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VW Golf vs Honda Civic



  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    Well I got 96k mi. on my '97 Civic DX htbk now and I 've replaced the following:

    0-83K mi. - NOTHING replaced (just did a minor

    83K mi. Speed sensor went and blew the alternator
    Both were replaced under the extended
    warranty I had purchased.

    83K - 96K present - NOTHING! car runs great!
    Even the battery is factory..

    Of course I did replace the timing belt at 91K mi. as part of the maintenance and I replaced the brake pads at 75k mi. (no cylinder, just pads)
    Oil is replaced every 3500 mi. Radiator was flushed once at 55K mi. - ALL regular maintenance stuff - cheap..

    All my friends have had similar experiences with their '92-'99 Civics as I have (so far).
    I drive my Civic very hard and very fast. I average 80mph all the time going to work and back home and I often hit a 100mph for a few seconds (I then remember that I 'm not in my Integra GSR and I slow down). The engine sounds and feels like when I first bought the car and after I tuned up around 83K mi. it's even faster now!
    Sounds like you just had bad luck with your Civic but it wasn't too bad. I 've seen a lot worse with VWs. My friend got rid of his '89 Jetta when it had 80K mi. He replaced almost everything in the car except for the motor!! He had to replace the water pump at least twice! Starter, oil pump, voltage regulators, alternators, radiator, you name it! I 'm sure the VWs are better now but I just got a phobia and stay away from them after seeing what my friend went through. I wouldn't blame you either if you didn't buy another Honda but if you had a VW it might 've been worse. You definitely didn't have "your average" Honda but again I don't think your problems were that great either IMO.
  • nasaboynasaboy Posts: 2
    Structural rust causing the car to fall apart is not trivial. Working at a large facility, I see lots of parked cars. Hondas have the worst rust of any Japanese brand. My favorite is that stupid strip they still put on the inside of Civic rear fenders and used to put on Accords. Is it because the paint can't handle junk from the road being tossed up there? In any event, that rubber traps water and causes rust at either end of the strip. Without exception. I have yet to see European stuff of any ilk that rusts like a Honda.

    Back to the rest, being towed is not trivial. As far as the other stuff goes, my point is that Hondas are NOT bulletproof. My brother has spent more to maintain his Accord than his Blazer. On the subject of that Accord (63 K), its an '87. I have driven it up windy canyon roads in Utah and though it was a great handling vehicle, better than my Civic. I test drove an Accord EX a couple of weeks ago and thought it handled much worse than my Civic. I think Honda engineers have some work to do.
  • mnnmnn Posts: 31
    Today I test-drove the 1.8T 5-speed, and boy, I am in love - big time!!! But there is one problem, the dealer stands so firm on the MSRP and would not knock off a cent! It is a supply and demand problem, here in Canada, there are only a couple around (in Toronto, at least) and the average waiting time is about 2-3 months. Does anyone know what the invoice price for the 1.8T?? I don't seem to be able to find it anywhere (including this site). Plus, one dealer offer me a Jetta 1.8T at a Golf 1.8T price, is that a good deal?

    My test car comes with sun-roof and alloy wheels and heated seats, and the going price is CDN$30050 on the road with a CD thrown in. I think it is absurd. Any opinion on what the fair price for the car should be?? Do I have more bargaining power if I am willing to wait longer?

    One more thing, the dealer told me that any Golf 1.8T that is now in stock is German made,and anything after mid-May would be made in Brazil; is there any truth in that statement??? Does it REALLY matter as in where the car is made (quality-wise)?

    My heart is still pounding after the drive, and I feel intoxicated, unable to think straight, please help!!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,753
    Your experience is pretty typical and that's why I like (and sell) Hondas. Are they "bulletproof"?

    Of course not! They are pretty predictable however.

    Since I live in Seattle where it rains constantly but seldom snows and the roads aren't salted, I can't respond to the rust issue.

    I have seen older Hondas with some rust but no more than other cars.

