Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS
For older stateside hot hatch fans out there, it’s probably crystal clear that we’re currently in a new golden age of performance, one that was once relegated to the realm of fantasy and bench racing. High-powered, tear-drop-shaped compacts with an odd number of doors, turbocharged power, and sports car-like handling are finally, finally finding their way to the U.S. market, and after decades of waiting and ogling from afar, U.S. buyers will soon have a chance to get behind the wheel of four-wheeled superstars previously considered forbidden fruit solely for Europe and Japan. Two of the biggest contenders in this space are the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS, both incredible cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast buyer. But which is better?
You can’t help but put these two compact titans in a side-by-side comparison. Both are roughly the same in terms of cost, both come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both get manual transmissions, and both offer five-door practicality. Both also carry a long history of making speed lovers smile, and command a veritable army of zealous followers to champion their claim to hot hatch supremacy.
But there are some serious differences as well. While the Focus is an AWD hammer, boasting four corners of grip and some impressive firepower under the hood, the Civic is a FWD scalpel, packing less weight and a history of apex-hunting prowess.
Which will come out on top – the Blue Oval Drift Mode bomber, or the H Badge slice and dice katana? It’s America versus Japan in a hot hatch shakedown. Read on for our take.
Continue reading for the full comparison.
Here’s Everything We Know About the New Ford Bronco
I read a lot of Bronco stuff in my research for this article and let me tell you right away that we are in for the ride of our lives. Ford has some balls and, if we are lucky, it will probably give us just what we wanted - a retro looking 2020 Ford Bronco with live axles, three doors, a cool “no-roof” mechanism, a modern engine, and a freaking spare tire slapped at the back. A gazillion rumors have surfaced over the past few years about the new Bronco, but the last teaser picture revealed a lot.
The Bronco always was a cool vehicle. All the way from 1966, but it wasn’t until that OJ Simpson situation that it reached the status of an automotive icon like no other. Interestingly enough, we’ve had to wait a quarter of a century for Ford to reveal an all-new Bronco, a vehicle that will be a staple of American off-roading culture and the first one in a long time to attack the likes of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
This is what we know about the 2020 Ford Bronco.
Ford Can’t Quit Filing Trademarks for the 2020 Bronco - Here’s the Full List and What they Might Be
Ford seems to be investing heavily in the upcoming Bronco. It looks like the Blue Oval is expecting the Bronco to be a runaway success, and to make sure that happens, the automaker is leaving no stone unturned. Ford has declared war on the Wrangler, plans to introduce a Raptor version, and now, has filed for multiple trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, that could hint at different trim levels, special editions, or even concepts. If everything goes according to plan, the new Ford Bronco could become the most badass SUV on the market.
The 2020 Ford Focus ST Might Be Fast, but It’s Boring to Look At
Ford makes some of the best hot hatches on the planet, and according to those who have already driven it, the new Focus ST is no exception. However, the Blue Oval was a bit overly cautious with the styling of the new Focus ST, so much so that it doesn’t even look like a proper ST, but more like an ST Line.
And I’m a car guy who pays attention to details and is usually quick to spot (even subtle) differences between models, but even to myself this just looks like the sport pack you pay a bit extra for to have on your mid-range Focus. This is a disappointment because it really doesn’t do this car’s performance and handling justice - if I’d buy this car, I’d instantly start searching for some sort of more aggressive body kit to spruce it up.
2020 Ford Puma Quirks and Features
In an unprecedented invasion of SUVs, car manufacturers are racing to unveil better designed, more convenient, and funnier propositions to the market. The latest to arrive is the 2020 Ford Puma – a small European compact crossover with front-wheel drive and somewhat diminutive dimensions. To make it as appealing as possible, and as quirky as a small two-door coupe from the Nineties, Ford started the Puma’s design from a clean slate of paper. Well, if you forget that it actually takes many of the talents from the small Fiesta hatch. Nevertheless, the Ford Puma, with an impressive array of equipment, advanced tech, cool exterior looks, and a fine array of equipment has a flavor similar to what the Nissan Juke offered ten years ago. Only in this case, it’s offered in a much sexier and sleeker shape. I present to you all the amazing quirks and features of the new 2020 Ford Puma.
The 2020 Ford Bronco Will take a swing at the Jeep Wrangler with 2.3 EcoBoost Engine
2020 Ford Puma crossover is here to steal the Nissan Juke’s thunder
Make way for another quirky, cutesy, bug-eyed city crossover that wants to muscle in on the Nissan Juke’s territory: the all-new 2020 Ford Puma. It’s a funky new high rider from the Blue Oval that’s big on style and ambition. The main talking point about the Puma mini-SUV has to be the way it looks because even in the crowded and highly competitive segment it’s trying to penetrate, it’s actually quite distinctive.
