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2019 Renault Megane RS v Ford Focus RS v Honda Civic Type R comparison

2019 Renault Megane RS v Ford Focus RS v Honda Civic Type R comparison


Editor’s observe: the video above focuses largely on the monitor prowess of those three automobiles, whereas this written evaluate will keep on with their efficiency on the street.

Does the right scorching hatch exist? Is your good scorching hatch another person’s nightmare experience? The latter state of affairs might be extra probably, however to place the idea to the check, we’ve pitted the all-new Renault Megane RS280 towards the reigning champs from our current scorching hatch mega check.

Right here to type a welcoming committee for the brand new Frenchy stand our mega check runner-up, the Ford Focus RS, and the supreme champion from that bout, the Honda Civic Type R.

On seems alone, these three take typical small hatchbacks and switch them into new and thrilling efficiency machines in distinctly alternative ways.

Equally, regardless of working in the direction of the identical objective (most grunt, that’s), there’s a good unfold of distinction within the mechanical division together with a slew of similarities, however I’ll delve into that somewhat deeper in a second.

To kick issues off, let’s meet the brand new man. In a transfer that’s positive to worsen the hell out of hardcore Francophiles, the brand new Megane RS280 not is available in a three-door type, arriving as an alternative as a extra sensible five-door solely.

The earlier era got here solely with a three-door physique, whereas the era earlier than that provided a selection of each. Consumers may have a selection of transmission for the primary time a minimum of, with a dual-clutch auto out there alongside the common six-speed guide, which brings us properly to the automotive we’ve obtained on check.

The Renault Megane RS280 blends collectively a 205kW/390Nm 1.Eight-litre turbo 4, segment-exclusive four-wheel steering, and an old style three-pedal set-up from $44,990 plus on-road prices.

Add Renault’s Cup package deal for $1490 and Brembo calipers, Torsen limited-slip differential, and firmer suspension additionally be a part of the social gathering. With Tonic Orange paint and Bose audio/LED headlights, it brings the tally for this specific automotive to $47,860 earlier than on-road prices.

Carryover champion, the Honda Civic Type R, does its factor because of a 2.Zero-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine tuned as much as 228kW and 400Nm. Just like the Megane, drive is shipped to the entrance wheels solely by way of a helical limited-slip diff and six-speed guide.

Honda’s solely choice is metallic paint, with every little thing else you see commonplace, which means the buck begins and stops at $51,990 earlier than on-roads for the strong Rally Purple automotive pictured right here.

The ultimate entrant is one thing of a legacy service. Technically, there gained’t be any extra examples of the Ford Focus RS getting into the nation as manufacturing has already wrapped up abroad, however with over 100 examples of the RS Restricted Version displaying on vendor tons, you’ll be able to nonetheless purchase into the legend.

And what a legend it’s. Extra hyper hatch than scorching hatch, the Focus RS LE smacks down main outputs amongst this trio from its 2.Three-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 257kW and 440Nm, and touts the benefit of all-wheel-drive traction to assist flip that urge into rise up and go.

Whereas all-paw grip is commonplace for the Focus RS, the Restricted Version package deal provides a helical limited-slip entrance diff, cast 19-inch alloy wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, and element modifications like blue inside highlights utilized to the Recaro seats, autonomous emergency braking, rear privateness glass, and Nitrous Blue paint with black spoiler and mirror accents.

Sadly, it’s no price range battler at $56,990 plus on-road prices, making it $6K over the ask of a ‘regular’ Focus RS, however it definitely pushes the specification envelope for non-prestige scorching hatches.

To not dwell on it, however do you have to like your scorching hatch to look – nicely – scorching, these three match the invoice in subtly alternative ways. Ford retains its common bodywork intact, however provides OTT bumpers at every finish with an unmissable maw up entrance and a flicked-up RS spoiler on the rear.

Renault’s strategy is way extra delicate, however easily flared entrance and rear wheel arches (not tacked-on plastic elements) give a extra built-in and menacing look. It’s muscled up however freed from boy-racerisms save for the ‘chequered flag’ LED driving lights up entrance.

Delicate is clearly not a phrase in Honda’s vocabulary, although. Fats entrance guards, rear over-fender extensions, quite a lot of actual (and much more pretend) vents entrance and rear, plus a pair of decklid spoilers, make for a really, very conspicuous fashion assertion. When you’ve received it, flaunt it. Proper?

