It makes absolute sense, and none at all, so it charge be a acceptable idea: Honda and Toyota accept been rivals for decades, and they both accept new and bigger sports cars on the bazaar at the aforementioned time for the aboriginal time in forever. Great, let the best car win! Well, authority tight. You’ll charge to aggrandize your apprehension of what a sports car can be. Sure, the latest two-door Toyota Supra coupe, revised for 2021 and in its anew alien four-cylinder abject form, fits the bill. The Honda Civic Type R? Look accomplished its four doors and applied appearance, and the compound and spirit are there. But, hey, rivalries aren’t about logic—or alike agnate agent shapes—they’re about passion. If you appetite Japanese achievement at a bulk the boilerplate domiciliary can afford, should there be an H or a T on the hood, two doors or four, front- or rear-wheel drive?
Both the Honda Civic Type R and the entry-level Toyota GR Supra 2.0 accept turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines beneath their hoods, and they alike accomplish the aforementioned bulk of torque: 295 lb-ft of the stuff. The Civic makes added power, though, 306 ponies’ account to the Supra’s 255, and the differences alone abound from there. The Civic is front-wheel-drive, the Supra rear-drive. The Civic alone employs a six-speed manual, the Supra alone an eight-speed automatic. The Civic seats four to the Toyota’s two, yet the four-door weighs 96 pounds beneath and offers added autogenous amplitude and burden room. The Type R is the ultimate announcement of the Civic, while the 2.0 is the least-expensive Supra (Toyota additionally sells the added able six-cylinder Supra 3.0). They additionally both accept a hatchback-style burden area, so they’re both decidedly practical, although alone the Civic wears that adequacy on its sleeve.
The Civic Type R is about as quick, too, as you adeptness apprehend accustomed its lower weight and college power. With a limited-slip cogwheel acceptable traction, the slower-shifting but added acceptable chiral chiral doesn’t apathetic it bottomward abundant against the Supra and its automatic. The bloom crisis still interrupts abundant of our approved testing, so we’re aptitude on our accomplished abstracts and a lot of algebraic to acquaint us the Honda will hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The Supra, we estimate, will aloof exhausted Toyota’s expectations and do the accomplishment in 4.9 seconds.
You can feel it aback you drive them aback to back. The Civic feels stronger and pulls harder at aerial rpm. The Supra is no slouch, though. Its quick-shifting eight-speed auto is geared right, so the car consistently feels quicker than you’d apprehend for aloof 255 horsepower. Bombing about boondocks and anarchic the bounded highways, it gets up to acceleration affluence quickly. Push it for all its worth, though, and you alpha to apprehension it’s a little collapsed on the top end. Above 5,000 rpm, it aloof doesn’t cull that hard.
Short-shifting on those occasions is absolutely the alone time you’d accede affairs the council caster paddles, though, because otherwise, the Sport approach chiral programming is perfect. It downshifts beneath braking and is consistently in the appropriate accessory by the time you get to the corner, and both up- and downshifts are bland and apple-pie and never agitated the car. The chiral never lets the agent abatement added than 100 rpm or so beneath 3,000, so you’re consistently in the meat of the engine’s torque curve.
That’s all able-bodied and good, but the Civic’s chiral is absolute perfection. Alone Porsche makes a chiral gearbox as good. The gates are deeply spaced, and the shifter activity is altogether lubricated. You move the accessory batten in the almost administration of the accessory you want, up or down, and it finds its way home bound and absolutely every time. You really, absolutely accept to try to draft a about-face in this thing. The Honda’s pedals, likewise, are altogether accumbent for heel-toe downshifting. If you can’t do it in this car, you’ll never be able to do it. Aback bodies allocution about active a chiral because it’s added enjoyable, they’re talking about cars like this.
MotorTrend Hot Laps With Randy Pobst: 2020 Honda Civic Type-R
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The adeptness doesn’t hurt, either. The Civic’s agent never avalanche flat. Aback you avenue a accelerated sweeper advancing the top of a gear, it’ll still cull adamantine appropriate to redline. You’d anticipate shunting that abundant adeptness to the aforementioned auto council you out of said bend would be a answerable compound for understeer, and you’d be wrong. That limited-slip cogwheel awash amid the apparatus and axles puts the adeptness down, and the abeyance has no affair befitting the auto acicular area you appetite them.
In the Honda, it is the low-speed corners you accumulate an eye out for, as that’s aback you can abet a wee bit of adeptness understeer if you’re oafish with the throttle. Aback out slightly, and the Continental SportContact 6 elastic grips aback up. Beyond that, the Civic is alluringly aloof and ridiculously grippy, not alone for a front-driver, either.
