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Honda Civic Si vs. VW GTI

sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
edited March 6 in Honda
Any thoughts on this line-up? Granted, it's a little early too tell for the Si, but there are preliminary reports flowing in now (edmunds.com, vtec.net, etc.).

GTI = 1.8T, 2 doors, 180hp/174 lb-ft, nice interior, 18 cu. ft of storage, 24/31 mpg, 17" wheels available, leather available (for those that care about that sort of thing), lots of standard equip.

Si = 2.0L, 2 doors, 160hp/130 lb-ft, ~2700lbs, [not sure on storage], ~ 24/31mpg, 15" wheels

The Si will probably have the edge in terms of out-of-the-box handling, shifting, and [possibly] reliability [but the 4yr/50K warranty by VW seems to offset any main concerns I might have], the VW has a proven engine that is used in a plethora of vehicles, nicer interior (based on Si pics I have seen), an armrest, and is probably less susceptible to theft (the last two are my own personal biases).
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Comments

  • The GTI 1.8t is the better car by far. That 1.8t engine is a gem and develops most of it's hp/ torque at only 1950 rpm, it'll blow the doors off the Civic. The only weak area of th GTI is the soft suspension which VW has the cure for - Eibach sport springs. I made them part of the lease on my 2002 Reflex Silver GTI with 17's and luxury package. Don't have the springs on the car yet - on order for delivery in a week.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    First Drive: 2002 VW GTI 1.8T, by John DiPietro

    First Drive: 2002 Honda Civic Si, by Brent Romans.

    Revka
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  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    It's simply more powerful...
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    and the Honda emerges victorious.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    And the VW wins, hand down. Looks are subjective, but I'm willing to bet more people will find the VW better looking than the Honda (exterior and interior).
  • The other day I drove both a 2001 1.8T and VR6 GTI. Always wanted a another GTI since my first 16V. I wish that they would bring back that old 16V because the new ones are horrible. I first drove the 1.8T and the steering was so vague and the suspension was so soft, it was really dissappointing. The VR6 was even worse, most likely because of the heavier front end. The VR6 is a fantastic engine-it deserves a better chassis. I think that the "Drivers Wanted" should go somewhere else
  • I think the Si will be very competive in this category and that has more to do with the disadvantges of the other cars more than any particular outstanding feature of the Si itself.
    I see the downsides of the VW as:

    poor reliability(actually it seems like the other two Mexican-made cars - the Focus and the new Sentra SE-R have also had their share of problems)

    reputation for bad dealer service - what is the point of a 10/100k warranty if you can't the the necessary work done?

    Softer suspension which will require upgrades, but not much can be done about the hefty(almost 3000lb.) curb weight

    I also don't think there will be any meaningful difference in acceleration times one production Sis are being made.

    Finally I think VW overemphasizes amentities. The edmund's reviews kept mentioning things like one touch powerdown windows. As a roll-up person I find this hardly worth mentioning even once.

    Still I going to test ride both before making a decision. I'll probably also test the SVT focus and the Spec V, but have pretty much already made up my mind that I won't be buying one of these.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    qote ggoldman9-poor reliability(actually it seems like the other two Mexican-made cars - the Focus and the new Sentra SE-R have also had their share of problems)

    reputation for bad dealer service - what is the point of a 10/100k warranty if you can't the the necessary work done? -end quote

    The Golf is not made in Mexico so why do you mention the "other two Mexican made cars? The Si is manufactured in UK and British cars have a terrible quality reputation, does this mean that the Si will have poor quality?, I would say no.

    The GTI has a 4yr/50K b-to-b warranty and 5yr/60K powertrain warranty, not a 10/100 as that was ended last year. VW has better warranty.

    diploid- The GTI comes in two models which are the 180HP GTI 1.8T and 201HP 4V VR6 for 2002. The 150HP 1.8T is no longer sold and will not be competing with buyers of the Honda Si. Let's compare apples to apples please.
  • The Civic offers more cool ad-ons and looks great with all those stickers all over it! Seriously, I believe the VW will outperform the Civic, but the Honda will be running after the VW is retired.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    quote claywaterfill-I believe the VW will outperform the Civic, but the Honda will be running after the VW is retired.-end

    Let me share with you the fact that early 80's VW's are still running strong and even the Beetles from the 60's and 70's are still prevalent and it is the Hondas that are already in the car crusher. VW has more minor issues than Honda but has a more robust engine and drivetrain design.

    It is a fact and not a theory that there are more older VW's on the road than older Hondas.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    I've read more than one review so far (C&D, Auto.com) that has called the new Si "soul-less" due to linear nature of the engine (as opposed to the prev. generation VTEC kick) and the electrically-assisted steering. It's an interesting criticism of the engine, and it'll take a test-drive to refute it.

    The suspension on the Si will definitely be it's strong-point as compared to the GTI. But this could be rectified with aftermarket parts on the GTI.

    Outside of the reliability issue, the GTI seems to be a lot classier.

    Automobile mag just compared the SVT Focus, MP3, SE-R V Spec, GTI, and Si.... they picked the GTI over the Si, but the SVT as their top pick.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    "it'll blow the doors off the Civic"

    I wouldn't count on it. The Civic giving up 20 HP but I would guess it's going to be significantly lighter than the portly 3000 lb GTI.