    Nasaboy...whatever you drive, you will need to open your wallet once in awhile! :)
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    I know how you feel. I felt the same the first time I drove an Integra Type-R (195hp) and the first time I redlined my GSR (8100 RPM).
    Unfortunately if there are not that many Golf 1.8Ts around the dealers can charge whatever they want.
    I 'm pretty sure I saw the Jetta 1.8T pricing here at Edmund's and the sticker was around $19,800 US (invoice about $2K less) which is around $26-27K Canadian. The Golf 1.8T should be less or the same as Jetta at the most. So the $30K Can. is way too much. Integra Type-Rs go for $32.5K over there!
    Looks like your dealer added $3-4K on top of sticker. The car is not worth that much. You should wait and get a better price.
  • ultraultra Posts: 9
    If anyone lives in the Denver area and are looking to buy any sort of Honda, stay away from Planet Honda. My story: My wife and I test drove a CRV from Planet Honda. This was the first time we drove one. We made it very clear to the salesperson that we were not interested in buying that day, but were looking to do something in about 3 weeks. Everything went fine until we were almost back to the dealership. The salesperson asked us why we wouldn't buy that day. We said we were waiting for our tax refund so that we could put down a larger downpayment. He said we should lease instead of purchase. I informed him that we keep our vehicles more than a few years. This pressure from him kept up even after we returned to the dealership. He even asked us after we told him "no" several times if he should get the CRV all cleaned up for us to take delivery that day! We just walked away. That night we emailed the dealership our experience with this salesperson b/c we had talked to someone different several months before and had a totally opposite experience. The dealer's response was to have the internet salespeople contact us, who never addressed the problem we encountered, but were very eager to sell us a vehicle. We were contacted 3 different times by the internet salespeople.

    There are several other dealers in the Denver area who do not use high pressure sales tactics. We purchased our CRV from Fisher Honda in Boulder. Ask for Suzi Smith or Craig Sweeney.
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    I live in New York but have seen many other people say bad things about Planet Honda in Denver. Some had the same experience as you too..
  • ultraultra Posts: 9
    Thanks for the feedback. If anyone is interested, you can email Planet Honda. This will make them realize they can't make people mad who have access to a computer. They are located at:
  • superbensuperben Posts: 3
    i am in the market for either a civic hb or a golf. i have done some homework on the specs but would like to hear some opinions on which is better. i see more hondas on the road but the vw offers lots more standard options. which do you prefer and why. i currently own a toyota p/u and am pleased with it but would like a more economical car and a little newer.
  • offhamoffham Posts: 344
    Just reading this site for first time as thinking of a Civic Hatchback as a commuter car.

    We have a Planet Honda in NJ, and when looking for the Ody wanted high markup over sticker and a long wait. Even over the phone these guys really push, so have to conclude a high commission based operation. We never got the Ody as mark up over sticker and long wait.
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    The Golf is probably a little "better" car in the sense that you get a safer car that comes with ABS, has a weight advantage over the Civic (weighs 400+lbs more thus a little safer), has a better stereo and more standard options.
    On the other hand you get what you pay for. The Golf is at least $3K more than the Civic HB and being heavier, it doesn't get as good gas mileage as the Civic. I average 35mpg on the highway with 96K miles on my '97 Civic 5-sp (going 75mph)
    The Golf is also slower than a Civic because its 9HP advantage (and more torque) does not make up for the 400+lb difference but that may not be important to a lot of people.
    I think that a Golf GLS with the Luxury package (sunroof and 15" alloy wheels) or a GTI GLS (both still with a measly 115hp) is in Acura Integra price territory and if it came down to an Integra LS (5-sp) or a Golf, the Integra is clearly the winner (which you can now get for about $17K - less than a GLS, due to factory-dealer incentives)
  • tenbonestenbones Posts: 4
    I don't own a civic hb, but my sister does. it's a '96 hb. No troubles to report about. While it may not have the horsepower of other vehicles it has enough power and space for the average college student.

    She's driven it around los angeles and has had enough power to merge and quick moves that may be necessary..

    Just got back from europe...and boy do they love their hatchbacks. They've got to ,since gas costs so much and they charge by the liter...ouch
  • jsbxjsbx Posts: 18
    Ok, then ZX3 vs. civic hatch...

    I am a first time car buyer and collecting info. I know I should go with the old "proven" civic even tho it's more expensive and costs more to insure, resale value is proven. But having driven one...all I can say is, it was a bit dull. Plus, I am short, so I have to scoot the seat way up. I felt like I was pressed against the windsheild. Plus, god forbid the airbag head would snap off I sit so close to the wheel.

    the focus was fun. sure, I am sucked in by the new design, I won't lie...but I enjoyed to the ride, felt comfortable and I wasnt even squished with the seat all the way up.

    I am a first time new car buyer...I have a 125 mile a day roundtrip commute, so I have to have something reliable, but all that time is more depressing in something I am just "ok" with.

    I just dont know....

    any thoughts?
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Friends, if you'd like to compare the Focus ZX3 and the Honda Civic hatchback, please start a new topic so we can keep our topics straight. I'm interested in the comparison and look forward to seeing what folks think. Thanks!

  • jsbxjsbx Posts: 18
    How do you start a new topic?
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    To start a new topic, go to the main conference page. You can do that by using the Return to Topic List button (just above and to the right of this reply box) or the Topic List button at the top of the topic page.

