This was never going to be an easy choice.
Pay attention to those commercials that show a blue-eyed family singing praise about a Glade air freshener that supposedly saved their marriage and you'll see nothing more than a cry for help. Cries for help that fortunately can be quelled by a dose of life's sweetest and most distilled nectar: horsepower. Not that you need a lot of it, just a quick taste will send most men off the edge. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 ponies should do provided your whip weighs around 3,000 pounds.
Those metrics match that of the Honda Civic Type R, and before you go asking why you need anymore car than that, it's important to take a quick look at the Ford Focus RS. That little hatchback makes more than 350 horsepower through a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, more than the Civic Type R's 306 horsepower rating.
Despite weighing between 300-400 pounds more than the Honda, the Focus RS also has a clever all-wheel drive system instead of a front-wheel drive configuration, making track work at the helm of the Ford a breeze. Not like the Type R is a slouch on the track either, it recently snagged the title for being the fastest front-wheel drive machine around the Nurburgring. This comparison test covers a few of those hot hatch benefits, but it also takes aesthetics, daily drivability, and wow factor into consideration. It's as close a competition as any, but at the end of the day the winner is clear.