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VW Golf vs Honda Civic

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Comments

  • wj27wj27 Posts: 6
    Hi:

    I am a potential first time VW Golf owner. I am
    a bit concerned on the reliability of VW's in general (and especially the Golf).

    My reason for this is the fact that VW only offers a 24 month/24,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty while Honda and Toyota offer an extra year of coverage. Why is this?

    Also, are parts and repairs more expensive on VW Golfs vs. Toyota (Corolla) adn Honda (Civics)?

    I also welcome any comments from VW Golf GL owners (1996-00 model years). Are you happy w/ your purchase? Have you had any problems?

    I really would like to get the Golf GL. Compared to the conservative corolla and commonplace civic, it is the only car I get "excited" about. But the above issues make me wonder if I should go for the excitement (and driving fun) of a GL or stick w/ the boring corolla and/or civic.

    Please help!
  • wj27wj27 Posts: 6
    I forgot to mention--I am interested in the 2000
    VW Golf GL.

    Thanks!
  • If you're concerned about reliability, buy a product with a proven track record - in other words, get a Honda. If it's not "stylish" enough, get some aftermarket wheels and tires and you're set!
  • After reading a number of comments, I feel I must tell my story.

    I drive 30K miles a year for work. I bought my first new car, a 1998 VW Golf GL, in black. I loved it. I pined for one for years before I bought it. I read Consumer Reports, Edmond's, etc. I wanted a VW!!

    Nine months later I traded it in for a '99 Honda Civic DX. Yes, I may have took a bit of a beating - Hondas can be pricey - but I had no choice. I felt I needed reliable transportation and the VW was turning out to be pricey. Here are some problems I had with it. Keep in mind though, after all of this - I miss my VW. My Honda is boring. I'm so torn!

    My VW had switches falling off in my hand; and believe me, I babied that car. The check engine light kept going on and the dealer said this would happen every 15 to 30k miles due to the humidity. They replaced the distributor, the rotor, and the starter!!! OUCH! Had it not been under warranty it would have cost me a bundle. The dealership was VERY nice though I have to say (Concours Motors - I recommend them highly) and the repairs were quick and the parts were in stock. The check engine light kept coming on, though, and it was scaring me. After owning three Hondas which NEVER had a problem, I was concerned.

    So now I have a Honda. My Civic has NOT been without problems though people!!!!!!! Squeaky belts which were fixed after three trips to the dealership, bad fit 'n finish in the interior, stripped bolt on a hardware piece on the door which rattled something awful. Also, I have a friend that had major weather stripping problems with his Civic.

    What's the answer here? Do I miss my Golf? Hell yes - in retrospec, I should not have traded it in on what I consider to be a boring car. My decision was irrational, I think. The Golf was MUCH more fun to drive and had more features for the money. Although the fuel milage on the Civic is better, keep in mind you also have a smaller tank so you're fueling up just as often.

    The grass is always greener on the other side. I believe that my VW Golf would have served me well had I kept it; but that's easy to say now that my Honda, at 30,000 miles, has been very reliable (lately?!). But VW's are more than "point A to point B". They're a love affair. One which I miss a great deal. My Honda will be traded in for a new Golf or Beetle in three years.

    Last words (finally) - life is too short not to go with something if you REALLY love it. If that's the case and you have your eye on a VW, then who cares if you have to fix it once in a while. I wish I still had mine!
  • jtaimjtaim Posts: 34
    I have a '90 civic DX with manual. It now has 109K miles on it an going strong. Has a few rattles here and there, and the clutch is still working. Of course, I baby it with synthetic oil changes and a top-quality filter every 6 months. If you get one, make sure you get the paperwork showing the timing belt was already changed, required at 90K miles, I believe. And, of course, a compression test on all the cylinders to make sure it's in good condition.
  • ray67ray67 Posts: 1
    I have an '89 CRX Si with 140,000 miles and although it's beginning to show it's age, it still serves well as a daily driver. No major problems over the past ten years + but right now the starter won't engage and the battery's good. I don't know whether i should fix-it-up or trade it for something else
  • I keep posting the same thing whenever the topic of VW reliability comes up... so here i go again...

    VW are great cars, if you want something fun to drive and a little more stylish. Their problem is their service. If you get one without any problems, then you are set and the car will be great. If you have a problem, the dealerships will be very unhelpful in diagnosing and fixing it.