There’s little question aesthetic attraction performs an enormous half in conveying the recent hatch picture, however no matter the way you interpret the styling of this trio, the actual story lies in efficiency potential. And with the minimal output beginning at a tick over 200kW and simply shy of 400Nm, there are not any slouches within the pack.

There’s a real distinction in really feel, although – a results of divergent approaches to the whole lot from experience and dealing with to grip and steering. You didn’t assume this was going to be one-dimensional, did you?

We might as properly begin with the most important sledgehammer of the lot then, the Ford Focus RS LE. Peak energy at 6000rpm provides a pleasant large rev vary and torque at its fattest spans from 1600 to 5000rpm, which might wreak nothing however havoc have been it not for the surety of all-wheel drive.

That is no ‘hot hatches for dummies’ measure, although. Talent must be utilized, notably given the power of the Focus to chew again. Loads of preliminary grip is fantastic, however the indicators of approaching the bounds could be more durable to select up on.

Nonetheless, with a grunting, barking, baritone exhaust word, the Focus RS screams dangerous boy from the highest of its lungs.

Not solely that, however regardless of being the porkiest of this area (with a kerb weight of 1575kg), the Focus RS manages to really feel superbly mild on its ft. Agile steering with reliable heft and startling accuracy make throwing down a set of corners a real thrill.

Much less thrilling, nevertheless, is the gearshift, which may’t match the sense of urgency the remainder of the automotive is able to, coupled with an over-sprung clutch that nearly throws your foot off it till you get used to the power of its return.

In the event you’re purchasing for a scorching hatch that may double as a good weekday commuter automotive, it’s additionally value mentioning that the Focus’s Recaro seats grip like a baseball mitt, however when you’re locked in that’s the place you keep. The seat base additionally feels lofty in a automotive that must be low-slung. Blame Ford’s rally heritage for that call.

Step into the Civic Type R and nail the thin pedal and the outcomes are not any much less dramatic; nevertheless, they’re a contact much less aggressive. As an alternative of being scooped from standstill to V-max with out desirous about it just like the Focus, the Civic requires extra judicial throttle software to counter its simply accessible wheel spin.

Up entrance, the two.Zero-litre engine hits its 228kW at 6500rpm, giving it a contact extra bandwidth to play in. And by the use of sustaining some civility, the Civic’s 400Nm begins from 2500rpm and trails off by 4500rpm.

Don’t anticipate a torque gulf early on, although, because the Type R delivers a fantastically scalable tractability. For greatest outcomes, it’s value constructing a contact of velocity earlier than hammering the throttle. Rolling response shoves arduous, however standing begins can’t match the off-the-mark urgency of Ford’s hero.

The Civic definitely rains throughout Ford’s parade relating to driver engagement, most clearly because of a gearshift that buries deep into Honda’s storied Type R historical past and comes again with a crisp, correct really feel that slides via the gate with a perceptiveness few different trendy automobiles can match.

In the course of the Civic’s time within the CarAdvice storage, Scott Collie returned from a drive and boldly proclaimed the Type R’s shift high quality was “like a well-oiled hot knife through a rifle”, which I assume can solely be a very good factor. Clearly, it’s exact sufficient to trigger some sort of brain-melting metaphor-mixing impairment.

The Civic surprises in quite a lot of different methods. Regardless of being the one automotive sporting 20-inch wheels, with barely there 30-profile sidewalls (245/30ZR20 Continental ContiSportContact 6 should you’re enjoying at residence), the experience isn’t as brittle as that of the Focus.

Each function adjustable dampers, however whereas the Ford begins at ‘rock hard’ in its regular setting and solely will get firmer from there, Honda’s journey, whereas nonetheless clearly agency, does a greater job of shrugging off sharp imperfections.

With the lightest weighbridge ticket of the trio, the 1393kg kerb weight of the Civic additionally little question contributes to its on-road dynamism and general alertness.

Honda additionally snares the title of quietest braker, with the Focus and Megane each requiring an honest quantity of warmth within the rotors to quell the in any other case whiny brakes at low velocity. Welcome to the world of high-performance motoring and its typically unflattering unwanted side effects.

What concerning the new child on the block then? With the smallest engine at 1.Eight litres and probably the most modest outputs, has Renault already relegated itself to the again of the recent hatch queue?

Just like the Focus, peak energy arrives at 6000rpm, however max torque follows the Civic’s lead by arriving slightly later (2400rpm the truth is), and regardless of an engine that’s down on cubic capability, the Megane RS refuses to relent on effusive enthusiasm.

Though it’s not as alert as the opposite two low within the rev vary (and simpler on the entrance hoops than the Civic consequently), the strong mid-range is a real enticement to maintain the RS280 singing in its candy spot.

