2022 Toyota GR86 vs 2021 Honda Civic Type R: A Real-World Comparison

If you’re looking for a pocket rocket to cruise around in, then there’s almost no better choice than the Honda Civic Type R. It’s practical, fast, and it’s one of the best handling front-drive cars ever produced. However, the all-new 2022 Toyota GR86 recently came out to play and it’s giving the Civic Type R a run for its money.

Of course, you technically can’t compare these two cars considering one is a five-door, front-drive hatchback and the other is a low-slung, rear-drive two-door coupe. But after driving both of these cars for a week in the real world, I can say that they both have the same goal in mind. Here’s a little comparison.

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R is more comfortable than the Toyota GR86

2021 Honda Civic Type R front
2021 Honda Civic Type R | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

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Considering these two cars are meant to provide exceptional handling prowess while giving the driver an ear-to-ear grin every time, it’s weird to compare the comfort level between the two. However, given the Honda Civic Type R’s five-door layout and rear-seat room, it’s obviously the more comfortable of the two. There’s plenty of head and legroom up front and a decent amount of space in the rear.

Those red and black boy racer-looking seats are more supportive and plush than you might think. And when it comes to visibility, you’ll have no issues looking out of each window. The Toyota GR86, on the other hand, has narrow visibility sight lines out of the rear quarter windows and its cabin area feels a little more cramped all around. Although, it’s not bad for a coupe.

The Honda Civic Type R’s engine provides plenty of power, but the GR86 has high-revving fun

2022 Toyota GR86 front view
2022 Toyota GR86 | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

When it comes to the powertrains, it’s hard to pick between these two cars because they’re different animals. The Honda Civic Type R’s turbocharged 2.0-liter engine provides plenty of grunt all the way to the redline with plenty of meatiness in the mid-range. Of course, we can thank the turbo for that. The car definitely feels like it has 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

On the other hand, the 2022 Toyota GR86 has a high-revving 2.4-liter engine that relies on the air that mother nature gives it. Even without the aid of a turbocharger, the GR86 provides a good amount of torque for the driving around and it pulls hard up the redline. It’s just not nearly as beefy, or fun, as the Civic Type R. In this case, I guess Honda wins.

Both cars have the same amount of infotainment

2021 Honda Civic Type R interior
2021 Honda Civic Type R Interior | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

If you’re buying either of these cars, then you probably don’t care all too much about infotainment. In fact, since both cars come with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and a decent sound system, that’s pretty much all you need. That being said, I like the Toyota’s interface more because it has a tuning knob and the screen is more responsive. In cars like these, that’s pretty much all you need.

Both of these cars handle well, just a little differently

2022 Toyota GR86 rear view
2022 Toyota GR86 | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

When it comes to handling, both the Civic Type R and the GR86 handle extremely well. There’s a reason that the Civic Type R is often touted as the “best-handling front-wheel-drive car,” it’s really that good. I tossed it around hairpin turns when going up and down Pike’s Peak and the car stuck to the road like it was glued to it. There was no hint of understeer like you find in other front-drive cars and it rotated well through the turns.

The Toyota GR86, on the other hand, can get a little tail-happy in the corners, but it won’t get you into too much trouble. While flogging it on the tight canyon turns through my usual test route, I felt confident in its road-sticking capabilities and didn’t feel like the tail-end was going to whip around and punish me like it does in the S2000. As far as handling goes, I’d have to hand it to the GR86, but then again, I like rear-drive cars.

2022 Toyota GR86 vs 2021 Honda Civic Type R

2021 Honda Civic Type R rear view
2021 Honda Civic Type R | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

When it comes to choosing between these two cars, I would personally pick the Honda Civic Type R. It’s not just because I’m a Honda fanboy, but objectively speaking, I like the turbocharged engine and the greater amount of interior space. Those seats are pretty nice too.

That doesn’t mean that the Toyota GR86 isn’t worth its price, though. In fact, it’s worth every penny considering the amount of performance it provides. But for anyone shopping between these two cars, it’s really up to whether you want a rear-drive coupe or a front-drive hatchback. Ultimately, they really are two different breeds that will both put a huge smile on your face.

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