New Renault Megane RS Trophy & Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR vs Honda Civic Type R

Our favourite hot hatch, the Honda Civic Type R, is being chased down by the Volkswagen Golf GTI, as well as the most extreme Renault Mégane RS to date: the 300 Trophy...

New Renault Megane RS & Volkswagen Golf GTI vs Honda Civic Type R

Our verdict

As good as the two newcomers are, it’s the Civic Type R that remains the best hot hatch on sale, thanks to its incredible all-round ability. No matter your skill level, it’s thrilling to drive quickly. Then when you’re done larking about, you can slacken off the suspension and it becomes a comfortable and practical family car.

The fight for the runner-up spot is tighter, with the Mégane RS and Golf GTI offering very different strengths. But it’s the former that gets the nod, because it’s more fun to drive – and above all else, that’s what a hot hatch should be.

If you add up the stars, you’ll see that the Golf actually earns more. The trouble is that few of these are in areas you’d expect, given that it’s supposed to be racing car-inspired. Yes, it’s crazily fast in a straight line, but it’s outclassed through the corners. 

If you want its plush interior and impressive refinement, buy a GTI Performance and save yourself thousands.

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1st – Honda Civic Type R - 5 stars

Honda Civic Type R rear

For Wonderfully precise and  entertaining handling; supple ride; great driving position; easily the most practical

Against Terrible infotainment system; too much road noise

Recommended options Metallic paint  (£525)

Read our full Honda Civic Type R review

Find a great Honda Civic Type R deal

2nd – Renault Mégane RS - 4 stars

Renault Megane RS rear

For Incredible agility; sounds fantastic; cheap in this company

Against Firm ride; least practical; you’ll want to add a few options

Recommended options Recaro Sports Pack (£1500), metallic paint (from £550), Visio System Pack (£250)

Read our full Renault Mégane RS review

Find a great Renault Mégane RS deal

3rd – Volkswagen Golf GTI - 4 stars

Volkswagen Golf GTI rear

For Sensational straight-line pace; quiet and comfy for a hot hatch; classiest interior

Against Least impressive in the corners; most expensive to buy and run

Recommended options Dynamic Chassis Control (£875), metallic paint (£595)

Read our full Volkswagen Golf GTI review

Find a great Volkswagen Golf GTI deal

Specifications: Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo GT

  • Engine size 4cyl, 1996cc, turbo, petrol
  • List price £33,550
  • Target Price £32,750
  • Power 316bhp @ 6500rpm
  • Torque 295lb ft @ 2500-4500rpm
  • Gearbox 6-spd manual
  • 0-60mph 5.4sec
  • Top speed 169mph
  • Gov't fuel economy 33.2mpg
  • Test MPG 32.4mpg 
  • CO2 emissions 176g/km

Specifications: Renault Mégane RS 300 Trophy

  • Engine size 4cyl, 1798c, turbo, petrol 
  • List price £31,835
  • Target Price £30,775
  • Power 296bhp @ 6000rpm
  • Torque 295lb ft @ 3200rpm 
  • Gearbox 6-spd manual
  • 0-60mph 5.7sec
  • Top speed 161mph
  • Gov't fuel economy 34.5mpg
  • Test MPG 32.0mpg
  • CO2 emissions 183g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 5dr

  • Engine size 4cyl, 1984cc, turbo, petrol
  • List price £35,305
  • Target Price £35,305
  • Power 286bhp @ 5000-6200rpm 
  • Torque 280lb ft @ 1950-5300rpm 
  • Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
  • 0-60mph 5.2sec
  • Top speed 164mph
  • Gov't fuel economy 36.7mpg
  • Test MPG 31.6mph
  • CO2 emissions 153g/km

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