Assessing the merits of the two best hot hatches you can buy (probably)
In general, the next generation of any car – irrespective of genre – is superior to its predecessors in most respects. You’d expect that.
It’s also true to say that improving the class best can be more difficult in some genres than others. Hot hatches are a case in point. Relative to every other type of car that’s available at any given time, hot hatchbacks have always seemed to deliver something extra over and above the advances over regular models that you’d expect from the bare specs.
Honda’s Civic Type R and Volkswagen’s Golf R have been up at the top of this tough game for quite a while now. The last Civic maybe wasn’t quite the big step forward hoped for by its legions of devotees, but the brand new 2017 Type R has put all that straight by delivering stellar performance and handling in a bodyshell only a mother could love. It’s as thrilling to drive as it is mad to look at.
The Volkswagen Golf R is a different kettle of fish, very much a smooth-skinned dolphin to the Honda’s devilled whitebait, but with four-wheel drive and plenty of horsepower it’s no less effective on the road. The word that keeps coming up in Golf R tests is ‘mature’.
We put two of our equally mature road test gurus in the front seats of both these cars, pointed them at the Welsh hills, and asked them to chat amongst themselves about their merits and demerits.
Here’s the video. See if you agree with Dan and Matt’s deliberations.