For older stateside hot hatch fans out there, it’s probably crystal clear that we’re currently in a new golden age of performance, one that was once relegated to the realm of fantasy and bench racing. High-powered, tear-drop-shaped compacts with an odd number of doors, turbocharged power, and sports car-like handling are finally, finally finding their way to the U.S. market, and after decades of waiting and ogling from afar, U.S. buyers will soon have a chance to get behind the wheel of four-wheeled superstars previously considered forbidden fruit solely for Europe and Japan. Two of the biggest contenders in this space are the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS, both incredible cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast buyer. But which is better?
You can’t help but put these two compact titans in a side-by-side comparison. Both are roughly the same in terms of cost, both come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both get manual transmissions, and both offer five-door practicality. Both also carry a long history of making speed lovers smile, and command a veritable army of zealous followers to champion their claim to hot hatch supremacy.
But there are some serious differences as well. While the Focus is an AWD hammer, boasting four corners of grip and some impressive firepower under the hood, the Civic is a FWD scalpel, packing less weight and a history of apex-hunting prowess.
Which will come out on top – the Blue Oval Drift Mode bomber, or the H Badge slice and dice katana? It’s America versus Japan in a hot hatch shakedown. Read on for our take.
Continue reading for the full comparison.