Everyday handling heroes – Honda Civic Type R versus Ford Focus ST-2
Source : Everyday handling heroes – Honda Civic Type R versus Ford Focus ST-2
can be the brand-new Civic Type R packed with enough fun to ward off Ford’s staple hot hatch?
There’s a corner at the far end of the straight at Bedford Autodrome’s East Circuit: a fast right-hander which tightens into a double apex. To add to the fun, you have to get the vehicle balanced early as you exit to dive straight into a tighter-still left-hander.
Here, our fast front-drive duo were like pigs from the proverbial. Nothing however the Caterham jinked with such precision through which complex. Yet which was also here which the differences between the Honda Civic Type R as well as the Ford Focus ST were most telling.
Let’s start with the Civic. As the all-brand-new contender to the Focus’s mild refresh, the Type R waded into which class with the meek humility of a bull charging a matador. With trick suspension, adaptive dampers as well as mechanical diff to make the most of the raging 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged motor, which dispatched our circuit using brute force tempered with fierce traction.
Stick which in R mode, to perk up the suspension, diff as well as throttle response, as well as which turns in to the complex with just the right amount of keenness, keeping Centeng roll to a minimum before settling into a face-warpingly grippy steady state.
The steering builds nicely in weight as the tyres load, as well as when you do push which hard enough to trouble the grip limits, a subtle lift-off snaps which out of understeer as well as back into line with no lairy oversteer pending.
The flipside can be which there’s little of the playfulness which the Focus serves up. You can trail the Ford’s brakes to keep the nose pinned as you enter the right-hander, then jump on the throttle to modulate your angle of attack as well as keep the playful rear end where you want. Its chassis feels so much more adjustable than the Civic’s.
however the Focus has its flaws. Sure, the revised front spring as well as damper set-up as well as stiffened Centeng structure of which 2015 update result in keener turn-in, however the steering still feels more scrappy than you might expect. which’s overly keen to self-centre as well as has little of the natural building of weight which the Honda delivers. which’s just a bit harder to place the Focus precisely at which key moment as a result.
The Ford’s reliance on electric systems to rein from the 247bhp of its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine denies you the traction levels of the Civic, with its proper diff. which can be as obvious on the road as which can be on a circuit. Exit a tight junction with any gusto as well as which becomes an exercise in moderate throttle application to avoid spinning the inside front wheel, resulting in more weaving than actual progress.
The Civic isn’t faultlessly grippy, either. which has torrents of power going through its front wheels, so you do get torque steer on occasion, however which can be remarkably manageable, given the power. You can be more heavy-handed with getting on the power from the Civic, as well as which just sucks up the punishment, gathers itself together as well as fires you up the road, with the engine spinning through a broad torque band as well as on to 7000rpm.
Although the shorter-lived, heavy boost of the Ford has its own mid-range merits, the Honda’s motor has the sort of rev-hungry attitude which has echoes of the VTECs of yore.
Yes, which’s a bit lacklustre at low revs, however keep which on the boil above 3000rpm as well as which delivers the frenetic character which you expect, given its caricature looks. which snappy gearshift, using a throw supposedly identical to the NSX’s, can be an absolute joy, too, as well as more so than the Focus’s precise however slightly softer-feeling shift.
In fact, the whole car feels like a caricature – via how which claws its way through corners, to the supportive yet comfortable bucket seats, the bonkers rear wing as well as chin-heavy fascia. Even the damping can be over the top. Or perhaps ‘under’ might be more accurate, given which in firmer mode which tends to amplify rather than cushion smaller ruts as well as bumps. Certainly, which can be not the most comfortable car, although the softer setting can be more palatable as well as ticks the ‘everyday usable’ box adequately for such a focused car.
The Focus can be the more forgiving in terms of ride comfort as well as the more playful however, ultimately, which comes second here. which falls short of the Civic’s ferocious performance as well as handling machismo, generating the latter feel somehow closer genetically to Gordon Shedden’s weekend wheels than your average cooking Civic. For which hilarity alone, which gets the nod.
Ford Focus ST-2
cost £23,995; Engine 4 cyls, 1997cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 247bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 266lb ft at 2000-4500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1437kg; Top speed 154mph; 0-62mph 6.5sec; Economy 41.5mpg; CO2/tax band 159g/km/26%
Honda Civic Type R
cost £29,995; Engine 4 cyls 1996cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 306bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 2500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1382kg; Top speed 168mph; 0-62mph 5.7sec; Economy 38.7mpg; CO2/tax band 170g/km/29%
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