You have to realize that when the Type R came out in 1997 there was nothing like it in the sport compact market. A 1.8L that made 195 hp was unheard of. They paired that with chassis bracing up the wazoo and a limited slip differential up front and the car performed like a dream. And it held the #1 spot in many peoples' eyes until the WRX came out.
Give the Type-R credit, it still hangs with the WRX. And that says something because it has less displacement, no F/I, and only pushes 2 wheels.
But for the price in the SCC market WRX owns.