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2023 Honda Civic Type R vs. Toyota GR Corolla and VW Golf R: Hot Hatch Specs Compared

Here's how Honda's new hot hatch stacks up against its closest foes.

2023 Honda Civic Type R
Civic Type R wins the wing wars, at least.
Honda

Compact hot hatches might not be as thick on the ground as they once were, but the Honda Civic Type R definitely isn't the only game in town. So following Wednesday's announcement of the US-spec Civic Type R, we thought we'd take a look at how it stacks up to its closest rivals: the Toyota GR Corolla and Volkswagen Golf R.

These three hatchbacks are pretty evenly matched, but before we kick off, there's something important to note. Volkswagen offers two transmission options in the Golf R, and the output numbers are slightly different for both. To keep things fair in this comparison, we're going to focus on the manual transmission Golf R, but we'll point out the other specs, too. Let's go.

Performance

A small, turbocharged engine is a quintessential part of the hot hatch formula. Honda and VW rely on four-pot engines, but Toyota comes to the fight with a boosted triple. The power numbers are pretty similar for our contenders, and all three cars offer a six-speed manual transmission. However, while the Civic relies on front-wheel drive, the Corolla and Golf R up their games with standard all-wheel-drive systems.

Here's where the Golf R's other big discrepancy makes itself known. In addition to the six-speed manual, VW offers a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and the DCT actually comes with a slightly more powerful engine tune. The numbers below are for the manual VW, but if you spec the DCT, the Golf R produces 295 pound-feet of torque instead of 280.

Specifications


Civic Type R GR Corolla Golf R
Engine 2.0L turbo I4 1.6L turbo I3 2.0L turbo I4
Power 315 hp 300 hp 315 hp
Torque 310 lb-ft 273 lb-ft 280 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Driveline Front-wheel drive All-wheel drive All-wheel drive

Three individual tailpipes. Wacky.

Toyota

Dimensions

These three compact hatchbacks might strike similar silhouettes, but there are actually quite a few differences. The Civic is the largest of the bunch, with a wheelbase that's about 4 inches longer than that of the Golf. The upright VW is the tallest of the trio, but the Civic still boasts more room for passengers. Honda has yet to release the Civic Type R's final weight, but Toyota has a roughly 150-pound advantage over the Golf R, despite both cars having all-wheel-drive systems.

Specifications


Civic Type R GR Corolla Golf R
Wheelbase 107.7 in 103.9 in 103.5 in
Length 180.9 in 173.5 in 168.9 in
Width 74.4 in 72.9 in 70.4 in
Height 55.4 in 57.2 in 57.7 in
Weight TBD 3,249 lbs 3,404 lbs
Passenger volume 99.0 cu-ft TBD 91.9 cu-ft

The Golf R is the most understated of the bunch.

Volkswagen

Infotainment and safety tech

Across the board, these cars are pretty evenly matched as far as tech is concerned. All three have digital gauge clusters (Honda: 10.2 inches, Toyota: 12.3 inches, Volkswagen: 10.3 inches) and come standard with central touchscreens to control the multimedia system (Honda: 9 inches, Toyota: 8 inches, Volkswagen: 10 inches). 

Driver-assistance features are in high supply for all three, as well, with each getting their respective automaker's latest and greatest suite of technologies. That means no matter which hot hatch you choose, you'll get things like forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control standard. Of course, the only car to offer true full-speed adaptive cruise control is the Golf R, but that's only because it can be equipped with an automatic transmission.

Pricing and availability

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf R starts at $45,385 including $1,095 for destination, and if you want the dual-clutch automatic, add an extra $800. The Golf R is available at VW dealers right now.

Toyota recently announced pricing for the GR Corolla, and it vastly undercuts the Golf R, at $36,995 including destination. If you want one of the limited-production Morizo Editions, however, you're looking at $50,995.

We don't yet have pricing information for the Honda Civic Type R, which is expected to arrive at dealers this fall. That said, we'd be shocked if it turned out to be more expensive than the Golf, with pricing likely starting at or just below $40,000.