    So, when you are on the Hatchbacks conference page, look to the left of the bold word "Hatchbacks." You will see two buttons. If you select Create Topic, you will get a dialogue box similar to this one. It will allow you to name the new topic. Choose well, as topic names cannot be changed by anyone, even hosts.

    After you've chosen the topic title and written the first post in the box, I recommend Spellcheck. Make any necessary corrections and then click Post. And you've done it! You've created a new topic.

    If you have more questions, please feel free to ask. I'm looking forward to your new topic!

  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    I will 100K mi. today on my way home on my '97 Civic and knock on wood I 've had no problems with the car.
    For fun you can throw out those boring tires and steel rims and put some 14x6" or 15x7" alloy wheels (must be light - 15lbs or less) with some 195-60 or 205-50 all season high performance tires and you 're set. I like my car a lot more now. It handles much better and is much more stable on the highway and at high speeds.
    BUT, you should always go with the car you like and feel good sitting in. The Civic is my basic transportation since I have a 160mi daily commute and my sports car is for fun on the weekends.
  • 181kmiles181kmiles Posts: 29
    im sorry this is so late but im just reading this post for the first time.

    i have a question about planet honda in denver.

    how is there service dpeartment rated. please tell me if you know.

    im going to college out in denver next year and i was planning on getting a job there. i heard only good things about there service depanrtment but then again when you call the dealership you dont hear bad things. ill be attending an automotive college in denevr and i need a job. i drive a honda, i love hondas, in my opinion there is no better car then a honda. so it would be a good place for me to work ( not planet honda nessesarily but any honda dealership) so if you can get me some info about that dealerships service department and let me know via email

    i would really appriciate any help you can give me because the consumer is the best source of information. also if you could give me some advice on which honda dealerships service department is the best in the denver area.

    thanx a million
  • 181kmiles181kmiles Posts: 29
    sorry for going off the subject i just needed to know about the dealerships reputations because my future depends on it

    thanx for being understanding

    181k miles
  • Civic Si vw. Golf 1.8 Turbo

    There is a magazine review (I have it at home) comparing these machines.
    The Honda has 200 horses (versus 150 for the VW).
    The Honda is a couple hundred pounds lighter.
    So the Honda is quicker, right? WRONG.
    The VW beats it in 0-60 times over and over.
    Why? German horse-power vs. Japanese HP!!!
    Japanese HP is almost a "theoretical" figure because you can't use it. Its always at MAX RPM and exists for a micro-second before you shift.
    German cars have torque at useable RPM. You are in the power band ALL THE TIME, not hitting 200 HP for a micro-second.

    For $1000- you can replace the entire exhaust on a Honda and get another 10% power ... 15% if you're lucky.
    For $500- you can bump a VW turbo to 200 H.P. and BLOW AWAY ANY STOCK JAPANESE CAR FOR SALE UNDER $50,000- (many companies make "chip upgrades" for this). This is the same engine that puts out 225 HP in the Audi TT (with a bigger turbo on it) and is used in Audi A4 rally cars putting out over 350 HP reliably! (see for VW/Audi turbo race cars) It is one of the toughest engines in production.
    But even stock, its monstrous torque from less than 2000 RPM means it will launch from a stop-light while a Japanese car is either:
    1. puttering up towards its power-band
    2. smoking one tire while the other slowly accelerates the car.

    Even my diesel Beetle embarasses Honda and Toyota V6s off the stop lights and its only rated at 90 HP! (but by the other side of the intersection, while I'm shifting to 2nd they're just hitting their power-band in 1st and would rocket past ... if the traffic wasn't sitting still up ahead ... this is Seattle after all!)
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    181kmiles, in addition to the responses you get here, please be sure to check out the Smart Shopper conference. I believe they have a topic on best dealers that could be helpful to you.

