Skip to main content

The Honda Civic Type R has been the talk of the hot hatchback town over the past few years. Aside from its outlandish looks and boy-racer appeal, it’s all business underneath its sheet metal. Not many small cars can compare, but if you’re looking in the used market, then you’ll find one that does: the Ford Focus RS. But which used hatchback is hotter?

Ford Focus RS versus Honda Civic Type R

You might not have heard much about the Ford Focus RS lately and that’s because it was discontinued after the 2018 model year. It made its original debut in 2016 and received a lot of praise for its potent powertrain, AWD configuration, and its unique “drift mode” feature. Above all else, it was reasonably priced at around $40,000 when it was new.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Honda Civic Type R received much praise when it debuted in 2017. As the top-trim, specialty version of Honda’s popular commuter car, the Civic Type R was heralded for its stout engine, slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, and superior handling characteristics. With an original MSRP of around $36,000, the Civic Type R was priced lower than the Focus RS, although dealers were selling them well over the sticker price.

The Focus RS was a powerhouse

2017 Ford Focus RS
2017 Ford Focus RS | Ford

To be clear, the Ford Focus RS was a little more than just an AWD drift machine. According to Car and Driver, the Focus RS handled “with more finesse and neutrality than any nose-heavy hatchback has a right to.” But when it came to straight-line speed, the Focus RS delivered as promised.

Under the hood of the Focus RS is a turbocharged 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. If all you wanted to do is go in a straight line, then you can expect a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.4 seconds, according to Car and Driver’s testing.

The Honda Civic Type R is a great all-around performer

2017 Honda Civic Type R
2017 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

The Ford Focus RS is the Best Car You Probably Shouldn’t Buy

Ask any Honda enthusiast about the Civic Type R and they’re likely to gush non-stop about it. And what’s not to like? Under its hood is a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that pushes out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, but that doesn’t mean it can’t put the power to the ground

In fact, Car and Driver was able to get the 2017 Civic Type R from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds. That’s about as quick as the Focus RS, but the twisties are where the Civic really shines. It holds the road like an F1 car thanks to its super sticky tires and well-engineered suspension geometry that makes it corner more like a rear-drive car than a front-drive one.

Which car is a better buy on the used market?

If you’re looking for a used hot hatchback, then the Honda Civic Type R could be the better buy. We even had the chance to test it at high altitude and can say that it’s an amazing all-around performer that’s comfortable for the daily drive. However, just be warned that used examples are selling for around $40,000, depending on the location. In contrast, you can find a Ford Focus RS for around the same price.