Volkswagen invented the new hatch, launching the Mk 1 Golf GTI in 1976, and it has honed and refined the system ever since. Like most Japanese automakers, Honda and Toyota have toyed with the new hatch style, however these firms’ enthusiasm for it has waxed and waned through the years, tugged by seemingly everlasting inner debates as as to whether constructing inexpensive fun-to-drive efficiency vehicles is a distracting indulgence for a producer of sensible, environment friendly, mainstream automobiles.
It’s an existential argument that’s by no means appeared to hassle Volkswagen. The new eighth-generation Golf GTI has the identical endearing steadiness of efficiency, dealing with, and worth as the unique. Against this, the mere reality the 2020 Honda Civic Type R and 2020 Toyota GR Yaris exist in any respect suggests we’re seeing one other high-water mark in each automakers’ scorching hatch anthologies. If historical past’s any information, although, the tide will finally recede, as soon as extra revealing stable and smart merchandise, such because the CR-V and RAV4, because the true bedrocks of the Honda and Toyota manufacturers.
However the Civic Sort R and the GR Yaris each are right here, and right here now (although sadly we won’t get the GR Yaris here in the United States). So, let’s benefit from the second and ponder: Which is the warmer of those Japanese hatches?
Beneath the Hood: Tussle of the Turbos
The Civic Sort R and GR Yaris every have small-displacement turbocharged engines mounted throughout the engine bay. Unexpectedly, maybe, it’s the Honda engine that’s the extra standard of the 2. Codenamed AP4T, it’s a 2.0-liter VTEC twin-cam four-cylinder that’s truly made within the good outdated USA, at Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio. It shares its structure—and various elements—with the two.0-liter engine that powers the Accord 2.0T, the place it produces 252-hp and 273-lb-ft of torque.
In Civic Sort R trim, nevertheless, an even bigger turbo and extra aggressive tuning increase outputs to 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, peak energy occurring on the similar 6,500 rpm as the Accord engine, with peak torque arriving 1,000 rpm later, at 2,500 rpm, and sticking round till 4,500 rpm, 500 rpm increased. It’s one of the crucial power-dense four-cylinder engines within the enterprise, pumping out 153 hp per liter.
However the 1.6-liter G16-GTS engine underneath the hood of the GR Yaris makes 160 hp per liter. And it does it with one much less cylinder. The G16-GTS, a bespoke three-cylinder engine developed by Gazoo Racing particularly for the GR Yaris, makes 257 hp at 6,500 rpm and 265 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 to 4,600 rpm.
Why three cylinders? “We most popular this engine resulting from its mild weight and compact measurement,” growth challenge chief Atsunori Kumagaya stated. “It’s easy to put in, and the shortage of exhaust gasoline interference made it simpler to acquire energy.” The G16-GTS is the smallest and lightest turbocharged 1.6-liter mill on the earth, and essentially the most highly effective three-cylinder manufacturing engine ever made.
The Civic Sort R engine is, like most different scorching hatch engines, a warmed-over model of a powerplant designed for extra quotidian duties. The GR Yaris, in contrast, has a real competitors engine, designed from a clear sheet to assist Toyota win rallies.
Entrance-Wheel Drive vs. All-Wheel Drive
Drive from the Civic Sort R engine is funneled to the entrance wheels through a six-speed handbook transmission. Honda’s intelligent dual-axis strut entrance suspension, which primarily decouples the kinematics of the entrance shocks from the steering knuckles, helps scale back torque steer whereas sustaining steering precision. With the change from the fourth-generation FK2 to the fifth-generation FK8 fashions, the Sort R growth staff ditched the torsion beam rear axle in favor of a multilink setup that elevated the consistency of the rear contact patch and likewise improved the experience.
The GR Yaris additionally has a six-speed handbook transmission, however the drive is taken through a helical-gear switch case to a brand new all-wheel-drive system, the primary developed by Toyota in 20 years. The straightforward, light-weight driveline incorporates a fast-response middle coupling that gives three modes—Regular, which sends 60 % of the torque to the entrance wheels; Sport, which sends 70 % to the rear wheels; and Observe, which splits the torque evenly between each axles.
Whereas the Civic Sort R begins life as the identical assortment of metal stampings as a regular five-door Civic, the GR Yaris has a singular platform that mixes the entrance parts of the brand new Yaris—codenamed XP210 and now on sale in Japan, Europe, and Australasia—with a rear part tailored from the Toyota GA-C platform that underpins the Corolla and C-HR crossover. Entrance suspension is a MacPherson strut with strengthened parts, and on the rear is a specifically designed multilink setup.
The Sort R is constructed on the identical manufacturing line as all the opposite four-door Civic hatchbacks. Sort R our bodies get an additional serving to of structural adhesive and spot welds positioned 0.eight inch aside as an alternative of the 1.6-inch spacing used on common Civics to enhance rigidity, however in any other case, the 2 fashions are virtually equivalent. The GR Yaris, nevertheless, is just about hand-assembled on a particular line. The one elements it shares with the common XP210 Yaris are the entrance and tail lamps, the door mirrors, and the roof aerial.
The common Yaris is a four-door hatchback; the GR Yaris is a two-door that’s 2.2 inches longer, 2.Four inches wider, and 1.eight inches decrease. About 10 % of the physique construction is aluminum, which helps make it 84 kilos lighter than that of the common automotive, and it has 6 % extra welds and 70 % extra structural adhesive to extend rigidity. The hood, tailgate, and doorways are aluminum, and the roof is made out of solid carbon fiber, which saves 7.7 kilos over a comparable metal panel.
