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Honda Civic Si vs. VW GTI



  • Inigoco - Los Angeles, I can never get to bed at a reasonable hour, no matter what time I have to get up in the morning. I just reason that I'm going to be tired no matter what, so I might as well be _really_ tired. The reason that Japan usually doesn't give us the high performance variants is because of California's strict emission laws, not because they are trying to hide them. Turbo cars are particularly bad at that sort of thing.

    Rickrover - I don't know why a person would buy an RSX and then run 1/4 miles with it. How unsuitable a car can one possibly have? You couldn't pay me to take my Si to the track, what would be the point? Glad you enjoyed the test drive of the Si.

    Hamproof - Sales are only representative of popularity. And I think we can all think of a few popular things that aren't all they are cracked up to be. Additionally, the seats in the Si are the best stock seats I've ever sat in. I don't think it's fair to compare the GTI and Si at MSRP, because that is not what they are available for. I would not have bought an Si if it were full price. However, I still love that Car and Driver liked the Si better than the GTI. Not because it proves the Si is better, it just proves shows that even at MSRP, there are some very credible people that favored the Si. (However, if Motor Trend had written it, I wouldn't pay any attention.)

    pda97 - HKS is coming out with a turbo kit that is reported to put 300 hp to the wheels. And I'll go on record saying that I think the Si is priced properly for the amount and the quality of its content. It's just not priced properly for market demand.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    Again, like I said, the SI is an unusual case for Honda. The only time you see Honda cars discounted below invoice if it is a year end clearance or a new model is coming aboard. The SI is being discounted $1300 below invoice. That's why I suggest we compare the invoice price (not MSRP). If VW can't sell the GTI, they'll also discount the 03 models when 04 are coming around. Like Honda is discounting the 02 models since the 03 are here already. I'm sure someone out there can find a leftover 02 GTI for slightly more than what an 02 SI sells for now.

    Basically, it is fairer to compare invoice prices. In general terms, I'm happy to buy a car at invoice. Anything below invoice I'm happy. But in the case of a Bimmer, you are happy to pay MSRP.

    Gee35coupe - the argument bet. the GTI and SI I guess is more towards 00 SI vs. 02/03 GTI. Maybe you missed reading the earlier posts. Anonymousposts says she prefers the higher RPM HP and torque of the 00 SI over the relatively flat torque curve of the new 02 SI. In anycase, I like the 02 SI more than the 00 SI. Driving an 00 SI was like driving my then 97 EX. I rarely get the tach over 5000rpm.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Cardirect is nationwide. Plug in a zip code and it spits out a price that can be duplicated time after time. No point in guessing and debating when everyone has the same source for information. It's just like using the same magazine for statistics.

    For driving to work and around town the 02 Si is a better(read easier) steed.

    But if you enjoy D-R-I-V-I-N-G..... The 99-00 with a CAI, free flow exhaust and a intake whoosh from 6000 rpm to 8000 rpm that must be experienced to be believed is some of the most fun on 4 wheels. Sure low end torque is nice and all but some people know what Hondas are meant for. And it ain't puttering around at 3000 rpm. An 00Si in fifth turns 3500 rpm at 60. If you check this curve

    flat as a board from 3000 up. 0-60 runs prove the gearing give it the grunt to move from the start and has the top end to run near 130 mph. What's not to love? I personally don't like 0-60 runs since they are hard on the drivetrain in any car. Would I buy a GTI? A turbo VW no way. But I also wouldn't want a 02 Si with an "only" 6700 rpm redline.
  • pda97pda97 Posts: 88
    300hp at the wheels ? Are you crazy ? Is HKS crazy ? The little buzz bomb is really gonna explode at that output ! Sounds like some serious internal beefing up will be required, in which case, is too much work. Give me something simpler.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    Gee35 - to each his own - I consider the most fun on 4 wheels a GTI turbo with free flow exhaust, ECU upgrade and a few other minor mods for 235 lb ft of torque/ 240ish HP. The GTI's 1.8t easily handles the extra output without any reliability issues. I belong to a local Euro tuner club that has a lot of tuned 1.8t's - some way beyond my level of tune (larger turbo etc) with no reliability issues. The 1.8t can reliably handle 300 HP before you have to start upgrading the internals - it's a very sturdy little engine.

