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Honda Civic Si vs. VW GTI



  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    in Europe than it is in the U.S. Peugeot has taken over the top spot small car market there with the 206 and admits it still isn't ready for the U.S. market and it's more demanding quality requirements.

    That's one of the reasons why they have such a diverse range of choices in their automotive marketplace.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    for the verry intersting insight from the other side of the pond. I am thinking the the Country of origin (where ther cars are assembled) could account for the difference. Are the European GTIs also assembled in Brazil or are they made in Germany?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    US GTI is sourced from Brazil. European GTI's are sourced from Brazil and Germany.
  • Bottom line is I and the vast majority of VW owners seriously like their cars. Honda people and VW people are on either ends of the spectrum. Honda people in this forum live by what others think - polls/ surveys's etc. VW owners drive what they like and pay little attention to surveys. I drive what I like and what puts a smile on my face every time I drive it - that would never happen in any Honda product for me.

    I'm glad you Honda people like your cars - I simply don't and no amount of data you spout about VW's is going to change my mind. I like my GTI and all my previous VW's a lot.

    The only two vehicles I own are VW's and BMW's (currently 01 X5, 02 GTI). I actually test drove an MDX when I bought the X5 - I knew I would never be an MDX owner just sitting behind the wheel - Honda's just don't have that European feel - cheap and low rent comes to mind. But hey I did compare the X5 to something when I was "shopping". The only other marque I'm a fan of is Land Rover - I put 160k miles on a Range Rover (what the X5 replaced) that Rangie had it's quirks but it was one of the best vehicles I've ever owned - I'd have traded it for another one if I hadn't been transferred to the sunbelt and had no earthly need for one.

    You Honda guys will never own a VW, Land Rover or BMW - that would be way too close to living on the edge for you - we are not the same type of car people. I say let's agree to disagree.

    Here is a glimpse of what I'm talking about - I'm already looking at the replacement of my 02 GTI - by the middle of next year I will be driving one of these - when I see and hear this VW it get me excited, gives me that "something" that no Honda will ever, ever do. I put my $1k deposit down on an R32 yesterday - can't wait.

    R32 Sounds:






    All wheel drive, 3.2 liter 241 HP VR6, 6 speed, Konig leather sport seats, climatronic, Xenon headlights with washers, DVD based Nav, rain sensing wipers, 18" wheels to name a few features. All for $32K the price of 2 heavily discounted 02 SI's (saw Honda dealer add in yesterday's paper - 02 SI's are STILL available for $16k). I think the R32 is a screaming deal for this level of performance - I can not wait!!!!

  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Don't depend on what others think. We just have that as a reference. It's so much easier to find others that like our cars. Especially those that can have real reasons other than "cause I want one" which is all that VW owners have. Anywhere you look it's a horror movie.

    I just bought another Honda yesterday. A 03 EX-L 5 speed coupe Accord. 36 mo. lease 15k year for 325 mo. I'll be happy with that until I get my V6 6 speed after they start making them in decent numbers.

    The X5, you are right I would not buy. "Used car to avoid", new car I don't need. I would own a BMW. If the 3-series had more value for the dollar. The 5 series is THE car to own in it's class. I would buy one if I had the need for a new larger sedan.

    I'm not trying to change YOUR mind. Just show you that your decision is all built on emotion and not fact. I know the Civic is not selling as well as Honda thought they would. They planned on selling 15,000 SI's in a market that as rule does not buy many hatchbacks. And I also know the VW will do just fine in the numbers that they want to sell them. It sounds like a very capable car. I would want one too. But as with most VW's they are limiting production to keep prices up. 5000 worldwide.

    "Of the 5000 models that will be built before the arrival of the next-generation Golf in a year, some could come to the U.S."

    Better order yours now. But better watch out for the EVO, STI, and lowly NEON SRT out to kill ya. Nearly 3600 pounds is a lot to stretch only 237hp with inefficient 4 wheel drive. But hey it has those rain sensing wipers.

    I will agree with you on one thing. Every time i have driven a VW I did like the drive. As I have said many times before VW's DRIVE. They have a feel that is hard to describe. Locked down solid driving lil cars they are. So I know how you feel about them. Look at each of our "garage's" you can tell we will never agree on much else though.

    An X5 makes no real sense to me. One of the smallest interiored SUV's on the road. I'm sure it drives very Bimmerish but shoulda just bought a 5 series. GTI...Been there. Land Rover???? Quirks??? I'll bet.

  • Hey Rickover I second the "agree to disagree" notion regarding VWs and Hondas.

    Yes, VW may not have the same reliability as Honda. But if you do opt for a GTI you get a 4-50000mi/5-60000 year warranty bumper to bumper and powertrain. With the SI you only get 3-36000/3-36000 and you don't get 4 year roadside assistance like the VW

    Secondly the Golf is the 2nd bestselling car of all time. Corolla is 1st. Civics(and other Japanese cars) have never sold well in Europe because they never had the driving dynamics that Europeans have desired. This is changing, but slowly now that there are more design studios from Japanese companies located in Europe.

