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?...

New Ford Focus ST vs Honda Civic Type R

Our verdict

This test was always about more than speed. Yes, the Civic Type R wins that battle, but it wins overall because it’s a brilliant driver’s car. And it works its magic whether you’re on the road or a track. You don’t need to be going hell for leather, experiencing its phenomenal grip, to appreciate its virtues, either. Even at respectable road speeds, there’s delight in its beautifully weighted controls: the gearlever, brakes and steering.

Some people find the Type R technically too good, though, so the ST’s more playful handling will be a plus for them. Its flexible engine works well when you’re not wringing its neck, and it’s still quick in a straight line when you are. In essence, it’s a fine hot hatch, and would be worth looking at over a Volkswagen Golf GTI or Hyundai i30N if it were a similar price. But at Type R money, the whippet just got whipped.

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1st – Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R rear

For Astonishing grip and poise; accurate steering; more thrilling power delivery; sweet gearbox; more comfortable; bigger boot

Against Terrible infotainment system; more road noise; less equipment; costlier on PCP

Recommended options Metallic paint (£525)

What Car? rating 5 out of 5 stars

Read our full Honda Civic Type R review >

Find a great Honda Civic Type R deal >

2nd - Ford Focus ST

Ford Focus ST rear

For More flexible engine at low revs; playful handling; strong traction; well equipped; more rear seat space 

Against Less stability and body control; jittery ride; less exciting to rev out; less natural steering weight

Recommended options Performance Pack (£250), Blind Spot Information System (£400)

What Car? rating 4 out of 5 stars

Read our full Ford Focus ST review >

Find a great Ford Focus ST deal >

Specifications: Ford Focus ST 2.3 Ecoboost

  • Engine 4cyl, 2261cc, turbo, petrol 
  • List price £31,995
  • Target price £30,287
  • Power 276bhp @ 5500rpm
  • Torque 310lb ft @ 3000-4000rpm 
  • Gearbox 6-spd automatic
  • 0-60mph 6.0sec
  • Top speed 155mph
  • Official fuel economy 34.4mpg (WLTP)
  • Test MPG 32.1mpg 
  • CO2 emissions, tax band 179g/km, 37%

Specifications: Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo

  • Engine 4cyl, 1996cc, turbo, petrol
  • List price £31,550
  • Target price £30,800
  • Power 316bhp @ 6500rpm 
  • Torque 295lb ft @ 2500-4500rpm 
  • Gearbox 6-spd manual
  • 0-60mph 5.8sec
  • Top speed 169mph
  • Official fuel economy 33.2mpg (WLTP)
  • Test MPG 34.8mpg
  • CO2 emissions, tax band 178g/km, 37%

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