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FWD vs RWD Sport Compact Shootout
by Dave Pratte

Once upon a time the Honda Civic Si held a dominant position within the sport compact world. But these days its not only been dethroned in the performance department by the Mazdaspeed3, it’s in serious jeopardy of being pushed even further back in the pack by the likes of the new Ford Focus ST. And if that’s not enough to make the execs at Honda flop a sweat, suddenly there’s not one but two serious contenders for the sport compact title that are motivated by their rear wheels. We are, of course, talking about the Subaru BRZ and its twin brother from Scion.

Honda has recently fought back with the introduction of the limited edition HFP (Honda Factory Performance) model of the Si, the only performance-oriented machine left in their lineup. Having tested the HFP Civic on the street and around a couple of autocross style courses, both Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood and I were impressed enough by its improved handling and grip level that we felt a track dual between it and the highly touted BRZ would help provide a little clarity to the rapidly changing landscape within this “fun and affordable” youth-targeted market segment.

BENCH RACING

Hypothesizing about a car’s pace around a race track or down a drag strip – a hobby know as ‘bench racing’ among go-fast enthusiasts – is a time-honored tradition that Colum and I could not avoid here. I turned a 1-minute 28.5-second lap in the standard Civic Si coupe last summer, and given the stickier rubber and firmer suspension setup on the HFP version, I felt it would go at least 2-seconds a lap quicker and likely beat the BRZ in the process.

Colum, on the other hand, felt the BRZ would come out on top because of its much ballyhooed handling balance and the advantages associated with rear-wheel drive, first among them being the ability to “steer” the rear of the car with the throttle. Colum also rightly pointed out the BRZ is about 100 lbs lighter than the Civic (2,762 lbs for the Subaru and 2,874 lbs for the Honda), and if Jenny Craig and Sir Isaac Newton have taught us anything, it’s that weight is the enemy and the laws of physics are immutable.

I then countered that the Civic has a sizable torque advantage (170 lb-ft at 4400 rpm vs. the BRZ’s 151 lb-ft at 6000 rpm) that would offset the BRZ’s weight advantage, and that the Civic’s super slick shifting 6-speed transmission and highly effective Torsen limited slip differential would go a long way to overcoming the disadvantages of a front-wheel drive layout.

Colum then came back with some technical jibber jabber about the BRZ’s direct-injection 2.0-liter engine actually having a much broader powerband than the numbers suggest.

Apparently Subaru’s engineers intentionally flattened its torque curve so that most of its grunt comes on around 3000 rpm, a fact that would help the BRZ overcome an almost half-liter displacement disadvantage (2.0-liters vs. the Honda’s 2.4).
Read the complete Subaru BRZ vs Honda Civic Si Shootout and watch the video shootout at AutoGuide.com

 

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Holy crap-really?

This is a forum for discussions brought together through the commonality of kappas. No where does it specify we can only type(talking through computer) of kappas. You had the option to not click on the appropriately titled thread but you chose to and complain. Poor choice if you ask me.

I love honda motorcycles and the S2000. I am not a fan of most of Honda as they tend to have a decent design and then rest on it for far too long until they are behind then scramble to get something together again. The civic above is case in point. I cannot believe it won even if only because of the better tires...i mean c'mon suby, man up on the tires. It has the same tires as a prius? crap. C&D or motortrend did a BRZ with 3 different sets of tires to prove the tires are holding back. The video did specify that you could buy the BRZ and some tires and still be in the price range of the SI HFP.

Yes, I understand that, but why post something that has nothing to do with the forum subject?
 

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Holy crap-really?

This is a forum for discussions brought together through the commonality of kappas. No where does it specify we can only type(talking through computer) of kappas. You had the option to not click on the appropriately titled thread but you chose to and complain. Poor choice if you ask me.

I love honda motorcycles and the S2000. I am not a fan of most of Honda as they tend to have a decent design and then rest on it for far too long until they are behind then scramble to get something together again. The civic above is case in point. I cannot believe it won even if only because of the better tires...i mean c'mon suby, man up on the tires. It has the same tires as a prius? crap. C&D or motortrend did a BRZ with 3 different sets of tires to prove the tires are holding back. The video did specify that you could buy the BRZ and some tires and still be in the price range of the SI HFP.
I still can't understand why anyone would care about who won a contest between two Asian vehicles. I doubt if there are any 14 year old girls or 17 years old boys on this board.
 

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Actually I read the article & liked it. Although I'm not a "14 year old girl or 17 year old boy" I do happen to own a 2012 Honda Civic Si. I'm also a member of the 9th Generation Civic Forum & I post about my Solstice in the Other Car Discussion section all the time & get some very helpful feedback from members who know a lot about cars in general.
 