    I also hate to say it but I don't think Honda has made many stride in quality in the last few years. C&D had a comparo and I think the Civic finished in 5th place. C&D said:

    "Lows: Way too many rattles, way too many shades of metallic in the paint, harsh ride, numb path control on the interstate.

    The Verdict: Something new from Honda — a loser."

    Bottom line is that VW aspires to be budget versions of Audis and BMWs while Hondas aspire to be the same in regards to Acura. In other words its a question of taste.

    Hey gee35coupe the R32 does not weight 3600, more like 3250. big difference.
  • The R32 does look like a nice car. It's a shame that it's on such an outdated suspension.

    World-wide sales don't really mean much. What's considered good somewhere else might not make it here and vice versa. GM/Ford sell more cars than anybody but that doesn't mean I am going to rush out and buy one.

    The Civic LX did not do well in C&D's test but they still recommended the car. There have been a few not-so-favorable reviews of the Jetta/Golf as well so it's a draw.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    And your cut and paste said it best...It was rare for Honda to have one. I have that test right here. I've never owned an LX so I can't relate, my EX's and SI's have been fine. C&D also have placed the Focus on their Top 10 for four years now. Kinda makes you wonder exactly what the criteria are and tarnishes the Accords record number of appearances there.

    Of course one possibly off production Civic should deem Hondas quality slipping when nearly every other review of the Civic is glowing.

    or maybe in Ireland

    Everyone else loves the little Civic.

    Who cares about a warranty...I don't want to use it in the first place. Warranty does you no good if you have 30 minutes to get to work and your car won't start. We are on our 5th new Honda product and have only required warranty service once. We returned a Civic 4 months after purchasing it because we found metal shavings in the exterior paint. Honda gave us $1000 and an 1999 EX Accord at cost. They also were very generous on the trade of the Civic. Won us over. They didn't have to do anything for us.

    You were wrong too, the R32 weighs 3350 according to the link above. Turn dypos.

  • According to the writer Jamie Vondruska "The R32 tips the scales at a heavy 3,256 lb."

    If you want you can email him at:

    Regarding the warranty the each 2003 Civic SI will, according to, need an average of $507 in repairs for years 4 and 5. It's not realistic to base it off the few examples you have had personally since there is no statistical sampling there.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Edmunds rated the True cost to own of the GTI higher than the Si by 5 cents per mile. The SI is actually the cheapest. The GTI in 5 years will cost you $30,296 vs. the Civic's 26,457. By the way look at the resale.

    Using Edmunds no less.

    Notice those repairs were the total after 5 entire years. Over the course of three years. Commendable I think.

    VW's repairs you ask? $663 in two years. And $11,000 in depreciation. I would have left that one off if I were you.

    Not everyone likes the R32 either hmm.

    He called it a little nose heavy. 3.2L may be a little too much in the nose of such a small car.

    Maybe in the modification to meet crash standards they had to make it a little heavier.

    That's why Car and Driver says it weighs 3350lbs. Could be that way in U.S. trim since the lighter weight is what the Euro one weighs.

  • I don't know about 30,296. I found $29,723 for the GTI 1.8t w/ manual.

    Also I think edmunds is going to have to revise the depreciation schedule for the SI. I have heard of many areas of the country where SIs have been discounted $3000 or more to move them. quotes $3,396 for 1st year depreciation which is something that now seems illogically low considering lack of demand for the SI.

    Of course the GTI costs more to own cause you get more features. More car - more money. If you want to compare feature content the SI isn't the best to use. I would use the more expensive base RSX to compare to the GTI feature for feature.

    The $663 is something that I won't have to pay but honda si owners will have to pay their $505.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    The published averages and not personal experiences? I even posted the links. They are right there.

    Hmm. Then we start talking about what we SHOULD be comparing it to. I didn't say features. Actually when I reread the cost to own page it said nothing about features either. I just used the criteria that the forum gave us. Wanna start a RSX vs. GTI forum be my guest.

    The $507 seems illogically high to me. Where does that get us? You know since "it's not realistic to base it off the few examples you have had personally since there is no statistical sampling there."

    By the way the Acura is cheaper by 1 penny per mile.

    And look at the chart..Only the powertrain lasts 5 years/60,000 miles, 5th year maint costs are $468. Must be something other than the engine breaking. By the way the chart is assuming 15,000 miles a year which would leave you with NO coverage in the 5th year and NO basic coverage during the 4th year. Those costs seem to spike quickly when the warranty coverage leaves.
  • The GTI may have more feature content but it also has a higher price. And even with it's feature content and HP advantage the GTI has placed in either last place or next to last when the SI, Focus, and GTI are compared in Car & Driver and Road & Track. Losing to a tin can, featureless Honda and a recall-mobile Ford product doesn't speak much for the VW's current standing in this class.