    My only issue is traction - personally I wouldn't take a small front wheel drive car above 250 HP without all wheel drive - too much of challenge to get the HP to the ground with the front wheels only.

    Magazine 0-60 times really depend on the driver and weather conditions on the day of the test lots of variables - they repeatedly beat on those cars to get the fastest 0-60 times. I doubt anyone here would treat their own cars that way - I don't consider that fun. I like to take my car to the track to see what it will do without abusing the snot out of it, just a nice friendly race in a safe non-street atmosphere.

    - it all boils down to personal preference, everyone has their own definition of what's fun.

    My next version of fun will more than likely be the Golf R32 - 3.2 liter VR6 with 240 HP stock, all wheel drive - $25k to start - my dealer reports it will be here in less than a year - can't wait.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    The power is in the same place in the rev range. After 3500 revs you are still going to feel the power dropping off.

    The 1.8T engine has it's power at 3500 even with mods. So to put the extra power to better use, the GTI would need a different transmission with taller gearing.

    25K is well beyond the scope of what we are talking here as there are WRX's or 350Z's (when they start selling near MSRP) to be had near that price point.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    than the 00 SI or 02 SI?? Looking at this chart:

    even in stock form, the torque is higher for the GTI 1.8T engine from 2000rpm all the way to 6500rpm compared to the 00/02 SI. So, when you revved your SI all the way to 6500rpm, on the 02 SI, your max torque is the same as the GTI. Sure the torque goes down after 3500rpm, but it is still a lot more than the 02 SI.

  • I don't know any more details, but I'm pretty sure I even saw some discussion about it on the HKS site. It really does sound insane, but I have no interest in driving a FWD car with that kind of power. It would be like riding a freakin bull.
  • inigocoinigoco Posts: 51
    APR already has a kit for putting out nearly 300 HP using 93 octane gas and over 300 HP if you use 100 octane in the 1.8T engines. There are no internal modifications necessary, it's mainly just a new turbo, manifold, exhaust, and an ECU upgrade. Pretty much everything else remains stock. Cars with this kit run in the mid 12s in the 1/4 mile at over 110 mph and they are very reliable. Pricing for this kit is just under $4000. Seems a little high, but I'd be willing to bet a similar system for the Si from HKS which would give similar output would likely be at least as expensive if not more so. Check it out at
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    But the feel would be that the engine is losing power as the engine revs. I'd take the flatter, if slowly building power of the Si.

    The Si's gearing makes up for the lower numbers. I would still take my chances with a modded GTI looking at the power curve and knowing that to stay in the limited sweet part of the rev range would take more effort than just keeping the revs up.

    But really all this is moot. You love the GTI. Anon and others love the Si. The numbers are close enough to where it's academic to even still discuss this. If people can drive a Civic DX or a base Golf then we both can agree that both the GTI or the SI are like a ribeye compared to a chopped steak.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    You make it sound like you hit a brick wall at 3,500 RPM in the GTI. Try driving one instead of reading about it. If you actually drive a GTI you'll see it pulls strongly up to redline. Maybe the torque peaks at 3500 but you have no real sense of it when driving it, there is no sensation of the torque falling off, it pulls really hard right up to redline.

    I've done the 93 octane APR chip upgrade, Eurosport exhaust, K&N air filter in the factory air box(already cold air intake from the factory) Neuspeed turbo air intake (increases flow into the turbo 70%) and downpipe (ditto on the flow out) to my 02 1.8t GTI. These few simple mods give me a claimed 240 HP and at least 235 lb ft of torque - maybe at 3,500 RPM peak but all I know is this thing hauls butt and I regularly take it to redline and it pulls very strongly all the way there. I blew the absolute doors off an RSX-S with an aftermarket exhaust - I have no idea what other mods it had - the guy wouldn't talk to me :-) All I know is this is the best $1k I've ever spent - talk about bang for the buck.

