Honda’s new turbocharged Civic Type R has been causing quite the stir in the automotive community. While it is impressive with its performance, the exterior styling has left the crowd split. Then there is Ford’s answer to the hot hatch equation, the Focus RS. The RS has been well received by almost everyone, becoming an instant success for the Americans. So the question has arisen, has the Type R got what it takes to dethrone the current hot hatch king?
The fine folks over at Carfection think they have the answer. In the video below they give an entertain yet informal breakdown of what makes a hot hatch great. This prompts the question of which one of these would you really be happier with on a daily basis. Obviously, this is a loaded question, the only person that knows is you. But it is fun to ponder. While my pick is nowhere on this list I will try to keep my focus on these two contenders.
First up, the RS. I was honestly never super impressed with the RS. Sure, it’s an incredible hot hatch, and an incredible car for that matter. But it seemed unnecessary when compared to Ford’s already impressive ST lineup. While I get that more performance and all-wheel-drive are almost always better, I never felt super impressed by the difference from ST to RS. Mainly because of the absurd price increase. Hot hatches are supposed to be economical after all, and yet the RS is anything but. Even still there is no denying the RS is an incredible car for the money, sporting some serious performance in a nice compact package. One thing I do love is the subtle exterior styling. To me it’s attractive enough to enjoy, but subdued enough to keep you from being embarrassed.
The Type R cannot say the same thing, not even close. While flying around the Nurburgring the Type R may look in place, anywhere else it sticks out like a sore thumb. While that level of show-boating is not my cup of tea, I can see a certain clientele being attracted to such a boisterous exterior. I’m looking at you Subaru owners. Where the Civic does shine for me is the fact that it stays true to the front wheel drive layout that hot hatches are known for. Combine that with a modestly powerful engine and Honda’s famous manual transmissions and you have a recipe for a serious drivers car. But ultimately I would never be able to live with the Type R’s exterior. Not only is it too flashy, but it also barely fits into the ‘Hatch’ category for my taste. So if it were only between these two I would be forced to go RS. Luckily for me there are other options on the market. Check out Carfections comparison, and see who you agree with more.