Why the Honda Civic Type R Doesn’t Have Torque Steer
What makes the Civic Type R handle so well? Engineering wizardry, of course.
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Front-wheel drive performance cars have received a bad reputation over the years, and a big reason for that is torque steer. Torque steer is caused by unequal length half-shafts that can cause your car to “pull” to one side or the other under hard acceleration.
Notably, the excellent new Honda Civic Type-R does not have this problem. The key lies in the steering axis and the scrub radius.
The scrub radius is the point where the the tire’s contact patch would theoretically meet the strut, if the center line of the strut continued on through the bottom of the mount, into the ground. While there are advantages to having a “positive” or “negative” scrub radius (a few degrees off from center line), it’s ideal to be as close to center as possible.
Honda has carefully designed the front end of the Civic Type R in a way that minimizes torque steer. The scrub ratio is as close as possible to the center line of the tire. Also, the steering axis, which is the point where the tie rod meets the steering knuckle, is moved as far in as possible, to put it on the center line of the tire’s contact patch as well.
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This results in an incredibly balanced setup, minimizing torque steer while improving overall handling characteristics. While some of the Civic Type R’s competitors use electronic wizardry to eliminate torque steer, the Type R’s more analog solution is impressive in its own way.
Clearly, Honda is on to something with this approach, as the Civic Type R has racked up an impressive collection of awards, accolades, and lap records.