2019 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2018 Ford Focus ST

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Type R deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Type R’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Focus ST’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic Type R and the Focus ST have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 6 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Civic Type R’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 54 more horsepower (306 vs. 252) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 270) than the Focus ST’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Civic Type R is faster than the Ford Focus ST (manual transmissions tested):

 

Civic Type R

Focus ST

Zero to 30 MPH

2.1 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

6.2 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8 sec

9.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12.2 sec

15.9 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.4 sec

3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.9 MPH

96.5 MPH

Transmission

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the Civic Type R has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The Focus ST doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

The Civic Type R’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Focus ST doesn’t offer launch control.

The Honda Civic Type R has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Focus ST doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Civic Type R’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Focus ST:

 

Civic Type R

Focus ST

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

10.6 inches

The Civic Type R stops much shorter than the Focus ST:

 

Civic Type R

Focus ST

 

80 to 0 MPH

184 feet

206 feet

Road and Track

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

121 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Civic Type R has larger tires than the Focus ST (245/30R20 vs. 235/40R18).

The Civic Type R’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Focus ST’s standard 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Type R has standard 20-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the Focus ST.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic Type R has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Focus ST’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic Type R’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the Focus ST (106.3 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Type R is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Focus ST.

The Civic Type R handles at 1.02 G’s, while the Focus ST pulls only .96 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Civic Type R has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Focus ST uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Type R a Large car, while the Focus ST is rated a Compact.

The Civic Type R has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Focus ST (97 vs. 90.7).

The Civic Type R has 1 inch more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.7 inches more rear legroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Focus ST.

Cargo Capacity

The Civic Type R has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Focus ST with its rear seat up (25.7 vs. 23.3 cubic feet). The Civic Type R has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Focus ST with its rear seat folded (46.2 vs. 43.9 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Civic Type R easier. The Civic Type R’s trunk lift-over height is 27 inches, while the Focus ST’s liftover is 28.2 inches.

Servicing Ease

A Smart Maintenance is standard on the Civic Type R to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush and transmission fluid replacement based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ford doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Focus ST.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the Civic Type R the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Focus ST can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Civic Type R has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Focus ST doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Civic Type R has standard extendable sun visors. The Focus ST doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Civic Type R’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford charges extra for heated mirrors on the Focus ST.

The Civic Type R has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Focus ST.

Recommendations

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Focus hasn’t been picked since 2013.

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The Focus hasn’t been picked since 2013.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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