It’s Even Better Than Its Ultra Capable Predecessor

The Audi RS6 Avant can be ordered with 440 mm carbon ceramic brakes and 10-piston calipers.

Russia’s Rolls Royce-Rivaling Aurus Opens First Showroom In Moscow

The new Russian luxury brand also aims to open a showroom in China as soon as 2020.

Sterckenn Gives The BMW M5 And M2 Some Subtle Visual Tweaks

A number of carbon fiber add-ons, such as a front splitter and rear diffuser, make the two M cars a little more aggressive.

Skoda Kamiq Subcompact SUV Could Be The Segment’s New Champion

Despite being Skoda’s first entry into a very hot niche, the Kamiq establishes itself as a top runner.

Lotus Evija Is Off To An Outstanding Start, Gets Double-Digit Orders

Lotus has almost sold out the entire allocation of the Evija in the United States before the hypercar even hits the assembly line.

New-Gen Mercedes-Benz Citan Confirmed, Wil Get An Electric Version

The next Citan will continue to be made in partnership with Renault-Nissan but will, once again, get some mods to identify it as a Merc.

Toyota Updates Concept-i, e-Palette Autonomous EVs For 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Toyota will supply 3,700 vehicles, 90 percent of which will be electrified, for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Honda’s Innovative Airbag Promises Increased Front Passenger Safety

Thanks to its design, the new airbag offers better protection in the event of an angled frontal collision.

Supercharged Huracan Performante Demonstrates What She’ll Do In A Straight Line

This lightly modified Huracan Performante crossed the half-mile line at 168 mph which, in our books, is pretty fast.

Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition Arrives In Australia Priced At AUD $53,490

While the 370Z is starting to show its age, Nissan has made it a bit more appealing with this special edition.