Apparently, although, it appears moderately than go balls to the wall with a laser-focussed efficiency machine, Renault has as an alternative determined to comply with the lead of sophistication benchmark, the Volkswagen Golf GTI, when it comes to angle and refinement.

Sadly, meaning the uncooked edges of the earlier RS have been sanitised considerably. Purists might not love the thought of a extra accessible Megane, nevertheless it ought to go well with common consumers to know that the clutch motion has grow to be extra civil.

It’s uncertain anybody is more likely to sing the praises of a gearshift that’s heavy and notchy, longer in its throw and fewer correct than both Ford’s or Honda’s, together with a high-set clutch pedal that sits at odds with the remainder of the Megane’s pedals. It’s additionally a reasonably protected guess that almost all of Australian consumers will bypass it completely and head straight for the obtainable automated as an alternative.

Renault actually stamps its authority within the agility division because of 4Control, Renault’s tackle four-wheel steering. Just like the much less highly effective Megane GT, the RS280 utilises a system that may flip the rear wheels reverse to the entrance at low speeds for tighter turns, or with the entrance at excessive speeds to create a extra secure really feel.

Throughout stretches of twisty tarmac, the expertise at first feels odd. Not synthetic or overdone, however having the yaw fee transfer in such a approach that the rear axle doesn’t merely comply with the lead from the entrance, however turns into an lively a part of the Megane’s turn-in, takes a second to recalibrate to. When you’ve labored it out, although, the Megane RS turns into a cornering grasp, tipping in with a vivaciousness that turns into massively addictive.

Sadly, the Megane’s tendency to axle tramp out of low-speed bends is far much less addictive. Restricted-slip diff or not, the Megane doesn’t handle to do nearly as good a job of getting its grunt to the pavement because the Civic in dry circumstances.

That’s to not say the Civic isn’t a wholesome wheel-slipper itself, it’s simply much less aggressive when it does so. All of the whereas, the Focus will merely present the opposite two a clear set of heels as they regain their composure.

Of the three, the Megane can also be the one one to supply a selection of suspension set-up. The ‘Cup Chassis’ not solely provides a limited-slip diff – and it will be an train in futility to go with out it – but in addition brings firmer suspension.

There’s little question the Megane is agency, making no false assertion about its sporting intent within the course of, however although the city experience is busy, it isn’t brittle. Hit the open street and the Megane is the simplest of the trio to stay with. In the meantime, the Focus will immediate you to verify your medical insurance for dental cowl, lest you rattle a filling unfastened on the best way to work.

If sporting intent is half the enjoyable of those three brats, the interiors should certainly match the tone, too, to ship on the opposite half of the equation. That’s definitely the case, although it may be extra apparent in some than others.

As talked about earlier than, the Focus RS and its Restricted Version remedy brings blue highlights to a few of the firmest-gripping seats this aspect of a supercar, however round the remainder of the inside you could be left questioning what makes Ford’s scorching hatch so particular.

Gear is unchanged from the common Focus RS, and is not at all stingy, with keyless begin, dual-zone local weather, Alcantara seat trim, and an Eight.Zero-inch touchscreen with navigation and CarPlay/Android Auto. Sadly, the Focus exhibits its age with a lower than modern design.

When it comes to area, the Focus additionally trails the pack with a touch design that gives the look of encroaching on entrance seat area, and a rear seat missing in leg room thanks partially to the cumbersome plastic-backed Recaros up entrance.

In case you prefer it loud, the Civic Type R is ideal for you because of howling purple entrance seats which are positive to separate opinion. Alcantara trimmed and a contact extra generously proportioned than these of the Focus, the Civic makes for a greater cruising companion, but provides away little when it comes to lateral grip. Higher nonetheless, the Type R’s seats are mounted low and provides it a correctly sporty really feel.

Honda’s sprint design, whereas nonetheless busy, works extra cohesively than Ford’s, with a nicer mixture of finishes and supplies giving the flagship Civic some extent of distinction in comparison with its mainstream rivals. The Civic additionally boasts a complete digital instrument cluster with a variety of show choices giving it additional high-tech factors.

Higher nonetheless for household customers, the Civic delivers one of many roomiest rear seats within the small automotive phase, and regardless of low-roofed styling there’s loads of stretching area within the Civic’s rear seat.

Honda’s 7.Zero-inch touchscreen is the smallest of the three, however nonetheless consists of smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android units however no built-in navigation. Commonplace options additionally embrace LED headlights, keyless entry and begin, DAB+ digital radio, and a HDMI enter to attach leisure units to the central display.

