2020 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Audi S3

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 S3’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 S3 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 S3 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 S3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the S3 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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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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The Civic Type R’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 18 more horsepower (306 vs. 288) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 280) than the S3’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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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 S3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Civic Type R’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the S3:

Civic Type R

S3

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

13.4 inches

The Civic Type R stops much shorter than the S3:

Civic Type R

S3

80 to 0 MPH

184 feet

206 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

142 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

117 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Civic Type R has larger tires than the S3 (245/30R20 vs. 225/40R18). The Civic Type R’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S3 (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 S3’s standard 40 series tires. The Civic Type R’s tires are lower profile than the S3’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Type R has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the S3. The S3’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

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 S3 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 S3 (106.3 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Type R is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the S3.

The Civic Type R handles at 1.04 G’s, while the S3 pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

The Civic Type R executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S3 (24.3 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 25.2 seconds @ .81 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Honda Civic Type R may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 pounds less than the Audi S3.

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 S3 is rated a Subcompact.

The Civic Type R has 11 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S3 (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 S3.

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 S3 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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Smart Entry standard on the Civic Type R allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi S3’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

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 S3’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 S3 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 $2330 to $3375 less than the S3 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 S3 only retains 47% to 47.32%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Type R will be $12825 to $17554 less than for the Audi S3.

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 2020/04/08

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The S3 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The S3 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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