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Hot Hatch Bang for the Buck: 2023 GR Corolla vs Civic Type R vs Golf R

With the arrival of the next-generation Honda Civic Type R and the new Toyota GR Corolla, fans of turbocharged hot hatchbacks have a lot to be excited about.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Red and White

Throw in the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R and you’ve got a trio of five-doors that can easily double as both daily drivers and weekend track weapons, capable of outperforming many dedicated sports cars.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Blue

Toyota announced the MSRP of the highly anticipated 2023 GR Corolla back in September, and now that Honda has just announced the MSRP for the 2023 Honda Civic Type R we can finally compare these two Japanese hot hatches as well as the German Golf R in terms of value.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition

The $44,000 Civic

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R comes in just one trim level and has an MSRP of $43,990 after destination, a substantial figure for a car that’s still based on the Honda Civic.

2023 Honda Civic Type R White

We’ve already outlined some of the pros and cons of the Type R versus the newcomer GR Corolla, and the new Type R certainly has some improvements over the old one. But its MSRP is also significantly higher.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Blue Rear View

When the previous generation Civic Type R first went on sale for the 2017 model year, it has had an MSRP under $35,000, and the price has crept up incrementally since then, with the biggest jump coming on the new 2023 model.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Interior

GR Corolla—The Value Play?

Compared to the Type R, the GR Corolla has the benefit of AWD but also packs a little less power, and is a smaller car overall. But with an entry MSRP of $36,995 for the Core trim, it’s a substantially cheaper hot hatch than the Civic.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla on Track

Unlike the Honda and VW, the GR Corolla comes in multiple trims, and compared to the Type R the higher end GR Corolla Circuit Edition is priced almost exactly the same at $43,995. Though mechanically identical to the Core model, opting for the Circuit does get you a nicer interior and some exterior touches that help set the car apart from other versions.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Side View on Track

Even when loaded up with all the options Toyota offers, including the twin Torsen LSDs, a GR Corolla Core still has an MSRP under $40,000. And if you’re looking for the best combination of fun and performance for your money, a GR Corolla Core might just be the best choice of this trio.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Interior

VW’s Luxury Rocketship

Finally, we get the Volkswagen Golf R. It makes the same 315 horsepower as the Civic Type R but comes with an AWD system that can direct power between each of the rear wheels for tail out fun.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Side View

Equipped with the standard six-speed manual, the Golf R has an MSRP of $45,835 after destination, almost $2,000 higher than the Civic Type R. The VW is only the also car of this trio available with an automatic transmission, with the seven-speed DSG adding another $800 to the price.

2023 Volkswagen Golf R in Snow

Selecting the DSG also gets you a torque bump, and while it might not be as engaging as the manual Golf R, it’s certainly the quickest of the trio when it comes to a drag race.

2023 Volkswagen Golf R Interior

But Does MSRP Even Matter?

With the exception of the GR Corolla Core model, all three of these cars are quite close to each other in MSRP, but that’s only part of the story these days.

2023 GR Corolla Rear View on Track

Though the Golf R has been on sale for a while now, the cars have been very hard to come by, commanding either excessive dealer markup or long waitlists. For now, there’s no reason to think the Type R or GR Corolla will be much different.

2023 Volkswagen Golf R Rear View

While each of these three cars offers its own distinct personality, the best value might end up being the one you can find without piling on a bunch of dealer markup.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Red on Track

Here’s hoping the market and supply chain stabilizes sooner rather than later so that all of these great hot hatches can be acquired easily at the prices their manufacturers intended.

The GR Corolla isn't the only affordable performance car Toyota currently offers. Here's how it stacks up against the less expensive GR86.

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