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Comparing the Honda Civic Type R and Abarth 124 Spider

Comparing the Honda Civic Type R and Abarth 124 Spider

While motoring journalists wish consumers would think wisely with their purchase, car buyers tend not to do so.

They don’t classify cars based on performance, then choose depending on what would suit their needs the most. Some are toiling, wondering if Porsche 911 would be a better choice over the Range Rover Sport, while there are those who are pondering which would have more impact - a Ferrari 488 GTB or a light aircraft. Ultimately, they base their decision on their budget.

With that line of thinking, comparing the Honda Civic Type R and Abarth 124 Spider would be something that people would consider. After all, both can be purchased at £30,000 ($42,000). As such, they can be considered as close competitors.

The reason why this would be a good battle between two metals is the same line of thought as why the Civic was going to murder the Abarth. And the other way around. The Civic is faster and boasts better sensitivity to controls, yet there are cons that the Abarth can address, such as weight. Of course Civic is better. However, most people look at road-testing than actual numbers.

And how could a generally unbalanced car with faulty wheel drive, and is primarily designed for shopping and the school run compare against the Abarth, a light, two-seater, rear-drive roadster?

It looked like Honda didn’t bother with the flaws until it recognized the public was already noticing it. But this new model is something that would redeem the Honda brand, bringing in knowledge that could give it the edge. Among hatchbacks, while it’s not as great as a Volkswagen Golf R, it actually can make you smile like a kid. It’s grip and handle could make you giggle, and this experience is unbeaten as of yet.

Of course the Abarth is not your ordinary car. The front engine is what makes it pure and different, but the rear-drive two-seat configuration as its predecessor is complex.

And yet the Abarth possesses a distinction no car like the Civic could dream to replicate. Sometimes we forget the fulfillment of being front and center in the steering wheel with only a few essential buttons near you. Even before you move an inch, the Abarth feels more purposeful and definite unlike its other counterparts in the market.

Well, that’s until you decide to start the engine. The Honda motor has a distinct sound and experience that an Abarth owner can only dream of. It’s got a more comfortable start and feel, which takes you to a place where things are simpler and more familiar

But of course, the Abarth has some better equipment than the Civic, especially the gearbox. It puts you in a place where you really feel the action. But once you start driving it, it is mediocre at best, so therein lies the rub.

By contrast, the Civic entertains you as you get to the desired speed. Unlike the Abarth which may feel rather clunky when it reaches 62mph, the Civic actually gives the experience that you would expect from Honda, and that’s a quick, smooth drive.

And then you notice something strange. If you drive an Abarth, you will see that you cannot keep up with the Civic’s speed. After all, that’s what the brand is about. You see yourself lagging behind, and as far as cars go, that’s not a good thing.

Then it's time for the Abarth to do things the Civic can only dream of. The Abarth allows you to drive in steep curves, which the Civic can’t because it is wider. Furthermore, the Abarth really shines at moderate speeds, when it is able to coast along and just enjoy the good ride as you are front and center. Everything in front of you has a purpose, and you are traveling at a decent speed.

Briefly, the Civic feels a little defeated, but not when it is at its best again. The joy of riding the Civic is looking and marveling at what it can do rather than what you can do together.

The verdict:

1st - HONDA CIVIC TYPE R: For drivers, it’s the best fast vehicle that you can purchase; for Honda, it’s a victorious return to form. However, it’s not sports car material yet.

2nd - ABARTH 124 SPIDER: It is a lot better than how it appears upon lowdown: It’s a good car for someone who just likes driving. It could have been better with a more competitive engine.