2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (292 application @ 5,400 rpm; 280 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm)
Six-speed manual, all-wheel drive
22 burghal / 31 artery / 25 aculated (EPA Rating, MPG)
10.9 burghal / 7.7 artery / 9.4 aculated (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price: $38,480 (U.S) / $40,695 (Canada)
As Tested: $40,195 (U.S.) / $43,029 (Canada)
Prices accommodate $820 destination allegation in the United States and $1,745 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border accessories differences, can’t be anon compared.
Not continued ago, I wrote blithely about the new Honda Civic Type R. Part of my acclaim was based on the actuality that the Type R is bargain-priced compared to its compeion.
Yeah, I admired the Type R. A lot. Alike took a little applesauce in the comments for it (fair enough). But again, a big aen for my acclaim was the price. If the Type R was stickered the aforementioned as its three capital compeors – the Ford Fo RS, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R – would it still be “all that?”
On its own merits, sure. It’s very, actual good. Great, even. But a able altercation can be fabricated that all things actuality equal, the Golf R is alike better. And I’m about to accomplish it.
For sers, the Golf R (technically, Golf R DCC with Navigation; DCC stands for Dynamic Chis Control) is about the adverse of the Type R and the added two oligans in the cl, admitting accepting the aforementioned mission. Yes, it’s a powerful, adventurous bunched that offers a stick shift. Yes, like two of its rivals, it has all-wheel drive. It has a adorable bankrupt agenda and a sport-oriented drive mode.
But clashing the added three cars, it blends. Alone VW fanboys will apprehension it in traffic. Outside of badging, wheels, four bankrupt outlets with chrome pipes, rear addle-brain and a low ride acme – lower than both the abject Golf and the mid-performance GTI – there’s not abundant to acutely differentiate the car from “lesser” Golfs. Yes, there are added beheld cues – ancillary skirts, rear diffuser, altered pers (the advanced has beyond air inlets), altered grille, and bi-Xenon headlights, but the boilerplate eyewitness apparently won’t apprehension you’re active an R.
Perhaps the bigger betrayal is the soundtrack — the bankrupt agenda absolutely offers a adorable achievement note. Still, it’s beneath noticeable, alike during adamantine driving, than the sounds appearing from the RS and STI. It sounds abundant but apparently won’t draw exceptionable absorption from the bounded law.
The Golf R doesn’t aloof complete great. It moves with urgency, acknowledgment to 292 application and 280 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It ability booty a tad best to dig into the ability than the others, but that’s the affectionate of aberration that’s absolutely alone apparent at the track. In circadian driving, the R feels aloof as acknowledging aback it comes to acceleration.
The Golf R is attainable with either a six-speed chiral manual or a six-speed DSG automatic. The six-speed stick is one of the bigger ones out there, altugh the throws are a beat long. Whether in circadian active or aback active hard, it’s affable to ignment with, and the clamp has acceptable takeup and feel after cutting out your legs.
Balance is a key aspect of the Golf R – its ride is sedate abundant aback commuting while sacrificing annihilation in agreement of handling. Like best avant-garde cars it offers up a best of drive modes – normal, comfort, race, and tom – I begin actomed to be the best for best situations. Chase ancd things up accurately aback I cse to be added aggressive. Comfort, wever, was a bit of a letdown. Sure, one expects looser council and added less-taut responses aback allotment this mode, but the R took it added than one would apprehend from a car with this affectionate of adventurous intent.
Otherwise, the R’s council is accurately weighted, acquiescent to quick adjustments, and accurate. Like the ride, the administration strikes a nice anhesis – there’s that chat again. The R is aloof aned and calm while turning. Thank its action suspension, which is a strut-type with lower ascendancy arm up advanced and multi-link in the rear, for that. As for the upgraded brakes, I noticed no issues (tugh I additionally had no advenious to absolutely absolutely claiming them).
Perhaps this car’s bigger backbone is additionally its bigger flaw. It’s such a abundant action bunched for circadian active absolutely because it’s not absolutely as pped up as its compeion. It doesn’t accept the aforementioned akin of bench bolstering as the RS and Type R, for one thing. Sure, there’s a addle-brain and added aerodynamic doo-dads, but it’s cryptic from the columnist abstracts w abundant of their attendance is meant to abetment performance, and w abundant is meant absolutely for styling.
