Honda Civic Type R: Truly Better Than the AWD Competition?

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Historically, front-wheel drive has had its limitations. But the Civic Type R doesn’t care much about history.

Thus far, we’ve heard nothing but lavish praise bestowed upon the already legendary Honda Civic Type R. But can a front-wheel drive car really be that good? Doesn’t it stand to reason that the all-wheel drive competition sports an obvious advantage, one that can’t be mitigated by mere electronics and suspension wizardry? Well, that’s what Zygrene was wondering. So they pitted a new Honda Civic Type R against the Focus RS and Golf R to find out.

Initial driving impressions reveal a car that’s both quiet and comfortable. But step on it, and “whoa, torque!” Not something traditional Hondas are known for, but the Civic Type R has it in reserve. There’s a little bit of lag around 3,000 rpm, but nothing a Hondata tune can’t take care of. And in regards to that front-wheel drive layout? “Nice turn in. Very little understeer. There’s a hint, but it’s really barely noticeable at all.”

Honda Civic Type R

Really, the only time you can tell the Civic Type R is front-wheel drive is when you hit a bump. It’s good enough, in fact, that the owner of the car quips “I don’t miss my S2000. Sorry, S2000 guys.” Which is sure to stir up the hornet’s nest.


ALSO SEE: Honda Civic Type R Track Tested


If you spend any time behind the wheel of one, you immediately understand why everyone heaps so much praise on the Civic Type R. But how does it truly compare to the Focus RS and Golf R?

Honda Civic Type R

“Both of those cars compete pretty well with this on paper. I was really enjoying the Focus RS overall. Some of the driver controls made the car perform really well, but it wasn’t as pleasurable to drive. The Golf R was really easy to drive fast. But it didn’t have that raw, hard-edge factor. This car combines some of the best qualities of both the Focus RS and Golf R together.”

Best of both worlds? Sure sounds like it. Even if the Civic Type R is only driven by two wheels!

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