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VW Golf vs Honda Civic



  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    cmoss1, I'm not sure what you mean when you say, "a typical VW premium is also higher to compensate for the higher cost of replacement." Could you explain what you mean by "premium?"


  • I have a Civic Hatch and my mom has a Golf 4dr. I'm very happy with both cars, but here are some differences that I've noticed that you might want to keep in mind:

    WIth the civic, you essentially roll out of the car to get out of it. With the Golf, you're seated higher. Plus, the civic's seats are much more comfortable than the golf -- the seats in that car are very stiff

    they handle much differently, and are tough to
    compare in that respect. though i love my honda, i'm becoming increasingly partial to the german engineering.
  • I am in the market for a '99 Golf (Wolfsburg
    Edition). Any suggestions on good VW Dealers in
    DC/No.VA/MD Metro Area?

    I am also thinking of trading in 14" 5 spoke
    alloys that come standard with 15" alloys (from the GTI VR6) and getting the aluminium "golf" shift knob. What will be a good choice of tires on my Golf with 15" wheels? Can I trade-in the standard wheels/tires to get the mentioned ones at any of the dealers?

    Your comments/suggestions/advice is highly
    solicited, after all you all seem to be a happy lot with the Golfs.
  • Hello all. In january, I sold my '88 Accord and got myself a '98 Civic HX in NY. I know this is a hatchback conference, but hear me out. My parents recently moved to Mexico; my father and I went and bought a Golf Mi for my mother laast week. The Mi is the cheapest model you can buy here, but it has some of the features of both the GL and Wolfsburg in the US. Driving it after having my Civic for 8 months, I can say that the Civic is a better ride.

    The one thing I noticed about the Golf is the visibility in the rear. The thick pillars in the back make it hard to see oncoming traffic on the passenger's side. The Civic's clutch feels alot better also. It's an easier car to drive. Don't get me wrong, the Civic sporty as hell (trust me, I raced SCCA with it!). Im not going to make a comparisin between motors because here in Mexico, the Golf Mi has a 1.8L 90hp engine. It doesn't have the intake manifolds over the top of the engine like the ones in the US. I don't know where this engine came from.

    I like the way the Golf rides, but the Honda seems to have more character. They're both tight and responsive. The construction quality is about the same.

    One last note: The Golf cost us $10,000 here! It doesn't have airbags though. But still, that's a huge price difference from the US. What happened to the NAFTA free trade agreement? I thought products from Mexico were not supposed to be taxed.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Interesting information, Brazilian. I'm not sure I could tell you all the differences. The airbags and alarm system come to mind and perhaps others can add to the list. I don't think the difference could be just taxes. Perhaps the difference is in the markets. Maybe Americans just expect to pay more? That's a scary thought!

    Lurkers, please tell us what you think!

  • FYI it does come with an alarm. I checked the VW Mexico homepage and the GTI VR6 here costs $20,000. It's the same price in the according to VW USA. I guess the price difference is in the engine. The 90hp is probably not enough for american car drivers. It's a pity they don't sell this model in the US, it's peppy enough for the mountainous roads here in Mexico. It would be a hit for VW in the US, a new Golf for $10-11k!

    Just out of curiosity, anybody know why Honda doesn't sell the Civic VTi hatchback in the US? It is sold in Brazil and is a great car. If Honda USA sold it, I would have bought it instead of my Civic HX Coupe.
  • cmoss1cmoss1 Posts: 2
    Hi Carlady:
    I meant to include "insurance" in front of "premium". My experience has been that VWs are typically more expensive to insure, largely attributable to higher replacement part costs.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Brazilian, it occurs to me that the emissions package required for sale in the States might make the car more expensive. I say this in total ignorance :-) however, because I don't know what the emission standards may be in other countries.

    cmoss1, I'm inclined to think it is the model of the car, rather than the make of the car that makes a difference. For instance, it was more expensive to insure my husband's Honda CRX than it was to insure my VW Golf because the CRX is a two door which equals sports car in the minds of most insurance folks. It's a mystery to me how these premiums are developed. Perhaps they just pull a rabbit out of a hat? :-)

