The latest Honda Civic Type R bucks the recent trend of hot hatches moving from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive, yet, by some Japanese wizardry, can be just as fast and enjoyable to drive as the Ford Focus RS, as Matt Farah explains below.

The Smoking Tire host recently hit Road Atlanta behind the wheel of a bright red Civic Type R to experience its on-track performance and it doesn’t appear as if the front-wheel drive is a hindrance at all.

As previous reviews of the hatchback have asserted, Honda has been able to eliminate any kind of torque steer, despite 306 hp being fed to the front wheels in U.S.-spec. Sure, this doesn’t provide it with the tail-happy persona available through the advanced torque vectoring all-wheel drive of the Focus RS, but, it’s still no puppy dog.

Visually, the Civic Type R is without a doubt the most in-your-face hot hatch on the market. Consequently, its looks give off the impression of it being a hardcore, track-only sports car without a hint of refinement. However, Farah notes that it is actually a lot more comfortable than the Focus RS and much easier to drive than you’d expect.