Ford has not only managed to create quite the striking pint-sized crossover shape, but it’s also one that evokes the previous model that bore this name, a Fiesta-based coupe from the mid-1990s. And that’s a good thing because nobody accused the original Puma of being ugly (quite the contrary, plus it’s actually aged pretty well too) and it was actually surprisingly popular for what it was back in the day.
2020 Ford Escape ST
The Ford Escape ST is a rumored, high-performance version of the fourth-generation crossover, unveiled in 2019 for the 2020 model year. Ford has yet to confirm plans to launch an ST variant of the Escape, but the company’s announced shift toward SUVs in the United States suggests that a more powerful crossover is in the making. Should it happen, it won’t arrive until 2020.
The trouble with the Escape ST is that Ford has never developed one before, despite the fact that the Escape nameplate has been around since 2000. Sure, Ford did offer an ST-Line model of the Euro-spec Kuga, but the package was only about the looks and no extra power. Will Ford change its mind for the fourth-generation SUV? That’s very likely because high-performance SUVs are growing popular and more and more carmakers are jumping on the bandwagon. Let’s find out how it may look and what it might hide under the hood.
Zero Labs All-Electric Ford Bronco Restomod Is the Best Bronco
We get it; you’re eager to see what the 2020 Ford Bronco will be like. Yet, somehow, the idea of an all-electric Bronco restomod is making our hearts beat faster. Zero Labs’ plans in this direction are, at this point, a string of nicely worded phrases backed up by a video and a photo gallery that, in all fairness, left us asking for more.
The company also claims that the finite product is “restored and handcrafted to show car quality” and powered by a “covert, all-electric drive system.”
That’s why we dug deeper to see what hides behind the marketing blah-blah.
Ford Announces $500 Million Investment Into Rivian to Use EV Skateboard Platform
General Motors was already in talks with Rivian, but it seems that agreement has fallen through and another American automotive giant, Ford, has secured a deal with the EV maker for use of its skateboard platform and the joint-development of a future Blue Oval EV. Ford will sink $500 million into Rivian as part of a much bigger investment in EVs, estimated at $11 billion that includes models like the all-electric Mustang-like crossover or the all-electric F-150 pickup.
Ford’s Latest Patent Filing Hints at the Name of the New Baby Bronco
The Ford Bronco is the next hot thing in the world of SUVs. Relying on the cache built up by the original Bronco that was discontinued in 1996, the new model is tipped to sell in big numbers if Ford gets the recipe right and revives an off-roader revered for its no-nonsense attitude. We’re now hearing that the name ’Scout,’ along with the ’Bronco Scout’ moniker are in the process of being trademarked by Ford through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The ’Scout’ name can either refer to the upcoming ’Baby Bronco’ or just a trim level of the Bronco itself.
Information has been thin regarding the 2021 Ford Bronco, which is set to go into production this year. We’ve heard a lot of rumors, but few can be checked and considered as facts. For instance, we’ve heard that the Bronco will come with either two or four doors and a removable soft top option will be available as Ford plans to take on the Jeep Wrangler - a rumor backed by these patent fillings. We also reported that the 2019 Ford Ranger and the 2021 Ford Bronco will sport the same underpinnings and that the Bronco might be fitted with a seven-speed manual after all. Let’s let the rumor mill spin a bit more and talk about the Scout.
2020 Ford Escape (Kuga) vs 2020 Toyota RAV4
Ford has just launched an all-new, fourth-generation Escape crossover, a model known as the Kuga in Europe and some other markets. The vehicle enters one of the most competitive and hotly contested segments where all rivals are hugely talented (there really isn’t one bad car to speak of) and picking one above all others is by no means an easy task. But if you were to choose an important rival to compare the Escape to, then that has to be the aggressive-looking Toyota RAV4.
Toyota went for a dramatic visual reinvention of the RAV4 for its fifth generation since the model had really become rather boring to look at in its previous incarnation. Frankly, no subsequent RAV4 had anywhere near the visual flair of the first generation model, a car that looked better without painted bumpers and side trim - that’s how quirky and cool it was. Now, thankfully, the latest RAV4 tries to rekindle that flame, albeit with fresh, edgy styling that makes it look contemporary, although it doesn’t look visually related to the original RAV4 in the way older generations did.
The Blue Oval, on the other hand, didn’t want to risk anything with its new Escape, so it made the vehicle look pretty much exactly like a puffy high-riding Focus. That’s literally all there is to its design, so in this respect, the RAV4 is already starting to look like the more daring, flamboyant option, yet being a Toyota, it doesn’t automatically have associated shortcomings.
Xtomi’s Rending of the 2021 Ford Escape (Kuga) ST Gives Us Hope in a Bleak, Car-Less Future
The 2020 Ford Escape (Kuga in Europe) just broke cover with styling cues from the Focus and the Fiesta hatchbacks, and the first thing that came into my mind is whether Ford will offer a higher performance ST version of it. FoMoCo has yet to talk about such plans, but this rendering from X-Tomi Design shows that the fourth-generation Escape would look cool in ST trim.