New Ford Focus ST vs Honda Civic Type R

Ford and Honda are both experts at making entertaining hot hatchbacks. But does the latest Focus ST have what it takes to topple the brilliant Civic Type R?...

Ford Focus ST interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Each of our contenders has a fundamentally good driving position, in terms of the relationship between the seat, steering wheel and pedals. And with good steering wheel reach extension and height adjustment, plus height adjustment for their seats, almost anyone should be able to find a suitable setup.

If you prefer a sportier feel, with a higher window line and wraparound dashboard, the Type R is the one for you. Its enveloping bucket seats feel like they were designed for track use, too. The ST’s bolstered Recaro seats still grip you well, and because they offer six-way electric adjustment as standard, including for lumbar support, on balance it’s a better proposition for daily use.

Honda Civic Type R interior

Both cars have a multitude of steering wheel buttons for sifting through a dizzying array of menus within their instrument binnacles. These are a faff to use, but at least the ST’s are logically labelled; the Type R’s most certainly are not. It does give you a fully digital instrument panel, though, while the ST retains clear analogue dials.

Quality is a mixed bag. It’s fair to say that neither car will be sold on the plushness of its interior; there are some softer surfaces but also unhealthy doses of rougher plastics and cheap-looking faux-carbonfibre trims. The ST’s attempts at these are less convincing, and it doesn’t feel as solidly screwed together.

From the driver’s seat, you can see over your shoulder more easily in the ST, and it comes with parking sensors front and rear, a rear-view camera and adaptive LED headlights. You have to make do with a rear-view camera and regular LED lights on the Type R.

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