Despite what you may think, there’s more to the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD than just a wing and wheels. It has the makings of a genuinely capable sporty car that just happens to be a commuter sedan. However, if you want practical, affordable Japanese performance, it’s tough to beat the 2020 Honda Civic Type R. But between it and the Camry TRD, which is faster? YouTube team Throttle House decided to find out.
On paper, how does the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD’s performance compare to the Honda Civic Type R?
The 2020 Toyota Camry TRD and 2020 Honda Civic Type R share something besides their front-wheel-drive architecture. Both have the most powerful engines in their respective lineups. In fact, in the Toyota’s case, it’s the cheapest way to get the most powerful Camry engine. However, how they go about making that power is noticeably different.
The 2020 Toyota Camry TRD has a 3.5-liter V6 linked to an 8-speed automatic. The engine makes 301 hp and 267 lb-ft, which is good enough for a 5.6-second 0-60 mph time, Car and Driver reports. And its rolling 5-60 mph time is almost a dead match at 5.8 seconds.
In contrast, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 306 hp and 295 lb-ft. And unlike the Camry, the Type R doesn’t offer an automatic; its only transmission is a 6-speed manual.
Although the 2020 model’s 0-60 mph time hasn’t been independently verified, it has the same output as in previous model years. Car and Driver’s long-term 2019 model managed a time of 5.1 seconds on the original tires. However, its 5-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds is slightly behind the Toyota Camry TRD.
What about outside the engine bay?
The Toyota Camry TRD’s performance tweaks aren’t about power, though, but handling. It has a lower ride height, stiffer TRD-tuned dampers, new springs and bump-stops, and stiffer stabilizer bars, Motor Trend reports. The sedan also has additional chassis braces, larger front brakes, lighter wheels, a cat-back exhaust, a sportier steering rack, and summer performance tires.
The Honda Civic Type R’s enhancements, however, go even further. It has adaptive dampers, which respond faster for 2020, MT reports. Honda also tweaked the suspension setup and stiffened the bushings, as well as enlarged the grille opening and fitted a new radiator. Plus, the CTR has new lighter Brembo brakes, Motor1 reports. And while the Camry TRD has a rear-mounted spoiler, the Civic Type R has an actual wing.
The Throttle House race set-up
Handling, though, didn’t really play a factor in Throttle House’s recent tests. Although both of the hosts enjoyed the cars on a track and the road, they instead focused on straight-line speed.
Both the Toyota Camry TRD and Honda Civic Type R raced head-to-head in two drag races. First, a standing-start ¼-mile race, and then a rolling-start ¼-mile race. The latter is to eliminate any difficulties involved with the launch. Not because these cars have launch control—they don’t—but because the hosts note the Civic Type R can be difficult to launch, period.
Although the cars aren’t competing in a lapped race, it’s still a close match-up. The Toyota Camry TRD doesn’t have turbos to spool up, which is why its 0-60 and 5-60 times match closely. And it has an automatic, which means faster shifts.
However, on Car and Driver’s scales, the Civic is roughly 480 pounds lighter. And it has a slightly faster ¼-mile time from a standing start. Though it’s worth pointing out that published results typically come from a ‘best of’ run.
Did the Toyota Camry TRD beat the Honda Civic Type R?
True to form, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R proved difficult to launch from a start. And the need to manually shift also meant it lost some ground to the Toyota Camry TRD.
However, in the end, the Camry TRD couldn’t quite overcome the weight and output disparity. The Civic Type R won both the rolling and standing-start drag races. In a straight line, at least, it’s the faster sporty commuter.
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