    My girlfriend has had some problems with her '98 Golf (actually one reoccuring problem), but I drive it every chance I get. I can't even tell you why I like to drive it so much, but i can't get enough of it!
  • jimjetjimjet Posts: 27
    As has been posted, the Civic CX Hatchback with 5 speed does not have power steering. This can be a bug-a-boo at times even for men. It was the one complaint my wife had about our '96 model. I found a cure - purely by accident. The '96 came with 13 inch wheels and was a weekness in the car's appearance. So, I ordered a set of 14 inch mag wheels with Dunlop D60A2 60 series tires from Discount Tire (found in car mags and internet). I thought that the steering / turning would be even more strenuous at very slow speeds because the contact patch with the road is greater. I was way wrong. The steering is now much lighter. My wife couldn't believe it. It must be a combination of higher pressure in the tires (mine are "normal", about 30-32 lb psi), and/or the tire's tread pattern and thickness. I'm definitely staying with the D60A2's when the current set retires. Theses tires are easily of better grade than than the OEM's at a reasonable price.
  • I really wanted to buy a Golf but also like a Honda Civic DX. Which one will be bettter? I mean does Golf have more problem than a civic or the other way around.
  • I am posting this everywhere were someone may see it and care.

    '98 GOLF RADIOS (and maybe Jetta) HAVE A KNOWN PROBLEM WITH THE AM RADIO AND THE TAPE PLAYER.
    there is a huge backorder on replacements

    My girlfriend's tape player just stopped working recently (she puts in a tape it says side A, then it switches to side B and then it says TAPE ERROR and pops the tape out). I took her car to VW to check this out and they said they have to change the radio and it might take a while because they have them on backorder. I asked if I could have the info on the radio to see if someone else has one in stock and he gave it to me. After checking with 3 or 4 dealers, one of them finally told me this is a known problem and there is a backorder for the entire US that may take weeks. I called VW service and they could offer no help or estimate as to how long it will take. Also, the dealerships don't seem to be very open about this problem.
  • I have a 98 civic DX with manual trans. I considered the Golf, but thought that the Civic would

    1. last longer
    2. have fewer major maintenance problems as it ages

    and the civic's dashboard is much lower, giving a better view out the window.

    the GTI would be nice, but too expensive.

    However, that was the old Golf, the new one may be better than the Civic.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    The 4th generation VW Golf is a real departure from the A3. If you drove an A4, I think you would have a different feel to it. I'm not saying you would have bought a Golf, just that it would be a very different ride from your previous test drive.

    The Golf and Civic seem to attract different types of drivers. And since there are so many different drivers, it's nice to know we have a choice.

    carlady/host
  • I just drove both back to back yesterday. THe Civic was a DX so it had nothing as far as amenities. But it drove pretty good and was pretty quiet on the highway. It felt like very basic transportation though.

