2020 Audi S4 vs. 2019 Honda Civic Type R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/24

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Honda Civic Type R doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S4 and Civic Type R have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S4 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Civic Type R’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The S4’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S4 has standard Pre Sense Front, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Civic Type R doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The S4 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The S4 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The S4 (except Premium)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The S4 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Civic Type R only offers a rear monitor.

To help make backing safer, the S4’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the S4 and the Civic Type R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

The Audi S4 weighs 730 pounds more than the Honda Civic Type R. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

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The S4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Civic Type R’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Civic Type R’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

Engine

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The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 43 more horsepower (349 vs. 306) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 295) than the Civic Type R’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The S4 has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Civic Type R (15.3 vs. 12.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The S4 has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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The S4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Civic Type R are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Civic Type R (255/35R19 vs. 245/30R20).

Suspension and Handling

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The S4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Civic Type R’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S4’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Civic Type R (111 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better maneuverability, the S4’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Civic Type R’s (38.1 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Passenger Space

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The S4 has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Civic Type R can only carry 4.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S4 offers cargo security. The Civic Type R’s hatchback body style and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the S4. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the S4’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The S4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Civic Type R uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the S4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Civic Type R. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Honda. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 42% lower rating, Honda is ranked 23rd.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the S4, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a memory system.

The S4 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the S4 and the Civic Type R have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S4 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Civic Type R prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The S4’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Civic Type R’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The S4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Civic Type R’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S4 Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S4 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the S4 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

When the S4 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Civic Type R’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The S4 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Civic Type R offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the S4 and the Civic Type R have standard heated front seats. The S4 Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Civic Type R.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S4 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the S4 Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The S4 has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Civic Type R.

Both the S4 and the Civic Type R offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S4 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S4 (except Premium) offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi S4 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The S4 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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