2022 Volkswagen Golf R vs. 2021 Honda Civic Type R: Which One’s Fast-R?

The Golf R won’t come to the US until the 2022 model year. But the latest version of Volkswagen’s hottest hatch is shaping up to be seriously impressive. However, at least in the US, the Honda Civic Type R arguably wears the hot-hatch crown. So, which one delivers the biggest helping of speed? The YouTube team at Carwow decided to find out.

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R and 2021 Honda Civic Type R are both impressively fast

A white 2021 Honda Civic Type R on a desert racetrack
2021 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

Honda is updating the entire Civic lineup, including the Type R, for 2022. But the 2021 model isn’t going gently into that good night. Although the example in Carwow’s video isn’t a Limited Edition model, on paper, even the ‘standard’ version of Honda’s hot hatch is fairly quick.

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 306 hp and 296 lb-ft. And all that power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed manual and a limited-slip differential. That’s enough to let the Type R go 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, Car and Driver reports.

A blue 2022 Volkswagen Golf R
2022 Volkswagen Golf R side 3/4 | Volkswagen

Like the Type R, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, it makes 315 hp and 310 lb-ft. And, unlike the CTR, the Golf R has AWD and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. But, uniquely for US buyers, Volkswagen offers an optional six-speed manual. And, although it doesn’t have an LSD, the Golf R does have an electronic torque-vectoring rear differential, Autocar reports.

However, while the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R has the power and traction advantage, it doesn’t have the weight advantage. Car and Driver estimates that it’s about 300-400 pounds heavier than the Civic Type R. But even so, it’s slightly faster. With the automatic, the AWD Volkswagen hot hatch goes 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds, Evo reports.

Still, as was demonstrated in the Type R vs. GR Yaris race, on-paper results don’t always translate IRL.

How Carwow compared these hot hatches


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Carwow ran the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R and 2021 Honda Civic Type R through its standard battery of tests. First, the hot hatches ran a ¼-mile drag race from a standing start. Then, they went head-to-head in a rolling race from 50 mph. And the final comparison was a brake test from 70 mph.

Initially, it seems like the Golf R has the drag race locked down. And, unlike the Civic Type R, it has launch control. Plus, Car and Driver estimates it can likely run the ¼-mile faster than the Honda.

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However, the Type R does have a noticeable weight advantage. And, to give the manual FWD car a bit of an advantage, it was driven by a professional test and racing driver.

Which is faster: the Volkswagen Golf R or the Honda Civic Type R?

Unfortunately, even with a professional racer at the wheel, the Honda Civic Type R couldn’t keep up with the Volkswagen Golf R.

RELATED: Some Honda Owners Warn These Civic Type R Model Years Aren’t Worth the Hype

It took a multi-second delay from Volkswagen driver Mat Watson to give the CTR any hope of finishing level with the Golf. And while the Type R hung in longer during the rolling race, ultimately the Volkswagen won that, too.

However, the Type R did win the braking test. And Watson acknowledged that were the two hatches to race on a proper circuit, the Civic would likely cross the line first.

Still, in terms of straight-line speed, the Golf R beats the Type R.

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