All this absolutely agency is that the Golf R feels beneath track-foed than the others, at atomic out of the box. And for best buyers, that’s fine, alike preferable. Besides, it’s not like there isn’t an aftermarket that exists for tse w’d adulation to clue their Golf R. But some ociation will adopt to alpha with a car that offers added aliment from go.
The Golf’s sleeper cachet will polarize, too – while some buyers will adopt to move about the apple in stealth, others ability like a little added swmanship. To be sure, the Golf R’s autogenous doesn’t feel decidedly altered from the GTI, admitting all the little “R” touches Volkswagen gives it. Yeah, the pedals and flat-bottomed council caster attending air-conditioned (and to be fair, the GTI additionally has a agnate council caster and pedal setup), and so do some of the added trim bits, but again, alone enthusiasts are absolutely activity to apprehension best of the changes. Actuality attenuate sometimes goes unappreciated.
Too abundant subtlety aside, the autogenous is contrarily appealing nice. The covering surfaces attending and feel acceptable and the ability driver’s bench makes accepting acclimatized easy. I was, wever, addled by the non-opening centermost console. This leaves autogenous aculator at a exceptional – you get the glovebox, a sungles lder army on the ceiling, and a baby accommodation advanced of the shifter that additionally uses the USB port.
Cargo amplitude is unremarkable, and the rear bench was bound but accessible. Headroom is acceptable up advanced and fair in back. If you appee a sunroof, sorry, you can’t get one.
Like added cars in this cl, abnormally hatchbacks, alley babble becomes an affair at artery speeds. The Golf R feels somewhat quieter than the others, alone speaking, but it is still appealing noticeable.
Most of the Golf R’s added flaws are present in added Golf/VW models. The infotainment emblage is attainable abundant to use, but it requires way too abundant flipping from card to card to appoint adequately basal functions (example – if you accept the branch nav awning up but appee to manually tune the radio via the , you accept to about-face to the radio card first). The Park Pilot driver’s abetment arrangement is too intrusive, generally beeping and booping (and blurred the radio volume) aback it’s not absolutely bare – a barrier in the driveway abrogation my architecture acquired it connected abashing and consternation.
Speaking of driver’s aids, in accession to Park Pilot, the Golf R comes with adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, free emergency braking with advanced ist, lane-departure warning, rearview camera, and aerial axle control.
Convenience appearance are appealing standard, too – acrimonious advanced seats, accent radio, USB, Bluetooth, navigation, and smartpne affiliation are the highlights here. You additionally get six airbags.
I didn’t admeasurement ammunition economy, but it’s listed at 22 mpg city/31 mpg artery for the stick and 23/30 with the DSG.
Considering the Golf R on the wle, it’s apparently the best of the agglomeration for all-around duty. It’s added aesthetic and beneath aerial strung than the STI and Fo RS, and it looks bigger than the alienated Type R while accouterment a agnate on-street active experience. It’s conceivably beneath track-oriented than the rest, but as noted, best buyers aren’t activity to care.
Price is area it gets sticky. My tester came in at a reasonable-seeming $40,195 with fees. That’s college than a abject Fo RS by about $4K, but aba options to that car makes the amount jump bound – I got one up to $44K on the tomer configurator, and the aftermost one I collection was $42,245, acknowledgment to $5,470 in options, additional fees.
The STI ss at a few dred bucks added than the Golf R, and fees add on about addition $1,000. That car alone offers one advantage package, admitting – the no-cost addition annul – so apprait is abased on w you accessorize. Aba aloof about every accent you can would put you aing to $50K, but few buyers are activity to go that g-wild with the accessories box. Keep it reasonable, and you’re in the low-to-mid $40K range.
Volkswagen additionally offers accessories for the Golf R, and if none of them amuse your fancy, you can accept your Golf R for the aforementioned amount as my ysis unit. A appropriate price, altugh VW could angle to action ertive features, such as a sunroof.
Which would be (mostly) a bargain, if not for that annoying Type R actuality priced at beneath $35K, including fees. All of this addition does, of course, avoid banker markups (which can appear in this segment). Also, the Honda will alone advertise 5,000 Type Rs per year. Not to acknowledgment that the Honda’s looks are, well, controversial.
For the best alloy of circadian driving, blend-in looks, and performance, the Golf R charcoal king. The added three ability be bigger on track, and one is decidedly cheaper, but for the bunched sports car client w wants to best all-round agent with the atomic tradeoffs, the Golf R is the best cice.
[Images © Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]
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