The current Honda Civic Type R and new Volkswagen Golf R are two of the best compact hatches currently on the market, so comparing them is comes naturally.
There isn’t that big a difference in terms of power, as they both have 320 PS (315 HP / 235 kW) to play with courtesy of their 2.0-liter turbo-four engines. However, the balance tilts slightly in favor of the Golf R, which has 420 Nm (310 lb-ft) of torque, or 20 Nm (15 lb-ft) more than the Type R.
Moreover, while the Honda is front-wheel drive and has a six-speed manual gearbox, the Golf has an advanced all-wheel drive system coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with launch control, which should help put its power down more efficiently.
Now, the Civic Type R is arguably one of the fastest and most rewarding front-wheel drive hot hatchbacks that money can buy, and while its flashy styling might be a bit OTT, it makes sure that it stands out. On the other end, the Golf R looks restrained, and if you don’t pay attention to the tiny details, it’s easy to confuse it for the standard variants – well, if you’re not a petrolhead anyway.
So, which one do you think came out on top in this series of challenges that included drag races and brake tests? Could the brilliant set-up of the Honda make it a match for the top-of-the-line Golf, or did the latter simply obliterated it in every sprint? Before finding out, it’s worth noting that the Civic had a pro racing driver behind the wheel, whereas the Golf was driven by a journalist.