Can the upstart GR Yaris take down one of the mighty Civic Type-R in the rain?

Carwow has been a constant supplier of drag races, and this time, the YouTube channel lined up what is arguably the most talked about hot hatch today, the Toyota GR Yaris, and put it up against one of the kings of the segment, the Honda Civic Type-R.

It’s not a fair fight on the surface — the Type R is far more powerful than the spunky GR Yaris — but this is the type of drag race where outright power and speed don’t immediately spell out victory. Add the element of rain into the proceedings and what looked like an unfair fight doesn’t look as lopsided now. Does the GR Yaris have what it takes to take down the Civic Type R? Time to find out.

It’s not even a contest, right?

Put the Toyota GR Yaris and the Honda Civic Type R on a clean and empty stretch of road and our money would be on the Honda Civic Type R. Not only is it more powerful than the Toyota GR Yaris — the Civic Type boasts a 316-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as opposed to the 257-horsepower 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine powering the GR Yaris — but it also gets off the line quicker than you’d expect, and that’s even with a front-wheel-drive layout.

Toyota GR Yaris Takes on Honda Civic Type-R in a Wet Hot Hatch Throwdown
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Then there’s the weather. This race between the GR Yaris and the Civic Type R occurred on a wet road. That meant that winning this race isn’t all about power anymore; traction is just as important, and that advantage points to the GR Yaris and its all-wheel-drive system. The Civic Type R can still get off the line but the front-wheel-drive layout doesn’t guarantee as much traction as what the GR Yaris can generate. Throw in the weight advantage of the Toyota — it weighs 2,821 pounds compared to the 3,100-pound weight of the Civic Type R — and this race suddenly looks a lot closer than it probably has any business of being.

Who won the race?

Toyota GR Yaris Takes on Honda Civic Type-R in a Wet Hot Hatch Throwdown
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Mat Watson took the wheel of the Honda Civic Type with a colleague in the Toyota GR Yaris. In keeping with these types of videos, the GR Yaris and the Civic Type R didn’t just do traditional drag races. The two hot hatches also did a rolling race and a brake test, revealing results that would surprise some people.

We won’t provide any spoilers because the race between the GR Yaris and the Civic Type R adds credence to the all-important fact that drag races aren’t all about power and speed, especially on a soaking wet road. A car’s weight matters, too, as does traction on a wet road. Far too often cars slip and slide from the start when there’s not enough traction on the road. That was clear in this race, and while we are going to keep the specific results to ourselves, we will say that the race and the other tests between the Toyota GR Yaris and the Honda Civic Type R were incredibly close.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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