  • Carlady-

    I assume your talking about the Civic. I was interested whether anobody knew about it because from what I've heard, the VTi is a hatchback with the 127hp VTEC engine from the EX models and some more "comforts" inside(compared to the DX here), such as a tach. I guess you could call it Honda's GTI.
  • Turns out the VTi is available w/ either a 1.4 150hp or 1.6 170hp engine. Pretty impressive! If Honda can sell the Integra Type R here, why the hell don't they bring the Civic VTi?!?
  • Looks like someone at Honda was listening to me! :)

    Honda USA has brought back the Civic Si for the 1999 model year. It comes with a 160hp 1.6 DOHC VTEC engine. Other goodies include 15" rims and a really cool looking blue color. No MSRP yet, but it looks like the GTI has finally got some competition from Honda!!
  • rdamonrdamon Posts: 8
    Ok, please bear with me if these models are slightlyoff-topic.

    My mom has a Passat TDI (turbo-diesel) 1996. She gets real-life 55mpg (on Vee-dub's largest, heaviest model). Pretty cool.

    I own a '98 saturn SC2 5-speed with everything on it.

    I am thinking of trading in because I am convinced from what I've heard that only Honda (and I want a DX hatchback because I'm going to college after four years of waiting after high school...thank the Lord.) can match the quality I've gotten from my Saturn. I do not worship at the temple of GM, but my car has had *zero* problems, and I have been treated like absolute gold at each of the several Saturn dealerships I have gone to for routine service (kansas city, delaware, colorado springs, 2 in florida, 2 in tennessee).

    I really like drving my mom's But, hinestly, my gosh, that golf (I was just this close to getting a GTI-VR6 instead, but the dealer was being a real jerk...the same guy who sold mom hers, so I don't get it) is really heavy, and VERY solidly put together, okay (the doors "chunk" instead of "Clang" like the Hondas and my old Isuzu) but man, I could really feel the weight that thing was throwing around the highway. Not so the Civic Hatch I test drove two days ago. Responsive, yes, but light as a feather. though, oddly, a bit more prone to bit more prone to understeer than my Saturn. anyway. persoanl pferernce would make me go to the Honda. If the Golf GL is a laser-guided missile, the Civic DX hatch is a "fire-and-forget" self-guided rocket.

    thanks for your time,

  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Thanks Damon for a great comparison. It shows how the marketplace works - something for everyone. I like a "chunk" instead of a "clang" so there's a car for both of us! :-)

  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    Sadly, Honda has no Si model to tempt you. [:-( Carlady has her Golf and I have my Honda CRX. Talk about precision bombing...

    It will be time to get some new wheels in a few years and I honestly don't know of any car that can compare to my little Honda. Unless they DO bring out the Si coupe...

    Anyways, I'm pretty sure the Civic Hatch does not come in an EX model. Try the coupe in an EX; it's not that much sportier, but you do get more power.

    Don't worry too much about the understeer, you can partially fix that with wider tires. All FWD cars understeer at the limit. Actually I enjoy cars that don't have TOO much grip. It's a lot more fun living on the edge of the traction circle if you don't have to go 100 mph to get there.

  • Hey, Bruce.

    thanks, Man. You menioned wider tires. I found a site called The Wheel Rack, or some such. I got me learned up real good on the idea of "plus sizing." Now, I'm no "enthusiast" or modification fiend...I've never even changed my own oil....but this intrigues me. I was thinking that the two major mods I'd like to make...maybe down the road, are wider tires (maybe on bigger wheels?) and a performance exaust. This last so that I can increase milage, and maybe recover a few extra horses in case I get into a tricky traffic sitch. But heck, maybe for that kind of money, I should just get an LX or EX Civic sedan.

    Now, what is this Si model you mentioned? And will Honda re-introduce it?