Renault has gone for a extra upmarket atmosphere contained in the Megane, nevertheless. It’s one thing that’s obvious throughout the complete vary, with a mixture of formal design and high quality textures throughout the sprint and doorways, however oddly, cloth-trimmed seats as an alternative of Alcantara.

Renault at the least counters that with loads of LED ambient illumination (which modifications with the chosen drive mode), heated entrance seats, and a Eight.7-inch infotainment display, plus the standard dual-zone local weather, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

At face worth, Ford nonetheless holds the title of most user-friendly infotainment, and gives the clearest speedometer increments for city utilization. Each Honda’s and Renault’s native infotainment techniques develop into irritating to navigate by means of, however may be fortunately prevented because of smartphone mirroring… Rotten disgrace, then, that Renault letterboxes your iPhone into its tall display prefer it does.

That’s not likely the purpose, although. Under no circumstances. In reality, not even shut. Flip the bloody radio off, dial up the nastiest driving mode and hammer by way of your favorite winding, hilly ribbon of tarmac.

You’ll quickly uncover a few of the following: the Civic sounds a bit like a vacuum cleaner it doesn’t matter what you do with it; the Focus struggles to reside as much as the presentation anticipated of a price ticket north of $55Okay; and the Megane narrowly escapes these sorts of criticisms.

Right here’s the factor, although. Within the pursuit of a extra polished product, the Megane has misplaced a few of its edge. It doesn’t really feel obnoxious or outrageous in any means. Sure, it’s swift, and has a number of the most finely balanced turn-in of something within the scorching hatch class, however lacks rawness.

Ford does the precise reverse and throws refinement out the window, as an alternative delivering a ready-to-rally package deal that’s a racing quantity and a rollcage in need of being a contest machine.

Large velocity in both a straight line or by way of a set of bends, a comically great amount of pop and crackle from the exhaust, and the looming menace that this next-level scorching hatch might sweep you wildly into the roadside – do you have to overlook your self for a second and anticipate the Focus RS to handle all of the driving talent for you.

That’s all thrilling stuff, however the Focus is not any all-rounder. Its city strategy can’t match the civility and relative consolation delivered by the Type R or RS 280, its gearshift doesn’t entice, and as a household rig – even a part-timer with the tight inside – the tightly packed low-rent inside fails to please.

Honda, in the meantime, treads a a lot finer line. The Type R continues to be refined, however between splendidly vigorous steering, a gearshift that defines precision, and split-second responsiveness from the engine, the Civic doesn’t simply bond with its driver – it feels prefer it might be hardwired to your adrenal glands.

A part of that readability comes from Honda’s choice to maintain the Type R a front-driver, and whereas meaning standing begins aren’t as brutal as these of the Focus, the sunshine and agile really feel, wonderful suggestions, and much of rolling grip hardly rely towards it.

All of this comes collectively to type an unimaginable, tightly packed podium.

There needs to be a third-place holder, and on this occasion the bronze medal goes across the neck of the Ford Focus RS. There are solely shades of separation between the three, however the high-level efficiency Focus, on the expense of all-round versatility, means Ford misses out on glory this time.

Have been this a check purely based mostly on efficiency metrics, these outcomes can be very totally different – and you may take a look at our (very moist) Winton monitor check video above, with these three automobiles, to study extra about that.

The battle between first and second place is nearer nonetheless, and as a basic battle of front-wheel-drive scorching hatches, that’s thrilling to see.

Whereas it delivers an enormous dose of refinement, each on the street and visually, there’s only a layer of connection lacking from the Renault Megane RS280. Vigorous dealing with from the four-wheel steering system helps handle the difficulty, however really feel via the wheel itself isn’t as robust because it could possibly be.

It additionally takes an enormous swing within the engine division and lands a strong punch, albeit not strong sufficient on this occasion to topple Honda’s greatest work. And talking of greatest work, Honda’s stability of clutch and kit shift working collectively is a real factor of magnificence.

That’s why the Honda Civic Type R snatches the crown but once more.

Although it might solely be a slender win, the Type R nonetheless offers a lesson for rivals on the way to thrill drivers.

Not solely is it fast and competent, however even at decrease speeds the engagement doesn’t fade away, making even a fast sprint to the outlets a satisfying expertise. It’s the immediacy of response to driver inputs, coupled with a cracking engine and a trustworthy and correct entrance finish, which mix to make the Type R a licensed winner.



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