    The Golf on the other hand(2000 Golf GLS with auto) looked sporty and drove sporty even for an auto. It felt quite upscale for a car at that price. I drive a Miata as a daily driver and the Golf captured the sporty feel of my car but while being a heck of a lot more practical. Love the trunk space with and without the seats folded. The only problem I had was that if I go to Vegas most people are doing 90MPH easy and this car above 80MPH revs a little high and makes a bit more engine noise, but I guess you could keep it at 80MPH or listen to the radio. The dealer said $500 over invoice is OK. So I may go pick up my green Golf this weekend.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    The GLS starts at $16.8K!! This is not a fair comparison. A Civic DX hatchback with A/C is about $13.6-8K. Starts at $12.6K w/o A/C.
    I got a '97 DX htbk new with A/C for $12.5K, about $400 over dealer invoice. You can easily get a DX htbck today for around $13K with A/C.
    Of course the Golf GLS has antilock brakes and 4wheel discs, antiroll bars, 15" steel rims and cassete (what no CD?). You get what you pay for.
    The Golf handles a little better although nothing spectacular (.78g in the skidpad) but it's heavy and way underpowered with its 115hp engine.
    It weighs over 400lbs more than a Civic which gets 32-37mpg vs. 24-31 in the Golf! The Civic
    5-sp is also considerably faster due to its weight (8.7s vs. 10.4s 0-60). It depends what you 're looking for and what you can afford. There is a $3-4K difference in the 2 cars. If your commute is long like mine, I 'd say get the Civic because it will last forever, will be cheaper to maintain in the long run, and gets excellent mileage.
    I have 86K miles on mine and have only done a minor tuneup on it and replaced the front brake rotors & pad ($200 w/labor). To enhance handling, I 've upgraded the 14x5" steel rims to light 14x6" Borbet type-T alloy wheels with Dunlop D60-A2 195-60 tires after the original tires got worn out (at about 40K mi). Handling has been increased dramatically and it still has a nice smooth ride.
    I average 34-35mpg and still cruise at 80mph on the highway. With a Golf you 'll probably avg. 28mpg. With the alloy wheels I think my Civic looks better than a Golf and not as boxy.
    It all depends on what you can afford and which car appeals to you. If I were in the market for a $16-17K hatchback (GLS price range), I 'd get the Cougar V6 5-sp which stickers for about $18K.
    and have some fun at the same time.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • I just read somewhere that Honda is going to discontinue the Civic Hatchback. So...I guess the VW Golf wins.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    I have nothing against the Golf, I just feel that with 115hp they 're way underpowered for the money they 're asking. I can see if it were 2300-2400lbs or if it had 130-135 or so ponnies in its current configuration & price.
    But 2700+lbs? That's too heavy IMO resulting in poor gas mileage comparable to that of a big 4 or small 6cyl, & slow acceleration unbecoming a
    $16-17K car. I mean what car does 0-60 in over 10sec. these days? A Geo Metro maybe..
    I kinda like the new VW VR6 which has ample power & torque but for $23K there are a lot of other cars that come to mind like Integra GSR & Celica GT-S hatchbacks that are lighter, cost less, & get better gas mileage.
    Again, that's just my opinion because my commute to work is such that I prefer a 4cyl. car & gas mileage becomes very important. Even in my '99 Integra GSR I average 30mpg with 90-95% highway driving (the Civic is my daily driver though)
    I totally agree though that the new 4 cyl. Golfs are in a different class than a Civic not only pricewise but for the additional amenities & safety features they offer.
    I believe VW has placed the Golf in a very strategic position between the $13K basic transportation Civic hatchback and the more powerful (140hp) $19K+ Acura Integra htcbk and that 's the right place to be..
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    The Celica isn't cheaper than the GTI VR6. Sure, if you compare base price to base price it's cheaper, but that's because everything is standard on the VW and everything is optional on the Celica. Base on the GTI, about 22,600. Loaded GTI, 23,200. Base Celica 21,200, tacking on enough options to get it equal to the GTI (Sunroof, leather, ABS, 16" alloys, etc) = about 24,300. Which one is cheaper? As for the GSR, it costs about 400 bucks less, and is slower. And that's all I have to say about that.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Well if you want to get technical about things, the Celica outhandles the VW VR6, etc. etc. The GSR may be .1 or .2s slower 0-60 but it can be had for $20K or less due to incentives and stuff. I got my '99 for $19.8K and sticker was $22,550 (w/dest. charge). C&D also placed the GSR 4th ahead of the GTI GLX (5th) in their latest 7 car comparison. GSR also has slightly higher top speed and was favored in handling & shifting precision over the VW. The 7tr old GSR can still hold its own.. We can start a whole new debate that 's been discussed here over & over but I 'd rather not do that. The VW VR6 is a great car and I 'm not putting it down. I prefer performance & great gas mileage and a V6 can't give me that. And what's with the 2yr/24Kmi VW warranty? I don't think any other manufacturer offers such a low warranty.. Why don't they back up their cars with a 3yr/36K or 4/50K like Acura? I 'm not comfortable with that..
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • According to Automotive News and AutoWeek, there will not be any 2001+ Civic HB's for the US market. That leaves the Focus ZX3, and Chevy Metro (laugh) as small HB's to compete with Golfs.
  • I saw the same thing, tomcat360. Maybe this discussion should change to "Golf vs. Focus ZX3."
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    To compare the Golf and the Focus, just click here!