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well im a 19 year old guy so its close , personally i like both of these just not the way the honda front end looks but i can agree with everyone here. upswept, im guessing your a grown man, and own a solstice, but im guessing you dont like any other cars at all, a real car enthusiast can appreciate any car, i personally dont like the jdm civics i see around my house but when i see a well done car, that looks nice, or has big power and is done right i will let the owner know, i wont trash talk, i think if a cars done well it deserves to be appreciated no matter if it a European car, a Mexican car, an American car, a Canadian car, a Chinese car, a Japanese car or a UFO, i think you should realize this is a CAR forum, not just a SOLSTICE forum, if you'd like you can set up your own forum and have only solstice talk and ban anyone who does other wise, but this is not your forum so please respect other peoples opinions :grouphug:
 

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well im a 19 year old guy so its close , personally i like both of these just not the way the honda front end looks but i can agree with everyone here. upswept, im guessing your a grown man, and own a solstice, but im guessing you dont like any other cars at all, a real car enthusiast can appreciate any car, i personally dont like the jdm civics i see around my house but when i see a well done car, that looks nice, or has big power and is done right i will let the owner know, i wont trash talk, i think if a cars done well it deserves to be appreciated no matter if it a European car, a Mexican car, an American car, a Canadian car, a Chinese car, a Japanese car or a UFO, i think you should realize this is a CAR forum, not just a SOLSTICE forum, if you'd like you can set up your own forum and have only solstice talk and ban anyone who does other wise, but this is not your forum so please respect other peoples opinions :grouphug:
I actually do respect other peoples opinions, I just don't agree with them. And, yes, I'm a grown man. I can see what is going to happen to the U.S. economy (and the U.S. citizens) if we don't stop sending American dollars to support the economy of other nations.
 

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I actually do respect other peoples opinions, I just don't agree with them. And, yes, I'm a grown man. I can see what is going to happen to the U.S. economy (and the U.S. citizens) if we don't stop sending American dollars to support the economy of other nations.
WOW. You might be a grown man, but you need more education. Even the American company Pontiac had vehicles made in other nations. Without other nations, we would all be driving fords or chevys.
 

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WOW. You might be a grown man, but you need more education. Even the American company Pontiac had vehicles made in other nations. Without other nations, we would all be driving fords or chevys.
I know that Pontiac had vehicles made in Korea. But, when those vehicles were sold, the majority of profits stayed in America because GM is an American based company and was part ownership with Daewoo.

If you buy from an American based company, the profits stay in America. If you buy from an Asian based company, the profits go back to Asia, regardless of where it was assembled.
 

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If you buy from an American based company, the profits stay in America. If you buy from an Asian based company, the profits go back to Asia, regardless of where it was assembled.
Easier said than done, i'll bet you have more stuff in your house that is made elsewhere than is made in america. You know that screen you're looking at and the keyboard you're typing on and the mouse you're using... where was that made?
 

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Easier said than done, i'll bet you have more stuff in your house that is made elsewhere than is made in america. You know that screen you're looking at and the keyboard you're typing on and the mouse you're using... where was that made?
Yes, I realize that. I don't have a choice in that matter or in my TV. But, I don't want that to happen to automobiles. I don't want GM and Ford to go the way of Kodak, Zenith, etc.
 

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you can buy american made products for everything also for what its worth the civic is made in the usofa Honda Products and/or Services Made in USA
check it, you can use that as reference for the next time you need to buy an item


ontopic i really like the way the brz looks hopefully they turbo that bad boy then make it 4wd :drool: haha
 

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So Upswept, your telling me you'd rather buy an American vehicle that was built by Mexican employees at a Mexican assembly plant rather than an Asian vehicle built here at an American factory by American workers

johnsedalgo - as far as I kno, the Brz will remain RWD (they already have the wrx and sti AWD) but they are supposed to come out with a turbo model with these new generation subaru engines, should be pretty cool
 

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So Upswept, your telling me you'd rather buy an American vehicle that was built by Mexican employees at a Mexican assembly plant rather than an Asian vehicle built here at an American factory by American workers
I think you are looking for logical discussion where no chance of such exists. Once a mind is made up, don't try and change it with facts.

In any case, in a forum section explicitly for 'other' cars, it is boorish to object to discussions on 'other' cars. Just pass on by and ignore what you don't like.

There are a lot of us on here that are interested in cars, not just cars from any one area (see my sig for evidence of that). I would never buy, or not buy a given car because of where it was or wasn't made. All I care about is whether I like how it looks and how it performs - anything else isn't even a consideration for me. The US has met my requirements twice in the last 40 years (other than for tow cars where American options are cheaper and utilitarian). I doubt it will happen again in the future, which is sad in a way.

In regard to the interesting video, I perefr the Subaru. I've been very impressed with their cars, as well as the Hyundais in recent years, and the Subie has better styling by a long shot for me, with comparable perfromance.

The comments on tires are worth noting. I don't know where the advertising guys get their marketing smarts, but they seem to routinely blow it - the Solstice is an example.

The Solstice did fairly well in the comparison road tests of the GXP when it was first released, but two minor changes would have put it at the top of all those tests. All they had to do was offer a better tire as a cost plus option, even if almost no one would buy them, and put the check box for the GMPP package on the spec sheet as well, so it would have been a true option rather than a dealer installed after thought that most dealers had never heard of. Sticky tires and 290 BHP would have topped the class and would have cost GM absolutely nothing.
 

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The Solstice did fairly well in the comparison road tests of the GXP when it was first released, but two minor changes would have put it at the top of all those tests. All they had to do was offer a better tire as a cost plus option, even if almost no one would buy them, and put the check box for the GMPP package on the spec sheet as well, so it would have been a true option rather than a dealer installed after thought that most dealers had never heard of. Sticky tires and 290 BHP would have topped the class and would have cost GM absolutely nothing.
The tires may have been a possibility. Improved chassis and suspension tweaks - like the Z0K would've been another. The problem with those might-have-beens, though, is that the GMPP tune didn't come out until a ways after the GXP was released and the road tests done and dusted. I'm guessing the same for the Z0K package.

So, moot.
 
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