  • Hey Carlady,

    Thanks for the input, I didn't buy a honda or a Volkswagen. I was on my way to the Honda dealer to buy a Honda, stopped at a Suzuki dealer to look at Esteems. I was not impressed. However.... they had several 98 Sidekicks at a big savings. So I bought a 98 Sidekick Sport JX, 5 speed, ac, power windows door locks, 4 door, am fm cassette,keyless entry, for $14000!!!!!!
    The sticker was $18348. the invoice was $16288.
    I was able to purchase for $2288 below invoice!

    WOO HOO !!!!!!!!!!!1
    Thanks for the input


    ps does anyone have a good source for auto accessories ie floor mats, bug deflectors etc?
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I'm pleased you got a good deal on a car you like! That's the best we can hope for! Congratulations.

  • Just to add my two cents. I too am in the market for a new commuter car and have narrowed it down to the VW Golf and the Civic Hx. I put about 35K a year on my vehicles and need the reliability and the fuel economy. I have owned a '93' Civic Si and in 4 1/2 years I put 150K miles on it. I only had to replace the clutch. The brakes are another story, let me just say that Honda has to do some work on there rotors and brakes.

    Back to the issue at hand, I don't have any bad feeling about Honda and to tell you the truth I am leaning towads the Hx because it has the best fuel economy ( about 43mpg hw) and the better price. As far as drive goes, I haven't driven the VW yet but from what I have read above, it sounds like a fun car with great handling. I like the 10yr/100000 mi. powertrain warranty that VW is offering with there '99' vehicles, it is giving me the impression that they've come a long way with the reliability of there vehicles. I can get the extended warranty on the Honda and feel comfortable with the fact that I know from experience the car is reliable. To those VW lovers out there you tell a great story and it has made my decision harder, thanks. For those Honda owners I agree with almost everything said about reliability, but as an engineer I am compelled to say that any machine with moving parts can suffer any breakdown at any given time.

    I would like to get some information on repair history for both cars based on the number of vehicle in the field going 3 or 4 years back, does anyone know if this info is accessible?

    Overall it sounds like whatever way you go between these two cars you can't make a bad decision. I drive an F150 as well and I would commute in that if Ford could only find a way to get 35mpg+ out of the 4.6 litre V8 Triton. Well I can dream can't I...

    These conferences are great I used alot of the info from the pickup conference back when I bought my truck. This is invaluable feedback that most consumers don't get.

  • diciedicie Posts: 9
    Hi all,

    Well, I am exhausted. I have done all this research on Golfs and Civic Hatchbacks and I can't come to a decision. Maybe the test drive will sway me. I'm a sucker for good design and quality (as I am an industrial designer) but I desperately want a car that doesn't require constant repairs (I have a 91 Saab 900 that prefers to live at the shop). I don't want to fall a sucker for vanity again. I want something that works... and I hear that VWs are getting more reliable.

    One thing is... I cannot find the dealer invoice on the new 99 Golf. Every web site has the old 98 Golf info and the prices have changed a bit since A/C, cassette, side airbags are all standard. The MSRP on says $14900. Does anyone know the base invoice price? It is making dealing with the dealers difficult. One (via a web-dealing service) has sworn he will sell it at $50 above invoice... which HE says invoice is $13963. Doesn't it seem unlikely that the difference is less than a thousand dollars?

    And then there is a "Port Prep" fee at $25 (which sounds like bull**** dealer prep fees,which I have read that you should not be suckered into paying) and a $62 "customer choice concept fee". Has anyone ever heard of such a ridiculous sounding fee?

    Regarding Honda Civic Hatchbacks... I spoke to a dealer and was told that the dealer-installed A/C would be $1300! There's no way to check what the invoice is on this because it isn't listed like factory-installed options on other makes/models.

    any input (especially the invoice price $$$) would be much appreciated.