    carlady/host
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    That sucks, because I was planning on getting another Civic hbk around 2001-'02. I really like the room in the hatch and the 34-35mpg I 'm getting in my DX. I put at least 40K mi/yr on mine and at this rate by 2002 I 'll have about 170K mi. on it. I think it's safe to assume that I 'll never be able to get another decent new car for under $13K. I 'll probably look for a used '99 or '00 Civic htbk when the time comes. The Golf is $16k & up and avg. gas mileage is only in the mid-high 20s. As far as the Focus goes, I don't like they way it looks and don't know about its reliabily or resale value yet..
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • Don't feel bad, I felt that Honda lost me when they stopped offering the Si in hatch. mode. The first Honda I owned was in 90' Black metallic dust, Si, loaded,5 speed, btw... it weighed 3000.lbs! & still hauled [non-permissible content removed]! It was fun reliable, quiet, just a different approach to doing things. My last hatch was a 95 dx, totally diff. still weighed close to 3k. but just didn't have the "stuff" that made it a beauty. I also have owned 2 Miatas. (yes, I love to get cars for myself) & those were the best I have owned. We all have different opinions of cars & thats what makes it good. As far as Golfs are concerned, they are about right for what they charge. The aver. cost of a new car seems to be just above 20k, any less... well you get what you pay for. I didn't mean any less a car!(don't nitpik. you'll see why!)
    Cars like Focus, Echo, & yes, the last of the Civics hopefully won't be a dying breed, these cars are fun, handle well , give respectful mileage & I think they all look good. The aftermarket will do these cars right. My only problem, is Echo or Focus. Yes, you heard right. I want a "sub 20k" car thats fun & ..ok cute.. I think Focus & Echo are really great cars. So, don't give up, there are still some good choices for us!
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Well, by "sub $20K" I take it you 're willing to pay $18 or 19K? Then I would go for the Celica GT 5-sp with 140hp. It handles really good and it's a fun car to drive and should be very reliable too.
    Yes, I agree that the cost of the Golf is about right because of all the nice standard amenities & safety features (ABS, etc) you get. I never argued that.
    I have to correct you though. You were grossly off on the weight of the '90 & '95 Civic hatchbacks. My Civic hatchback weighs 2258lbs and the '90 Si htbk was one of the lightest cars and barely 2200lbs! that's why it was quick.
    I know, my friend owned one and another close friend of mine owns a '93 DX hatchback (same as '95) and it weights slightly over 2200lbs too.
    We know the weight of our cars because here in NY it's right on your registration! but you can look up old R&T or C&D magazines if you don't believe me.
    Anyway, I guess there are other hatchback choices out there but I would 've liked to stick with the Civic name/family. Oh well, all good things come to an end.. :-)
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • dragwaydragway Posts: 34
    If the VW warranty is short think about the Lamborghni's. $240,000 and all you get is 2/24000 miles. The Ferrari is at least 3/unlimited. At the price these cars should be warrantied for life.
  • dhkdhk Posts: 49
    To me, the VW 10yr/100K drivetrain warranty is a real plus, and worth alot more than going from 2 to 3 years on the BTB piece.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    I don't think I 've ever seen a Japanese or German car blow an engine or tranny in the first 100K mi. 100K mi. is not much these days. What may go on the first 100K mi. is alternator, oxygen sensors, thermostat, starter, A/C compressor, etc. which is not covered under the drivetrain warranty.
    I think they should at least offer a bumper to bumper warranty for at least 3yrs like everyone else.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • This thread is so long that I am not sure who I am responding to. I now own a '98 Golf and previously owned a '92 Jetta. I have also driven my sister's '97 Accord plenty of times. The decision between the VW and the Honda was an easy one for me. The Honda never "spoke" to me when I drove it. I agree with some of the earlier posts that compared it to an appliance. It will run great and you never have to think about it. My first test drive in the Golf on the other hand spoke directly to me. Even with the 2.0 it was just a blast to drive with smooth acceleration right up to redline and amazing handling. The Honda just felt slow and purposeful. My Jetta was not a perfect car and I got rid of it at 110,000 miles due to a growing list of problems. I am expecting the Golf to be even better and I know that I will enjoy every drive in it.
  • Has anyone else seen the photos of the 4-dr hatchback? If Ford had imported this car in addition to the 4-dr(what is the U.S. obsession with having a lockable trunk anyway?), 2-dr, and wagon, then my recent decision to buy a VW Golf would have been a lot harder. There have to be more of us out there that like the versatility of a hatchback (dog owners will understand) without having to settle for a wagon or an SUV.
  • This thread is so long that I am not sure who I am responding to. I now own a '98 Golf and previously owned a '92 Jetta. I have also driven my sister's '97 Accord plenty of times. The decision between the VW and the Honda was an easy one for me. The Honda never "spoke" to me when I drove it. I agree with some of the earlier posts that compared it to an appliance. It will run great and you never have to think about it. My first test drive in the Golf on the other hand spoke directly to me. Even with the 2.0 it was just a blast to drive with smooth acceleration right up to redline and amazing handling. The Honda just felt slow and purposeful. My Jetta was not a perfect car and I got rid of it at 110,000 miles due to a growing list of problems. I am expecting the Golf to be even better and I know that I will enjoy every drive in it.
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