Efficiency: By the Numbers
In its Circuit Pack trim with the optionally available solid alloy wheels, the GR Yaris weighs a claimed 2,822 kilos. The final Civic Sort R we examined tipped the scales at simply 274 kilos extra, commendable for a automotive that’s 22.2 inches longer, 2.9 inches wider, and doesn’t have anyplace close to the identical quantity of unique weight-saving supplies utilized in its development. The Honda thus has a weight-to-power ratio of 10.1 kilos per horsepower, about 10 % higher than the Toyota.
Our testing reveals the Sort R will speed up from Zero to 60 mph in 5.Zero seconds flat, dispatching the standing quarter mile in 13.7 seconds at 105.9 mph. Honda claims a high pace of 170 mph. We haven’t had the chance to check the GR Yaris ourselves, however Toyota claims a 0–62 mph acceleration time of 5.5 seconds, which suggests a 0–60 mph time of 5.Three to five.Four seconds. Toyota doesn’t quote 1 / 4 mile time however states the GR Yaris is electronically restricted to 143 mph.
You’d count on the all-wheel-drive Yaris to be faster off the road, however the Sort R’s weight-to-power benefit and gearing in all probability give it the sting. Though the ratios within the Toyota’s transmission are extra carefully stacked (first gear is 3.538 and sixth 0.902, in contrast with 3.625 and 0.735 within the Honda) the Civic has a decrease diff ratio.
Efficiency: On the Street
In fact, check numbers can solely inform a part of the story. Each these vehicles punch method above their weight out on real-world roads.
One drive is all it’s essential to perceive why the Civic Type R held the front-drive production car lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The Sort R is essentially the most spectacular efficiency Honda since the original NSX.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter would possibly ship a stout 306 hp, however it’s astonishingly easy and tractable, pulling cleanly from simply 1,500 rpm. The chassis shows very good steadiness and composure, feeling planted and linked always, with meaty but deliciously tactile steering, a snickety-snick fast gearshift, and a experience high quality that, due to its adaptive dampers, appears impossibly compliant for a automotive that rolls on such fats, low-profile efficiency tires.
However what makes the Honda extra outstanding is that you just don’t should drive it like your hair is on fireplace on a regular basis to take pleasure in it.
Virtually six inches shorter within the wheelbase, the GR Yaris, unsurprisingly, doesn’t fairly have the general composure of the Sort R on a bumpy highway. However the physique motions are taut and tidy, and the suspension soaks up sharp bumps with a stunning fluency that nearly matches the Honda’s. The Toyota’s gearshift isn’t fairly as concise, and there’s barely much less surgically exact suggestions via the steering. However …
Though the Sort R’s 2.0-liter engine is one for the ages, the 1.6-liter engine within the GR Yaris, with its characterful three-cylinder throb at slower speeds, is arguably extra spectacular. This little engine is totally relentless from 4,000 to 7,000 rpm and revs with the simple vigor of a naturally aspirated powerplant whereas pumping out a stable serving of turbo torque via the midrange.
And there isn’t a scorching hatch on the planet that will get into—and out of—corners as rapidly and confidently because the GR Yaris, together with the Civic Sort R. Though its grip limits are excessive, the Honda in the end follows conventional front-drive dealing with norms—brake then elevate on nook entry to provoke rotation, then go to energy and modulate the understeer.
The brakes on the GR Yaris are Porsche-level fabulous, providing very good really feel and unquenchable functionality. The Toyota’s shorter wheelbase makes it react to steering inputs fractionally sooner than the Honda, and the all-wheel-drive system means there’s extra assist from the rear axle on the change of path. You will get on the gasoline simply as early as within the Sort R, then let the differentials do their factor and steer the place you wish to go. The nostril of the GR Yaris stays extra snugly tucked into the apex, the rear axle monitoring faithfully behind, the all-wheel-drive system prepared to assist punch the automotive down the highway the second you go to full throttle.
Which Is the Hottest?
There’s no mistaken reply right here. Every of those vehicles is an excellent tackle the new hatch system.
The Honda Civic Sort R, all wings and vents, edges and angles, is unapologetically—joyously—Japanese in design and execution. It’s the scorching hatch, Gundam fashion. Three years after its launch, it stays a benchmark mannequin, with one of many best front-drive chassis ever. The Type R finished fourth in our 2018 Best Driver’s Car shootout, besting exotics resembling the McLaren 720S and heavy-hitting sports sedans resembling the BMW M5, for good cause.
However the GR Yaris is the warmer of those two hatches.
It’s not simply the way in which the GR Yaris drives, particularly on tight, twisting, slippery roads. No, what makes it extra fascinating is that it’s not merely an expertly warmed-over household automotive. The Toyota GR Yaris is a real homologation particular, with a particular engine, a particular drivetrain, and a particular physique, all designed to make the Yaris extra aggressive within the World Rally Championship. It’s been engineered from the wheels as much as ship the racer’s edge.
The racer’s edge. You’ll be able to see it. Extra necessary, you’ll be able to really feel it.
|2021 Honda Civic Sort R||2020 Toyota GR Yaris (Circuit Pack)|
|BASE PRICE||$38,450||$45,404 (UK pricing)|
|LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 4-door hatchback||Entrance-engine, AWD, 4-pass, 2-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||2.0L/306-hp/295-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4||1.6L/257-hp/265-lb-ft turbo DOHC 12-valve I-3|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed handbook||6-speed handbook|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,100 lb||2,850 lb (mfr)|
|WHEELBASE||106.Three in||100.eight in|
|L x W x H||179.Four x 73.9 x 56.5 in||157.Three x 71.1 x 57.Three in|
|0-60 MPH||5.Zero sec (MT est)||5.Three sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||22/28/25 mpg||Not rated|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||153/120 kW-hrs/100 miles||Not rated|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.80 lb/mile||Not rated|
|ON SALE||At present||At present (Japan, UK, world markets)|
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