Which is the hottest sport compact?
Last week at the 2017 Geneva auto show, Honda finally took the covers off of the long-awaited 2017 Civic Type R. Packing a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque paired exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox, the 2017 Civic Type R is the hot Civic Honda enthusiasts in the North America have been waiting for. Despite being front-wheel-drive, the Type R will challenge the likes of the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI, and the Volkswagen Golf R. All four cars should be plenty fun to drive, but how does the Civic Type R compare to its rivals when it comes to styling?
Right away, you’ll notice that the Type R is one of the most aggressive of the four, featuring all kinds of aero bits including a front splitter, sculpted side skirts, a giant rear wing, and a rear diffuser with three exhaust pipes. Despite it being a hatchback, the Civic Type R looks more like a sedan when viewed from the side due to its dramatically sloping rear window, drawing similarities to the only sedan in the group, the Subaru WRX STI. The massive wing also invites styling comparisons. Having standard 20-inch alloy wheels and looking like its trunk got chopped off, however, gives the Civic Type R a distinctive silhouette. The Ford Focus RS gives away its performance intentions with its roof spoiler, large alloy wheels, and blue brake calipers when viewed from the side. As for the Volkswagen Golf R, it’s by far the most conservative of the group, and you might even mistake it for a standard Golf even with its large alloy wheels.
Up front the Civic Type R features an aggressive front fascia with full LED headlights, a blacked out grille and massive lower air intakes that give it a menacing look. In comparison, the Ford Focus RS and WRX STI look tamer and less in your face with more conservative grilles. However, hood scoops hint at the Civic Type R and WRX STI’s sporting nature when viewed head on. The Volkswagen Golf R again looks the tamest, with only a small R badge on the grille hinting at its performance credentials.
The rear end is where things get controversial as the Civic Type R’s liftback-style hatch adds to its aggressive, and to some degree polarizing, exterior appearance. From the split rear window to the three exhaust pipes and the giant rear wing, the Civic Type R has the most aggressive rear end. In comparison, the WRX STI looks more conservative even with the quad exhausts and the rear wing since it has a longer trunk lid and a more conventional rear fascia design. The Focus RS looks like a traditional hatch, but a large dual exhaust and high roof-mounted spoiler give it away as something sportier. On the other end of the spectrum is the Golf R, which has a flatter, more upright rear fascia that’s more conservative and features quad exhausts.
Inside, all four cars feature a purposeful interior with sport seats up front to hold the driver and front passenger in place when things get twisty. The Civic Type R, however, is the only one that doesn’t feature a flat-bottom steering wheel while the Golf R is the sole entry that features a center stack tilted toward the driver. The WRX and the Golf R have the simplest cabin layout with a large touchscreen flanked by buttons that act as shortcuts to other functions of their infotainment systems. Like other Civic models, the Type R features a large touchscreen, a digital gauge cluster and a few buttons and knobs on the center stack, giving it a cleaner appearance. As for the Focus RS, its interior has less buttons than before but it still has more than some of its competitors since its HVAC controls haven’t been integrated into the main infotainment system. The Civic Type R’s interior is the least monochromatic thanks to the two-tone black and red color scheme and liberal use of red accents to break up the black in the dash, door panels, and steering wheel.
Arriving in the North America for the first time in late spring, the 2017 Civic Type R has a lot to prove and Honda hopes that it will be one of the best driving cars in its class. Despite it being front-wheel-drive, the Civic Type R is a promising entry into the high-performance sport compact segment, but will it live up to the hype? Tell us in the comments below.
Last week’s Refreshing or Revolting featured the 2018 Volvo XC60, and the impressions were mostly positive.
“Great Job volvo and improvement… I am partial to my Mercedes GLE and also Certain Grand Cherokees turn my head as well but this will do nice going up agains Q5 and Mercedes GLC,” said ronmccord.
“Def one of the best looking SUVs / CUVs out ..Interior can’t be touched! Others take note,” said CJ Malara.
“I dont know how this couldn’t be refreshing. The old model exterior still looks nice even with today’s cars. The new generation design is going to look great for years. Refreshing!” said rjgonzo