The Supra is grippy, too, with its Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires—and acknowledge advantage for those because a bottom annoy would accept you all over the road. The Supra, abundant to my frustration, continues to be a berserk inconsistent product. The actual aboriginal six-cylinder archetypal we drove, a 2020 example, was ablaze . . . on a bland alley or racetrack. Aback we collection addition one on a aflutter road, the rear end was all over the place. Not drifty and fun, but aquiver and never settled, consistently activity like it was activity to jump off the road. Then we collection the adapted 2021 archetypal with the revised electronic-adaptive abeyance (unavailable on this four-cylinder Supra 2.0), steering, and differential—and it was abundant again. We assuredly collection the 2021 Supra 2.0, too, and it abiding acquainted like all its big brother’s improvements had been congenital into the new entry-level model. Then I collection this car, and it acquainted like active a actual hardly bigger adaptation of the aboriginal 2020 Supra that came in asleep aftermost at Best Driver’s Car. Our swings in assessment on this amount are as roller-coaster as the Supra’s rear end tuning.
The rear suspension’s backlash damping is aloof too bendable for aflutter roads. Take a calmly paved bend fast, and the Supra leans in accurately and is able-bodied controlled. Introduce alike a baby bang while cornering, and the rear end flops over, springs aback up, and flops bottomward again. On annihilation but a absolute amplitude of road, the rear end is consistently bouncing up and down, and midcorner you feel it in your abutting as the g-loads fasten every time it crashes down. Thankfully, the adhesive Michelins can cope with the amount alteration assorted times in a bend afterwards accident grip. That’s bifold good, because the Supra’s administration antithesis is still biased against oversteer. Be accessible if you’re demography a decreasing-radius bend at the limit, because that backward council alteration as the bend tightens up will be met with an “aye, aye, captain” at the advanced and abaft burke oversteer at the rear. You accept to try a lot harder to abet adeptness oversteer, but the Supra ultimately obliges.
This actuality the entry-level Supra, you don’t get the six-cylinder model’s limited-slip cogwheel or the adjustable dampers. Everything’s set from the factory, so any fine-tuning will crave a accouterments change.
There are ablaze spots, though. Aback the alley is smooth, the Supra absolutely is fun to drive alike afterwards the adorned acceleration parts. Alike with all the bouncing around, it doesn’t charge midcorner council corrections because the advanced anchor is fantastic. The adenoids doesn’t absolutely feel any lighter or nimbler admitting the smaller, lighter engine, nor does the council assume to admit any added feel, but the advanced bisected of the car works.
All of the Civic works. Its council is a little beneath articulate than the Supra’s, but accustomed all that’s activity on at the advanced wheels, that’s understandable. The damping is a actor times better, accepting aloof a teensy bit animated on the bigger bumps but contrarily blockage in absolute control. Every annoy feels confidently buried on the pavement at every moment, alike aback the pavement sucks. Like Features Editor Christian Seabaugh said to me afterwards active it: “If Porsche fabricated front-drive cars, this is what they’d drive like.”
Doesn’t the Civic accept its own shortcomings? Cooling has been an affair in the past, but it’s one of the key fixes Honda fabricated for 2020. With added airflow through the advanced end, the computer never pulled adeptness to air-conditioned the engine. The Civic was bottomward to rip all day long, which is added than can be said for the Supra. This chicken car had a chiral overheating botheration that would crop up afterwards about bristles account of adamantine driving. A backup car suffered no such issue.
Honda additionally addressed the Civic’s brakes for 2020, with new pads and rotors that bigger blow heat. They work, stupendously. The brakes are able and they don’t baggy off, alike aback they’re acceptable and hot. I formed them to the point of smoker at the end of a run and never acquainted the pedal fade. I did get abundant acknowledgment from the pedal the accomplished time, though.
The Supra did appealing able-bodied braking, too, admitting the 2.0 accepting a decidedly downgraded system. The Toyota’s pedal feel wasn’t as acceptable as the Civic’s, and it got a little board aback the pads got hot, but a minute of lighter active was all it took to accompany them back. Considering they had a added car to stop, they performed admirably.
If you’re still cerebration the rear-drive Supra would be the appropriate alarm with a set of aftermarket shocks, there’s one added agency you care to consider. Alike with the little engine, the Supra 2.0 costs $44,000, and ours came in alike college at about $47,500 as tested. The Civic Type R, which needs no fixing, starts and basically ends at $37,950 unless you appetite some carbon-fiber dress-up pieces or a wireless buzz charger. Alike with the added kit, you still accept two admirable in your abridged compared to a bare-bones Supra.
Someone account this is no agnosticism shouting at the awning that it’s arbitrary to analyze the top-dog Civic to the basic Supra. If there were a way to get the acceptable achievement genitalia on the four-cylinder Supra, we would, but you can’t. All this goes to appearance what a achievement arrangement the Civic Type R is. For bags less, you get all the acceleration parts, a fundamentally bigger suspension, an appropriately quick car, a better-driving car, and the adeptness to accompany accompany and their actuality with you. However abundant the Supra 2.0 adeptness assume like an adorable rear-drive another to the Type R, it aloof ain’t alike close.