2020 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Subaru WRX

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

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

Warranty

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There are over 66 percent more Honda dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Type R’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Civic Type R’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the WRX’s camshafts. If the WRX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

Engine

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The Civic Type R’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 38 more horsepower (306 vs. 268) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the WRX’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Civic Type R’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 290) than the WRX STI’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Civic Type R is faster than the Subaru WRX 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder (manual transmissions tested):

Civic Type R

WRX

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.9 MPH

96.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Civic Type R gets better fuel mileage than the WRX Manual with its standard engine (22 city/28 hwy vs. 21 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Civic Type R uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The WRX 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 WRX doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Honda Civic Type R higher (3 out of 10) than the Subaru WRX (1). This means the Civic Type R produces up to 22.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the WRX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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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 WRX 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 WRX doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Civic Type R

WRX

WRX STI

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.4 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11.3 inches

12.8 inches

The Civic Type R stops much shorter than the WRX:

Civic Type R

WRX

80 to 0 MPH

184 feet

203 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

142 feet

160 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 WRX (245/30R20 vs. 235/45R17).

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 WRX’s standard 45 series tires. The Civic Type R’s tires are lower profile than the WRX STI’s 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Type R has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the WRX. The WRX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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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 WRX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 WRX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Type R is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than on the WRX.

The Civic Type R handles at 1.04 G’s, while the WRX STI Limited pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Civic Type R executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the WRX (24.3 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 25.7 seconds @ .72 average G’s).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Civic Type R is quieter than the WRX STI:

Civic Type R

WRX

At idle

43 dB

54 dB

70 MPH Cruising

75 dB

75 dB

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/04/05

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

The Civic Type R has 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the WRX.

Ergonomics

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The Civic Type R’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The WRX has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

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 WRX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 WRX’s power lock 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 WRX doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Civic Type R has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The WRX has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/STI/Limited.

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 is only available on the WRX STI.

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 2020/04/05

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its August 2018 issue and they ranked the Honda Civic Type R first. They ranked the Subaru WRX fourth.

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The WRX hasn’t been picked since 2003.

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The WRX hasn’t been picked since 2015.

The Honda Civic outsold the Subaru WRX by almost 15 to one during 2019.

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