Subaru WRX vs. Honda Civic Type-R

wrx vs type-r

Now that Honda has finally graced American roads with the Civic Type-R we are sure to see some serious competition in the sport compact niche. And, while there are a few serious contenders (Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, and Subaru WRX STi), we are going to focus this comparison on the Subaru.

The Civic Type-R went on sale in the U.S. for the first time a couple of weeks ago and we’re sure we will soon see these two compact powerhouses throw down for real, but for this comparison we’ll have to race them on paper.

Drive Train And Power

 Power  Civic Type-R  Subaru WRX STi

Inline 4 cyl. 16v Turbo

2.5L DOHC SI-Drive
Boxer 4cyl. 16vTurbo
 Configuration  FWD  AWD
Transmission  6-Speed Manual  6-Speed Manual
 Horsepower  306 @ 6500 RPM  305 @ 6000 RPM
 Torque  295 @ 2500 RPM  290 @ 4000 RPM
 Redline  7000 RPM  6700 RPM


As you can see, on paper these two cars are neck and neck with regard to horsepower and torque. The Civic’s front-wheel-drive configuration lightens its curb weight, but may cost it in quickness coming off the line.

The WRX might be a little heavier with the all-wheel-drive, but will likely perform better out of the hole. The WRX also has the larger displacement which might make it a little thirstier than the Type-R.


 Demensions  Civic Type-R  Subaru WRX STi
 Curb Weight 3117 3391
 Distribution  61.8/38.2  60/40
 Wheelbase 106.3  104.3
 Length 179.4  180.9
 Width 73.9 70.7
 Height 56.5 56.2

The lack of all-wheel-drive was sure to give the Type-R a slight advantage in the curb weight category, but 274 lbs. is a huge difference! We are talking the equivalent of two oddly small, or one fairly large adult. Unfortunately, it also makes the Civic a little front-heavy in the weight distribution category.

The STi has a slightly better weight distribution, but its shorter wheelbase may translate to less high-speed stability and that extra 274 lbs. is sure to impact fuel economy, especially when the turbo kicks in. Speaking of efficiency, let’s have a look.


 Efficiency  Civic Type-R  Subaru WRX STi
 Drag Coefficient 0.26 0.32
 City MPG  22  17
 Highway MPG 28 23
 Combined MPG 25 19

The Civic Type-R is quite a bit more slippery than the WRX with a slick 0.26 drag coefficient. That’s not only better than the Subaru, but slicker than a Porsce 911 Turbo as well. As expected the Subie is gonna drink more fuel, regardless where you drive it. But, then again, if your looking for efficiency, the performance category is really not your niche.

It is performance we’re after and when it comes to these two contenders you’ll have to choose between 0-62 times and top-end speed. While it is hard to find any reliable information from American sources with regard to speed, the British media reports the following:


 Speed  Civic Type-R  Subaru WRX STi
 0-62 MPH 5.7 sec. 5.2 sec.
 Top-Speed MPH  169 MPH  159 MPH

All in all, it’s a tough call and it may boil down to actually test driving both vehicles and comparing all features and pricing. Manufacturer suggested pricing puts the Civic at nearly $1300 dollars less than the WRX, but you’ll have to talk to your local dealer to see what they have to offer.