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Ask any car enthusiast what they think of when they hear the term “hot hatch,” and they’ll likely say “Volkswagen GTI.” That’s because it was technically the first hot hatchback on the market, however, there have been plenty of hot hatchbacks since. For example, the Honda Civic Type R is arguably the most popular one in recent years and it’s even overshadowed other “hot hatch” rivals like the Volkswagen Golf R.

But that got us thinking: Since the prices on the Honda Civic Type R are outrageous, would buying a used Volkswagen Golf R be a better value?

Volkswagen Golf R vs Honda Civic Type R

A Civic Type R Prototype automobile sits on display during the first press day of the Paris Motor Show.
A Civic Type R Prototype automobile sits on display during the first press day of the Paris Motor Show. | (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

The Volkswagen Golf R and the Honda Civic Type R are similar and wildly different at the same time. The Honda Civic Type R has an aggressive, but functional look, while the Golf R is far more sedate and sophisticated. But when it comes to performance, each car brings a lot to the table.

The Honda Civic Type is powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine that produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission. Power goes to the front wheels, however, that doesn’t mean that it can’t get up and go. Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.6 seconds, which is really quick given the car’s price point.

On the other hand, the 2019 Volkswagen Golf R is also powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. That powerplant puts out 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and is also mated to a six-speed manual transmission. In Car and Driver’s testing, the Golf R was able to get from 0 to 60 mph in the same amount of time at the Civic Type R, but it was a little slower down the quarter-mile as it covered the distance in 13.8 seconds. That’s a little surprising, considering the Golf R has an all-wheel-drivetrain.

Performance aside, the Golf R offers a little more luxury

2019 Volkswagen Golf R
2019 Volkswagen Golf R | Volkswagen

Considering both cars are extremely similar when it comes to performance, they couldn’t be more different on the inside. The Civic Type R’s interior sports a red and black motif with cloth sport bucket seats up front and standard black rear seats. In terms of amenities, the car comes with a touchscreen infotainment system that features Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, navigation, and a decent sound system. Otherwise, it’s mostly an “all business” environment as the Civic Type R is meant to be more of a road-going racecar than a luxury cruiser.

The Volkswagen Golf R’s interior is almost on the other end of the spectrum. In the 2019 model, the Golf R comes with leather seating surfaces with power-adjustable heated front seats. There’s also a touchscreen infotainment system with phone integration, however, there was also the option of a premium sound system. Overall, the interior is nicely laid out with a superb fit and finish that should last for many years.

Which hot hatchback is a better value?

2019 Volkswagen Golf R
2019 Volkswagen Golf R | Volkswagen

When it comes to pricing, the current Honda Civic Type R has an MSRP of around $37,000, but dealer markups have made it hard to buy at the price point. There are used Civic Type R models in the market, but even the pricing for those are currently elevated and buyers can expect to pay around the same price as the MSRP for a new one.

As far as the Volkswagen Golf R, you can expect to pay over $40,000 for a new one. But used examples – ranging from the 2016 to 2019 model years – can be found nationwide priced in the mid-$30,000 range. That’s a pretty fair deal considering you’ll get the same performance as the Type R, with the added convenience of AWD and a much nicer interior. That being said, the Golf R could be a much better value proposition.


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