    And before some starts ragging about the torque difference, HP is a much more accurate indicator of acceleration potential, if you've only got peak numbers to look at.
  • I know Volkswagen has been around a long time and early Beetles are still on the road. VW is by far the best thing Hitler gave to the world and Ferdinand Porsche did a masterful job creating the Beetle. I like VWs very much and would love to buy a Jetta, but they are too small for my needs at their price level. That being said, the Civic's reliability numbers through sources like Consumer Reports (which reports the results of real owners, not subjective reviews) are better than the Golf's. The Civic was named Top Pick by people like Auto Week and Consumer Reports for a reason. I was not bad mouthing the GTI--I even admitted that it may be the better performer--I just think the Civic will run longer with fewer problems. That is why I would by the Civic.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Take a look at the 970+ messages in the Honda Civic Problems topic in the Edmunds Maintenance section and then look at the less than 100 total for Golf/GTI problems posted by real owners with real problems. Consumer Reports is subjective when it involves reliability as the ratings are not based on actual repair records but owner opinions from surveys. And the Golf was recommended by Consumer Reports.

    The Civic Si is an unknown for reliability. It is built in UK and you would have to look at track record for the UK build Hondas in order to make a prediction.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    "Take a look at the 970+ messages in the Honda Civic Problems topic in the Edmunds Maintenance section and then look at the less than 100 total for Golf/GTI"

    What does that have to do with anything?
  • But that doesn't mean anything. You know full well that there are not 970 problems. There are problems then probaby 10 responses to the problem--along with another string of posts on a tangent. If that was the indicator, Kia is the brand we all should buy, because the last time I checked there were NO active problem threads. Do you believe NOBODY has had any problems out of their Kias? I think the Santa Fe is the only Hyundai product with a somewhat active problem thread--does that mean there are no Sonatas with problems? I know it's fun to point to "problems" threads because I point out the huge Sienna and Odyssey problem threads to their owners all the time. But that doesn't mean they are not good vans. Also, congrats to VW and their "Recommended" label with CR. Civic got top pick. It also got "Best pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. One last time, I like the VW. I would just buy the Civic instead.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    GTI has standard 16" tires and Si has standard 15". Advantage GTI.

    GTI has 4yr/50k warranty and Si has 3yr/36k warranty. Advantage GTI.

    GTI has 180HP and Si has 160HP. Advantage GTI.

    GTI has choices of sunroof or not, leather or not, upgraded stereo, 5 speed automatic or 5 speed manual, heated seats, climatronic and rain sensing wipers, standard heated mirrors, and standard full size spare. Si has choices of color. Advantage GTI.

    GTI has the highest crash test ratings in it's class from NHTSA.
  • except for it's suspension, to soft and the rear setup is pretty crude. Although I believe the next Golf platform should have independent rear suspension correct? I'd be willing to guess that the Si, even on those smallish 15inch tires, will probably handle better than the GTi.
  • To me no car is just the way I want it so I always tweak them here and there to make them better. With all the aftermarket stuff available for both of these cars you can easily modify them to your personal needs.

    I got a killer deal on my GTI and decided not to get the leather and invest the approx $1k in upgrades instead. I really worked the dealer and got a little over $1k off and made them throw in the VW Eibach sport springs (without installation). My silver black cloth 2002 1.8t GTI has the luxury package (sunroof, monsoon) and 17" wheel package that have excellent Michelin Pilots on them for $400 (a deal and a half). It came through with the the new head unit so it has the indash CD.

    The suspension is soft from the factory, but easily fixed with aftermarket springs. The Eibach springs from VW are perfect, they lower the GTI about an inch and tighten up the suspension perfectly. All the floatiness is gone, nice controlled ride that's not rough at all - no need for aftermarket shocks - perfect. I also added a polished Neuspeed front upper stress bar ($106) hard to say what difference it made since the springs and stress bar went in on the same day.

    Now for the engine - the 1.8t is an absolute gem of an engine cheap and easy to upgrade. I had a modified 2000 Passat 1.8t that never gave me one problem outside of a broken floor mat clip. I easily modified that Passat to about 230 HP and did a bunch of other stuff to it. A friend kept bugging me to sell it to him and I finally did. I'm going a slightly different route with the GTI than the Passat.

    The GTI has a Neuspeed turbo air intake ( does not replace factory airbox, 7 hp gain) and downpipe (welds to the catalytic converter, another 7hp) and Neuspeed chip upgrade which gives it 210 hp and 235 lbs feet of torque. Also installed a K&N low restriction air filter in the factory air box. I'd guess my GTI has about 225 HP now - easily keeps up with a friends BMW 330i and handles really well. I'm keeping the factory exhaust - I did the Neuspeed exhaust on my Passat and got really tired of the added noise. A good aftermarket exhaust like the Neuspeed would add a few more HP to the GTI.

    Total cost of all the upgrades including installation is about $1200 not including the cost of the Eibach springs which were thrown in with the car purchase. My GTI with the upgrades has all the drivability of the standard 180 hp GTI - minimal turbo lag, very smooth, lots of low end grunt, just a lot more go - a lot more. I plan to use it in weekend autocross so I may add swaybars to it, I'll have to wait and see. I plan to take it to the track to see what it does in the quarter mile, just out of total curiosity - this thing flat out hauls a##.

    How much would it cost to do the same to the Civic? I'd bet a lot more. You'd spend more than $1,200 on aftermarket 17" wheels with the Pilots on them alone. I wouldn't want to think what you'd have to do to get 220+ HP out of it - and how would the drivability be???
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