Two years ago, the Honda Civic Type R took the enthusiast world by storm. To many, the front-wheel-drive newbie trounced its all-wheel-drive counterparts, such as the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R—it won multiple awards from a number of magazines and publications all of which claimed it was the best hot hatch in decades. Then it took on the big guys at the Nurburgring, where it crushed the Nissan GT-R, the previous-gen Audi R8, a Pagani Zonda S, the Bugatti EB110 SS, and matched the time of the 997 generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Since then, Honda’s Civic Type R has basked in the glow of the adulation of many. After a lively discussion amongst The Drive’s editors, we thought we’d stir the pot amongst enthusiasts and put together a contentious list of eight performance cars that are both more expensive than and inferior in supposed capability to the $35,700 Honda Civic Type R. This isn't exactly comparing apples to apples—more like apples to pineapples—but each of these cars are meant to fun, sporty, and dominate the competition. None of them, however, live up to the standards set by the Honda Civic Type R.
Please direct your rage at the comments section below.
8. Corvette Z06 ($79,495)
There is no denying that the seventh-generation Corvette Z06 is an animal. However, the fuel-sucking supercharged V8, the lack of headroom, and the general cheapness of the interior itself don’t jive with the list price. Add that daily driving the tightly sprung sports car—even with magnetic ride—is impractical except for the true hard-core fans. Bottom line: The Civic Type R’s everyday usability conquers the Corvette.
7. Dodge Challenger Demon ($86,795)
The Dodge Challenger Demon is a one-trick pony car. It goes in a straight line and not much else. Even its “wheelie” capabilities can’t save it from falling prey to the Civic Type R. Worse yet, the Demon has now been all-but-forgotten even though it debuted only a year ago. Can you even remember when you thought of it last? And whereas Dodge explicitly states that the Demon is intended for track use, and its standard tires are woeful in anything but perfect driving weather, the Civic Type R is a performance car you can use all year.
6. Nissan GT-R ($101,790)
Though Nissan’s GT-R has seen its fair share of updates and upgrades, there’s little the company can do to hide its decade-old design and performance. As the world has progressed, and supercars have entered the 21st Century, even hot hatchbacks have come to take its crown, including the Civic Type R. And in its old age, the Nissan GT-R has also increased in price, removing the once relatively affordable performance bargain moniker. The now-ancient GT-R needs to be put to rest before it suffers anymore insult. Forget Godzilla, there’s a new pint-sized Kaiju in town.
5. Porsche 911 ($115,100)
Porsche’s 911 is widely considered the best sports car on the planet. It’s raved about by media, celebrities, and owners alike. It has one of the most devoted followings of any automobile. Yet, just like the Nissan GT-R, the Porsche 911 has rapidly become more expensive with each successive generation. Even the base 911 is now well out of the hands of mere mortals. Yet, though it costs nearly three times that of the Civic Type R, the 911 doesn’t offer much more performance. The Porsche 911 is still fantastic to drive, but Porsche’s prices have lost touch with reality in such a way that even the Honda Civic is catching Stuttgart.
4. Mercedes-AMG GT ($115,300)
Whereas the Porsche 911 offers little more performance than the Civic Type R, the Mercedes-AMG GT delivers the heat from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. Heat, however, doesn’t add up to enjoyment as the GT needs to be taken too seriously. Sports cars are meant to be fun and enjoyed, but the Mercedes-AMG GT feels too buttoned down, too much like an accountant’s car than a proper thing to flog on a canyon or back road. But unlike everyone’s favorite restaurant Chotchkies, flair is absolutely critical to enjoyment.
3. Ferrari Portofino ($216,800)
After years of awkward construction, Ferrari culled the California from its lineup and introduced the Portofino. Built on a better chassis, with a svelter body, and the California T’s twin-turbocharged V8, the Portofino is in every way a better car than the California T. Yet, though its greatness can be felt, there’s still this nagging voice in our head that says, the Portofino, with its $216,000 price tag, is the entry-level Ferrari. Nothing with a $216,000 sticker should be the entry-level anything. Nothing.
2. Lamborghini Aventador S ($419,450)
Though similar in their wild aesthetics and intention to draw onlookers, the Lamborghini Aventador S is at a disadvantage to the Civic Type R when it comes to actual performance. Lamborghini has made great strides in building a better Aventador in successive updates, but the impossibly low-slung supercar still doesn’t drive as well as Lamborghini’s less-expensive Huracan, nor can it compete with the Huracan Performante. Wilder than its exterior of gills and slats and sharp angles, though, is how it’s not even as good as the supposedly lowly Civic Type R.
1. Ford GT ($451,800)
Soulfulness is not something Ford Performance looked to imbue the Ford GT with when it was engineered. Rather, the Ford GT was built to do one job; win races. Sure, it’s a racecar with a license plate and can be legally driven in 50 states, but the gap between driver fun and the Ford GT’s capabilities is staggeringly wide. The Ford GT's muted twin-turbocharged V6 and digitalness of its driver feedback ensure that the Civic Type R is more enjoyable, more willing to be properly driven to the ragged edge, and in the end, is the better performance offering. The Civic Type R has soul and personality. It’s a car that sticks with you long after you put down the keys. The Ford GT, on the other hand, looks stunning, costs two arms and two legs, but you tend to forget you’ve driven it. Oh yeah, we have, haven't we?