New Honda Civic Type R vs new Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years: verdict

The latest evolutions of the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R hot hatches promise thrills galore. But which is best?...

Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years rears

Our verdict

The R20 feels sharper and more exciting than the standard Golf R, while retaining its supreme day-to-day usability. Fast yet cosseting, it’s an appealing proposition if you’re looking for a grown-up hot hatch.

But for us, hot hatches are mainly about having fun, and in that regard, the Type R is in another league. With an engine and handling that make it feel like a road-legal racer, few cars are as thrilling as this, yet it remains practical enough for everyday use.

The catch is that, despite the premium price tag, the Type R is already sold out, and we can’t fully endorse a car that you can’t readily buy. Still, it’s a clear winner here, and the lucky few who do score one won’t be disappointed.

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1st – Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R front

For Exciting power delivery; razor-sharp handling; feelsome steering; snickety gearbox; bigger boot
Against More road noise; limited availability; slightly thirstier; no optional sports exhaust
Recommended options None

What Car? says 5 stars out of 5

Read our full Honda Civic Type R review >>

Find Honda Civic Type R deals >>

2nd – Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years

Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years front

For Quieter cruiser; quicker off-the-line acceleration; plush ride on adaptive suspension; reasonably frugal
Against Below-par infotainment system; ddly steering wheel controls; adaptive suspension isn’t standard; less nimble
Recommended options Dynamic Chassis Control (£850)

What Car? says 4 stars out of 5

Read our full VW Golf R review >>

Find VW Golf R deals >>

Specifications: New Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo

New Honda Civic Type R badge

Engine 4cyl, 1996cc, turbo, petrol
Peak power 325bhp at 6500rpm
Peak torque 310Ib ft at 2200rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
0-60mph 6.7sec
30-70mph 5.3sec
Top speed 171mph
30-omph 10.9m
70-0mph 58.6m
Noise at 30mph 65.4db
Noise at 70mph 71.8db
Kerb weight 1429kg
Tyre size (std) 235/35 R19 
Fuel tank 47 litres
CO2 emissions 186g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years 

New VW Golf R 20 Years badge

Engine 4cyl, 1984cc, turbo, petrol
Peak power 328bhp at 5600rpm
Peak torque 310Ib ft at 2100-5500rpm
Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
0-60mph 4.5sec
30-70mph 3.7sec
Top speed 168mph
30-omph 8.8m
70-0mph 51.8m
Noise at 30mph 63.7db
Noise at 70mph 69.1db
Kerb weight 1476kg
Tyre size (std) 235/35 R19
Fuel tank 50 litres
CO2 emissions 175g/km

Test weather conditions Wet and cold

Cars pictured

Honda Civic Type R with Championship White paint (£650)

Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years with Lapiz Blue premium metallic paint (£835), Dynamic Chassis Control (£850) and rear-view camera (£320)

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