    Try driving some of this stuff instead of being an armchair test drive critic reading magazine test drive stats. I test drove an 02 SI last week - I can't say I felt any burst of power in the upper rev range of the SI. It pulled very evenly and smoothly to redline - The GTI (even stock) definately has more punch in the lower rev range but still pulls hard right up to redline - just my real world observation.
  • "Here's the GTI chart...Sure it has more torque but it's also much more peaky. Just as the performance numbers bear out. If the torque line was flatter this would be a killer motor. If this is your cup of tea so be it."

    Obviously you didn't notice that the dyno you give is of modified GTIs. Aftermarket ECUs can really change the torque curve sometimes. I'm pretty sure the stock curve is much more flat than this one.


  • You can't compare a modded car to another car with unknown mods and say you blew it's doors off as if the RSX-S is inferior. For all we know the RSX-S was stock outside of the exhaust possibly because he values his warranty or maybe he just bought it. Stock vs. stock though the RSX-S doesn't really have much to worry about with a GTI.

    To me, buying a new car and then doing the kind of mods you have on your car doesn't make sense. You are paying new car prices for a car then turning it into an unwarranted used car. You wanna talk about low resale now ... you would have to find a special buyer for that car because it's now an unknown. Your best bet it to buy a used car outside of warranty so you really have nothing to lose. For the price of a new GTI you can get a 300ZX, Supra, Vette, etc. Those cars start out of the box where your GTI is now.

    For racing, I would rather have a 99-00 SI. For my daily commute I prefer the 02 SI. It's still Honda-smooth and Honda-efficient. I average 30MPG and get power no matter where I am in the rev range. For going fast around curves and sound effects the 00 SI can't be beat though.
  • APR already has a kit for putting out nearly 300 HP using 93 octane gas and over 300 HP if you use 100 octane in the 1.8T engines. There are no internal modifications necessary, it's mainly just a new turbo, manifold, exhaust, and an ECU upgrade. Pretty much everything else remains stock

    You forgot to mention that you should probably replace some other critical parts of the drivetrain before you actually try to use all that horsepower. At a minimum, you'd need a better clutch since the stock one would have a half-life measured in minutes. You'd also need to do a lot of work to the suspension to try to keep the tires from smoking in all gears. Did I mention tires and wheels? Brakes? By the time all is said and done, you'd just about save money by buying an M3.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    Come on - pull your head out of a coconut for gods sake. Where can you find those cars for $20k?? Are we talking about twin turbos 300ZX and Supras?? Which C gen. are you talking about for the vette?? C-1??
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I didn't say the RSX was inferior to my GTI - I'm not comparing my GTI to anything. Just made a statement that I blew an RSX's doors off with my modified GTI and I have no idea what the RSX had outside of an exhaust. I've spent $1k on the engine and another $1k on the suspension - Bilstien shocks, Neuspeed Racing springs, 25mm rear sway bar and front upper strut bar - this thing is GLUED to the road.

    As for warranty - my warranty is fully intact, most VW dealers are mod friendly including mine. The only things that are out of VW warranty on my car are the parts I've replaced. Most all the aftermarket parts I've installed have a better warranty - as long as I own the car.

    I bought the GTI with the express purpose of modifying it - it's cheap and easy to get very significant performance gains from a 1.8t GTI.

    There are lots of other used cars I could have had for the price of my GTI - so what? you can say that about any new car - what's your point? As for depreciation - New cars depreciate - get over it - I have. I trade my "sports car" every 2 or 3 years and keep my "cruiser" (currently X5) for a long time - the X replaced a 9 year old Range Rover.
    I wanted a hot hatch, something with tons of performance potential with 3 doors - that's what I got.