  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    There is no Civic stock with 200hp.
    Motortrend just test drove the Jetta 1.8L (turbo) with 150hp and put it up against the Nissan Sentra. The VW did 0-60 in 7.8s and the Civic Si with 160hp (it's the fastest Civic there is in the US) does it in 7.2sec.
    Tell us which magazine you saw this in, what month and the page# please.
  • qwordqword Posts: 20
    I've seen two different specs on the 1.8t Golf. SportCompact which was 8.2, and European Car which was the lowest at 7.3. In European Car they compared a 1.8t Beetle to an Si a few months back. They were able to launch the Beetle to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. While getting the Si to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. The Golf was supposed to be faster than the beetle because of aerodynamics and weight. I could be wrong but I do believe that the little Golf has always been just a tad faster than the Jetta.
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    However, simply looking at the numbers doesn't tell you much about a car's real potential. No one will argue that the Si is a powerful, performing little fun car. But in order to accelerate properly, like only1harry points to, you have to rev up the Honda engine a lot, to the point that it's the clutch which 'gradually' transfers the power to the wheels (not very elegant, makes a lot of noise, and wears out both tires and clutch in a fast time). It's exactly the same if you compare a Ferrari and a Porsche. Both are great (and fast) cars, but if your aim is to scratch other cars at green lights, go for the Porsche. I am not saying that car is better, it just has a lot more torque than the latin competitor. Interestingly, in Europe, high revving cars are associated with Southern Europe and 'torquey' engines with Northern Europe. Having spent much time in both regions, I am still undecided, and would love to see both a Ferrari AND a Porsche in my garage!
    Formula One cars, I believe have a 1.5 liter engine from which they churn out 600-800 bhp. Weighing in at about 1000lbs, they will do the 0-60'' in about 2.5 seconds I believe, although their torque is absolutely miserable (these cars rev up to 16,000 rpm)
  • snakrichsnakrich Posts: 10
    alfaromeo, for the good and enjoyable information!
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    You're welcome! My technical knowledge is not as thorough as that of many who participate in this column.
    By reading some posts (and not only in this column) I get the impression that people get all worked up in trying to define the better car.
    To me, that's nonsense.
    Setting 'everything' aside, choosing between Honda or Wolksvagen is a question of what sort of driver you are. One is high revving, the other is 'germanic', i.e. low torque.
    Assuming you drive a stick shift, this means that a Honda will require you to 'pull' through the gears, and to some that contributes to driving pleasure (more 'sporty'). You also need to down shift a lot more. Again, some like that style.
    VW, on the other hand appeals mostly to people who like a 'no-nonsense' ride, with power and torque in the low range.
    Better? More fun? There is no absolute answer to those questions.
    Again, to make a proper analogy, Honda's roadster (I can't remember the name) is very powerful, yet produces very little torque. That is why it addresses another buyer than the guy who would buy a Mercedes roadster with the same power.
    Blondes? Brunettes?
    American food? French?
    Italian or English?
    Need we say more?
  • qwordqword Posts: 20
    I completely understand where your coming from alfaromeo; however in my opinion the specs produced by the magazines can be pretty helpful in giving a person some type of an idea on the performance capability of a particular car. Take for instance any sport bike (which cost a heck of a whole lot less than any Formula One race car) which can be propelled from 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. Now I know for a fact that the best I can do 0-60 mph on a bike is about 4-5 seconds; however it gives me one heck of an ego boost to know that my bike is capable of reaching 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. I know that I don't have a way with words like most people, but hopefully you can see my point.
    Only1harry, this months issue of Sport Compact has a VW Golf 1.8t vs Honda Si article which is pretty interesting I think.
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    I 'll try and get hold of one. Until I do can you summarize the tests a little? I 'm sure they liked the VW better. I would too because of the torque. I 'd take a 1.8L over a 1.6 which is why I chose the Integra GSR after looking at the SI.
    I 'm really glad there is a mid-level VW now. The gap was too big before between the 115 & 170 V6 motors.
  • liwenliwen Posts: 3
    I'm interested in the Golf GLS and the Civic EX. I'm leaning towards the Golf after I test drove it (it was a lot of fun to drive!), but I still have some questions:

    1)Is the Golf GLS is a good investment?
    2) How reliable is it? I plan to keep it for awhile
    3) Any great deals? Great warranties?

  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    My '97 Civic just hit 100K mi. The car has been back to the dealer once for a warranty repair (stupid speed sensor). That 's it!
    Most of my friend's that have owned a VW have spent a lot more time at the dealer before and after the warranty is over. This is my reason from staying away from VWs. I 've also seen a few new ones on flat bed tow trucks with the temporary registration and plates on them! But I 'm sure there are some good ones out there. I don't think all of them are like that. I think the new Golfs are built a little better than the Civic as far as the chassis, stability, stuff like that (hek they 're 400-500lbs heavier, they ought to be) but a Civic will always blow away a regular 115hp Golf or Jetta due to its power to weight ratio. The '01 Civics will be a lot more comparable to the Golfs and other cars with more standard options, better handling and even more power but with the same or better gas mileage! If you can wait, fine. If not, you can't go wrong with an EX and you 'll have amazing resale value and reliability. My friend's '95 EX just hit 130K mi. and he 's never had a problem (has kept up with the maintenance of course, you have to) and a guy at work has almost 240K mi. on it but he just recently paid for a new head gasket which is normal at such high mileage (normal for a Civic, most cars blow a head gasket much earlier). The Golf will be more fun to drive, a little safer probably due to ABS, better stereo, etc. Good luck.
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