2023 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2023 Toyota GR Corolla: How They Compare

Now that we finally know how much power the Type R makes, we can stack it up against the rally-inspired GR Corolla.

byJames Gilboy|
2023 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2023 Toyota GR Corolla: How They Compare
Honda / Kristen Lee

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R is finally here, and that means there's only one thing to do: compare it to its homeland rival, the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla. The closer you look, the more interesting things get.

Hailing from competing lines of historic compact cars, the two have a surprising amount of mechanical commonality. Both will only be available with six-speed manual transmissions, and they'll distribute power with the aid of helical limited-slip differentials. Front brake calipers are four-piston units on both cars, which each use the same family of tires, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4, though the Honda gets the stickier 4S.

The Civic Type R gets the more potent powerplant as well, with an updated version of the 2.0-liter K20C1 turbo-four from the previous Type R. It makes 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, putting it a head above the smaller 1.6-liter G16E-GTS turbo three-cylinder of the GR Corolla. There you'll find a lesser 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet, with peak power arriving at the same 6,500 rpm but peak torque coming on later, at 3,000 rpm versus the Honda's 2,500. It may be for that reason—and the extra inertia of all-wheel drive—that the Toyota gets slightly shorter gearing as well. Being front-drive, the Honda can get away with taller ratios.

Chassis-wise, the Honda appears to have some edge too. Both cars use MacPherson strut front suspension, but the Honda's is an ingenious dual-axis setup, which Honda claims prevents torque steer and increases stability. The Civic also has adaptive dampers, which the Toyota lacks, though the Toyota's brakes are a bit bigger. Again, one imagines that's to account for its extra unsprung mass.

On paper, it looks likely the GR Corolla will be quicker from a dig, though the Civic Type R may take it from a roll. Neither should be a handful in corners, where the Toyota will be able to kick its back out by sending up to 70 percent of torque to the rear. The Civic, well, it'll just be quicker—as it oughta be for a car that could easily end up being $10,000 pricier.

That makes these two more rivals in spirit than actual competitors, especially seeing as Toyota is strictly capping GR Corolla production. Besides, when these two encounter each other on the street, we know there'll be less butting of heads than exchanging of thumbs-ups.

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