Motor Trend: Civic Type R Owns Sport Compact Segment
Hot hatches have never arguably been hotter. But there’s still one clear king of the sport compact hill.
Sometimes, there are questions that just don’t need answering. Others are rhetorical in nature. And both apply to the question, “what’s the best sport compact on the market today?” Obviously, we’re a little biased around here. To us, the answer is quite clear – it’s the Honda Civic Type R, and it isn’t even close. But in case you were wondering, car rag Motor Trend feels the exact same way.
It’s been a while since we’ve had enough players in the sport compact game to conduct a head-to-head comparison, but here we are. In a new golden age of small car performance. Armed with a Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI Type RA, MT set out to find the king of this hotly contested market segment.
MT drove the hot hatch conglomerate around SoCal, from mountain roads to racetracks. And what they found was a little bit surprising. They call the Civic Type R “easy to dismiss on paper” thanks to its “average” power output among the group. Heck, it’s also front-wheel drive only, which should prove a huge disadvantage in many areas. But it just doesn’t.
ALSO SEE: Honda Civic Type R Track Tested!
MT found that the Civic Type R “makes everything feel absolutely effortless—natural even.” The little 2.0-liter turbo I-4 is a “monster,” the six-speed manual “goldilocks of the group.” And despite its front-wheel drive layout, steering is “light, quick, and accurate” with a “commute-friendly ride.” The Type R does give up 44 ponies to the Focus, yet it was only two-tenths slower in the quarter-mile. That said, check out the trap speeds, the Type R is gapping the Focus from a roll.
The numbers only get better from there. The Civic Type R took top honors in braking, while tying the Focus in the figure-eight and lateral g’s. Not only did it beat the Focus around MT‘s test track, it also became the fastest front-wheel drive car they’ve ever tested there. And even if you throw all these numbers out the window, the Civic is still the clear winner here.
“Of all the cars here, the Civic Type R is the one we most want to drive, just because,” MT concludes. And we concur.