2020 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Audi RS 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 RS 3’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Civic Type R has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Civic Type R and the RS 3 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Civic Type R 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the RS 3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the RS 3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Honda dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Type R’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Civic Type R has a standard 500-amp battery. The RS 3’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 2 places higher in reliability than Audi.

Engine

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In a Car and Driver race course test, the Honda Civic Type R was clocked 1.7 seconds faster than the Audi RS 3 (183.9 sec. vs. 185.6 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Civic Type R uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RS 3 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Civic Type R has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Civic Type R stops much shorter than the RS 3:

Civic Type R

RS 3

80 to 0 MPH

184 feet

204 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

142 feet

157 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

116 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Civic Type R has larger tires than the RS 3 (245/30R20 vs. 235/35R19).

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 RS 3’s standard 35 series tires. The Civic Type R’s tires are lower profile than the RS 3’s optional 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Type R has standard 20-inch wheels. Only 19-inch wheels are available on the RS 3.

Suspension and Handling

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The Civic Type R’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The RS 3 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic Type R’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the RS 3 (106.3 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Type R is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the RS 3.

The Civic Type R handles at 1.04 G’s, while the RS 3 pulls only .96 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

Chassis

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The Honda Civic Type R may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 pounds less than the Audi RS 3.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Civic Type R is quieter than the RS 3 (85 vs. 88 dB).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Type R a Large car, while the RS 3 is rated a Subcompact.

The Civic Type R has 11 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RS 3 (97 vs. 86).

The Civic Type R has 2.8 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the RS 3.

Servicing Ease

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The Civic Type R has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RS 3 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

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The Civic Type R’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The RS 3’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Civic Type R has a standard rear wiper. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Civic Type R owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Civic Type R will cost $4775 less than the RS 3 over a five-year period.

The Civic Type R will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic Type R will retain 54.81% of its original price after five years, while the RS 3 only retains 46.8%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Type R will be $25482 less than for the Audi RS 3.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/04/06

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The RS 3 hasn’t been picked since 2018.

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The RS 3 has never been an “All Star.”

The Honda Civic outsold the Audi A3/S3/RS 3 by over 31 to one during 2019.

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

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