New Toyota GR Yaris vs Honda Civic Type R: interiors

Toyota has brought top-flight rallying know-how to the road with its all-new GR Yaris hot hatch. But is it good enough to topple the mighty Honda Civic Type R?...

Toyota GR Yaris 2021 dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

A fundamentally sound driving position and supportive seats that hold you in place during hard cornering are essential in hot hatchbacks as quick as these, and thankfully both the Honda Civic Type R and the Toyota GR Yaris deliver the goods. We’d prefer to have the option of sitting a little lower in the GR, but the relationship between its major controls is still fine (as it is in the Type R), with Toyota going so far as to raise the GR’s leather-wrapped gearlever by 5cm over the standard Toyota Yaris to facilitate quicker changes.

There’s enough adjustment in their steering wheels and figure-hugging sports seats to accommodate drivers of most shapes and sizes. Neither driver’s seat comes with adjustable lumbar support, but they’re supportive enough that most people won’t find this a problem, even on long journeys.

Honda Civic Type R 2021 dashboard

Compared with their regular counterparts, the Type R gets more bespoke touches, such as an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, a beautiful egg-shaped aluminium gear knob and red detailing throughout, whereas the GR has to make do with some extra badges and the addition of a little plaque that says ‘developed for the FIA World Rally Championship’. Both are robustly assembled, but the Type R has more soft-touch materials; the GR’s plastics feel more utilitarian.

The higher seating position in the GR gives you a better view both forwards and to the sides, but its heavily tapered roofline and tiny back window limit rearward visibility. Mind you, the Type R isn’t much better in this respect, due to its massive rear wing. Mercifully, Honda and Toyota fit these models with rear-view cameras as standard.

Infotainment systems

Toyota GR Yaris

Toyota GR Yaris 2021 touchscreen

The GR’s infotainment screen is an inch larger than the Type R’s and is positioned helpfully high on the dashboard, making it easy to see and reach. However, as with the Type R’s system, the screen resolution is pretty poor, the menu layouts are rather complicated and it can be slow to respond to inputs. Thankfully, the GR comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring, so you can bypass the Toyota software for a better experience.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R 2021 touchscreen

Both cars’ infotainment systems benefit from physical controls that allow you to flick between menus and change the volume of the radio without using the touchscreen. This might seem a little old-fashioned, but it makes the systems less distracting to use on the move than, say, the one in the VW Golf GTI. The Type R GT comes with built-in sat-nav unlike the GR, but it’s clunky in its operation; we’d rather use a navigation app via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, both of which are standard.

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