New Volkswagen Golf GTI vs Honda Civic Type R: verdict

Is the all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI the best hot hatch you can buy? To find out we're pitting it against our current champion, the Honda Civic Type R...

New Volkswagen GTI vs Honda Civic Type R rears

Our verdict

So, is the eighth generation of the Golf GTI more of a true GTI than its highly regarded predecessor? Absolutely. With sharper steering, a new-found playfulness to its handling and a stronger engine, it is without a doubt the best iteration yet. But is it the best hot hatch? Not quite.  

The Type R wins this battle not because it’s more powerful or quicker around a track than the GTI (although it is). It wins because it thrills and entertains regardless of how quick you’re going. This side of a McLaren or a Porsche, few cars feel as beautifully honed as the Type R; its steering, gearbox and brakes all work in harmony and are as joyous to use on the M25 as they are around Silverstone.  

In addition, while the USP of the GTI was once its duality – that appealing ability to transport you hundreds of miles in comfort, before delivering you to a country road that you can attack with relish – the Type R can now play that card, too. That’s why we consider it to be the best hot hatch in the world.

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1st – Honda Civic Type R

2020 Honda Civic Type R side

For Livelier and more exciting engine; beautifully balanced handling; snickety gearbox; bigger boot
Against More road noise; costlier on a PCP finance deal; heavier fuel consumption

What Car? rating 5 stars out of 5

Read our full Honda Civic Type R review >>

View Honda Civic Type R deals >>

2nd – Volkswagen Golf GTI

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI side

For Quiet and comfortable cruiser; impressively frugal; gutsier engine at low revs; loads of grip
Against Less exciting to rev out; gearbox feels a bit rubbery; less consistent brakes; poor infotainment system

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Read our full Volkswagen Golf GTI review >>

View Volkswagen Golf GTI deals >>

Specifications: Volkswagen Golf GTI

Engine 4cyl, 1984cc, turbocharged petrol
Peak Power 242bhp at 5000-6500
Peak torque 273lb ft at 1600-4300rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
0-60mph 6.2sec
30-70mph 5.6ses
Top speed 155mph
Official economy 38.0mpg
Test MPG 36.8mpg
CO2 emissions 169g/km

Specifications: Honda Civic Type R

Engine 4cyl, 1996cc, turbocharged petrol
Peak Power 316bhp at 6500rpm
Peak torque 295lb ft at 2500rpm-4500rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
0-60mph 5.8sec
30-70mph 6.2sec
Top speed 169mph
Official economy 33.2mpg
Test MPG 32.9mpg
CO2 emissions 193g/km

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