    I'm a huge fan of VW's and BMW's - I was on the waiting list for an E46 M3 a year ago. After a lot of analyzing my needs I decided get an X5 and the GTI instead of the M3. I like to AutoX, take my "sports car" to the track and generally abuse the hell out of it. I didn't think I'd have as much fun with the M3 because I'd be so paranoid of damaging it in some way. No problemo with my trusty GTI, I drive the holy crap out of it. It takes it all without a wimper, it is built like a tank.

    I already have my sights set on it's replacement - the Golf R32 due out in the U.S. next summer - 240 HP 3.2 liter VR6, 6 speed, ALL WHEEL DRIVE starting at $25k - cannot wait - heading to my dealer tomorrow to put a deposit down on one. I'm planning on taking the R32 to 300 HP - to take full advantage of that All Wheel Drive

    and the German R32 website:
  • seguyseguy Posts: 133
    to drop after 3500 rpm, but due to the increase in rpms, HP continues to climb up til 5500 rpm. That's when the stock turbo in the 1.8T loses its' efficiency. Simple formula I'm sure many have seen before: HP=(torque*rpms)/5252

    As you can see by the dyno comparing the chip to stock, There is a 30hp increase throughout the powerband, not just near the top.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    You are right it is flatter but still drops off in upper reaches. Torque and HP.

    It's funny. My last 1991 300ZX Twin Turbo cost $6000 and ran like a top. My neighbor bought it from me and drives it every day.

    A Supra Twin Turbo can be had on Autotrader online for that 20K exactly as an asking price. They're kinda rare though cause they didn't sell that many.

    1995 to 1996 Vettes are in low to mid 15K range 300hp there stock and 340 lbft of torque down low. That's a C-4 in case anyone asks. It's so funny I chuckle too.

    So lets see here the GTI is $19,000 or so on plus another 2K in mods that's 21,000. Hmm compared to a $17,100 (Carsdirect)Si. Hmmm. Yeah I see now. Wait...No I don't.

    It's you'r risk on the warranty. Most manufacturers frown on engine modification like that. It's up to you.

    Mods kill resale value especially in brand new cars. Most people get rid of cars in a few years so spending $2-3K on mods on a new car is like using money as tissue paper.

    But when you get rid of that GTI, sounds like someone is gonna get a great deal. It's just that I know where I can get another 300ZX TT with 140K for $2500. A/C doesn't work but the motor purrs like a kitten and it looks great for a 1990. Heck if I'm not gonna have a warranty and want to go fast I might as well go all the way. Or maybe a 3000GT VR-4. Those are gettin kinda cheap now. I laugh so much just thinking about it.

  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    If you are so bent on comparing the prices of what the 02 SI could be had now, I'm not going to debate it with you. I'll wait till the 03 SI comes out and I'm pretty sure by then carsdirect will have it listed at a higher price than the closeout prices they have now. At that time, I want to see what you got to say about the 03 SI advantages are over the GTI and if the 03 SI is still a good value. As it is now, the 03 GTI has 180HP and torque. That's 20HP and more than the SI. Even w/ prices, don't you think $1900 is worth it to get the additional HP and torque. Not to mention the standard 16" rims, front/side curtain airbags, traction control, nicer interior (better material). Even floormats are standard! B2B warranty is 4 years/50k compared to 3/36 for the SI. The SI doesn't even have roadside assistance.

    Now, tell me all these features I listed (probably some I didn't) aren't worth $1900 for an 03 GTI over and 02 SI. Say the 03 SI prices are available on in a few days, I bet you'll see a much lower differences.

    At least I'm admitting I'm not a fan of the VW despite all these advantages coz' to be my first criteria is a car that is dependable and so far I have more faith in a Honda over a VW. Thus my decision to get an 02 SI to replace my 01 A4.
This discussion has been closed.