  • Hummm... Let me help VW a bit:
    I have a 35K miles 97 Gti (4 banger) A3 = 0 problems.
    Commute 5 days a week and at least 1 long travel (1k+ miles) every other month or so.
    IMHO A3’s have more personality than the current Civic: a German built in Mexico will always have more personality than Japanese made in the USA - if you know what I mean.
    This section is dedicated to those who pet or talk to their cars :>
    1) Studies have shown that small VW's will talk back to you. The larger ones will too - but it takes some time and a well-trained VW ear to understand what they say.
    2) You will be VERY sad when it's time to sell (or recycle) your VW. You won't really notice you traded-in your Honda for a new one after a few days have gone by.
    3) Sometimes you will wonder where your old VW might be - and how it is doing. Remember: you will have forgotten your Honda after a few days have gone by.
    3) Hondas just go [happily] to their new owner and forget about you. VW's might carry over some idiosyncrasies just to remind the new dude/dudette that he/she are not their first one.
    4) People will notice you are driving a VW. They won't notice you in a Honda unless you do something really stupid. This could be either good or bad - it depends on your profile.
    5) Hondas do not thrive in neglect as some ancient folklore says. Nor Toyotas do. VW’s definitely don’t - but if you feel like neglecting stuff just buy some Port wine. It’s cheaper.
    Back to the real world:
    If the Civics sold here in the US were the " hot" VTi sold everywhere else outside Fantasy Island I would have considered it strongly. I like Honda for they build very very very good stuff. Trust me - I have an 82 CB750F that runs strong - even though it belongs in a museum by 90's motorcycle standards - and learned to ride in two very sweet Hondas a '69 CB 50 and a CT 70. Oops – now I’m helping Honda. Better stop here.

    If you buy a 4 banger VW expect:
    1) Reasonable midrange and better ‘traffic torque’ then you will get with a 4-valve samurai screamer.
    2) VW's shift linkage reeeally shows you why it's called a linkage after all. I actually found that it works as it should if the temperature is well below freezing and the oil & joints in the transmission and linkage have turned into some sort of pasty grease :) Unfortunately after it heats it will go back to "high-mileage-broken-video-arcade joystick" mode. Enjoy it. It’s all part of that character.
    3) You will [sometimes] wish you had those extra 8 valves you had given up in order to make statement # 1 true. When you are pushing 85mph uphill at 8.000 feet and a samurai screamer appears in your rear view mirror either trade in for a VR6 and don't complain about $ or pull over to the right. Downshifting will only make you feel worse.
    4) The suspension is funky. It’s part of the character that many appreciate in their VW experience but do not know where it comes from. It follows the Teutonic concept of soft springs over hard dampers. Old design, cheap to build, sturdy …proven. It works for me and I have fun lifting the inside rear wheel in tight corners. It somehow compensates for those missing 8 valves, low-pressure turbo and AWD I gave up unintentionally. I’m getting off again. If you are into sophisticated unequal length arms and this kind of stuff go somewhere else. I’ve heard NSX’s, 969’s and Vettes are good at this.
    5) There is ALWAYS an after-market cure for most of the syndromes described above. I thought I would NEVER even consider such things but….

    The only 3 things I've done so far was replacing the headlights for Hella's e-code H-1 projector (low) and normal reflector H3 (high) Golf kit. I enjoy driving at night and original DOT pattern sucks when you are on the boondocks . It seems that the A4 is better in this department, specially the Gti/VR6 combo.
    A Neuspeed chip made things a little livelier in midrange - even though the guys in the samurai screamers everywhere have me [sometimes] convinced it’s just placebo effect.
    Original shoes are cheap stuff. Get some real rubber. I kept the original not-so-inspiring 14" wheels and just replaced the rubber with nicer stuff. Would have gone the extra size or two.. but then I would really need more beans to [mechanically] justify the investment. And I’m too old to compete for looks anyway.
    Last but not least: for those really scared about VW horror stories out there: I've had VW's in Brazil, made in Brazil, and can say that the stuff I get here is well put together. I will go for an A4 VR6 as soon as my brain’s left side convinces my right side. Or is it the other way around?

    PS: sorry ‘bout the lousy English. It’s not my main language.
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