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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best hot hatch for practicality

Hot hatches should make even the most mundane of drives feel magical. However, this ability to entertain shouldn't come at the expense of everyday usability...

Best hot hatch for practicality

Honda Civic Type R  2.0 VTEC Turbo GT

What Car? Car of the Year 2021 logo with sponsor

When the Honda Civic Type R took on the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI earlier this year, it won by quite a sizeable margin, but not, perhaps, for the reasons you’d expect.

Although the GTI has a hard-earned reputation as the most ‘civilised’ car in the hot hatch class, it just can’t match the Type R in the everyday practicality stakes. Not only does the Type R offer much more space for rear-seat passengers, but it also has a much bigger boot; it’ll swallow seven carry-on suitcases to the GTI’s five.

2020 Honda Civic Type R dashboard

So far so sensible. But the thing that makes the Type R a truly great hot hatch in our books is the fact that once you get this practical everyday car on your favourite stretch of road it immediately transforms into something that feels every bit as focused as a McLaren or Porsche.

The Type R’s steering, gearbox and brakes all work in absolute harmony, and there’s a fluency to its ride that’s just what you need to take on undulating British B-roads. And, to top things off, the Type R remains the quickest hot hatch we’ve ever tested around our handling track.

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