    And yet again, Hyundai has a long warranty does that mean that it's a better car than VW? I wouldn't think so. It just means that they have to have a longer warranty to add value. As the old cliche goes "the best warranty is the one you don't have to use". Never had to take my prior Honda's to the dealer for warranty work. Heck, never had to take one of our used Honda's to the shop for anything other than routine maintenance. 14 Honda/Acura products might be a small sample to you but that's a pretty good track record and that's why we keep going back to Honda.
  • When I brought up the feature argument this was a mean of comparing the two vehicles. That is if the SI cost 35 cents a mile and the GTI cost 40 cents that you may still be inclined to opt for the GTI given the fact that it has more content(or you may not think its worth the extra money and go for the SI).

    I assume the $507 is something they have tabulated from repair histories, cost of parts, etc. I have a good amount of confidence in measurements in these regards as I have noticed that many models they don't provide this. I assume that they, like CR's reliability scores, omit this information if they don't have enough samples to base it off of and the results would have had a high liklihood of error.

    Yes, I agree that it will more likely cost you more to repair a GTI after the warranty is up, but before it is up a blown tranny will cost me a lot less on my GTI than an SI.

    Me, I go about 12,000 miles a year so I don't have a problem with the miles matching the length of the warranty.

    About the magazine reviews I guess we all have our favorites. The GTI did very well in the comparo in 2001. For 2002 the GTI beat the SI in Sport Compact Car(the SI was last and the GTI next to last and the Neon SRT won). My favorite car magazine in America is Automobile magazine* and they had......

    1.) Focus SVT
    2.) GTI 1.8t
    3.) Civic SI
    4.) Protege MP3
    5.) Sentra Spec V

    * - They didn't actually break it down like I did but it is something you can discern from reading their conclusisions

    I don't think that C&D takes into account reliability when rating any cars in tests including the Focus SVT.

    I would never buy a car w/o taking a test drive(yes that includes WRXs, Minis, etc.) so take mag test as second hand information only that I have to verify for myself.

    [non-permissible content removed] for tat: you have never had to take your Hondas in and I have never had to take my VW in. Very inconclusive.

    So it really depends on who you read.

    [Background: Actually I almost bought an SI, but I was looking in early 2002 and none were available in Austin, TX. Instead I test drove and RSX and liked it despite the fact that I wasn't sure if my road bike would fit in the trunk(with the seats folded down of course. The Acura salesman told me on the test drive that no discounts were available and that I had to pay $300 for window etching that the city of Austin provides for free. I guess this is what happens when a given town only has 1 dealer for a particular brand.]
  • Actually Motortrend 4/2002 had:

    1.) Focus SVT
    2.) GTI 1.8T
    3.) Sentra Spec V
    4.) Civic SI

    The Acura salesman even had the nerve to tell me that the company was going to make less than 10,000 units of both the base and Type S for 2002 when I knew that wasn't true(Acura was aiming for 30,000 units combined). Then for some odd reason he kept trying to push me towards the automatic version of the base RSX. Isn't the shifting one of the best points for these cars I thought to myself?!?

    Anyway my point being that circumstances beyond my control had an effect on what car I eventually chose. I think some buyers today are affected by the West coast dock workers strike that has delayed introduction of the Mazdaspeed Protege. I'm sure there are some potential oweners of this car that will be driving Minis, Neons, etc. instead.

    I'm not permanently allied to any maker of automobiles or any other consumer product for that matter. Nissan had a bad period and now they are back. A Subaru sports car? Hyundai quality equal to or better than established makes? So yes my next car could be a BMW, Mazda, Mini, Subaru, Nissan, Ford, Audi, or Honda.

    The only thing I can tell you for sure about my auto purchasing decisions is that I will never buy a pickup truck or SUV.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    personal anecdotes. Honda's manual trannies don't blow. They are known as the standard of the industry. And the SI only has manual transmissions.

    The Civic is just cheaper to repair. Period.

    Warranty??? Then another personal story. I thought it was "it's not realistic to base it off the few examples you have had personally since there is no statistical sampling there."

    The SI has lost reviews more on comparisons to what they thought it should be, what it was, what they want it to be. It seems no one really looks at it for what it IS. Look at it...It has a sub 7000 rpm redline, 15 inch tires, no body cladding. It is about as non racer as it could be. It sells just as well as any of the other hatchbacks do. If Honda had limited it to 5000 examples they would have all gone for MSRP. There will always be faster cars. Look at the new Neon. It'll clean the R32's clock. Does that make it better than the R32?

    [non-permissible content removed] for tat??? I can show you several sources that show where GTI's (VW's in general) have a tendency to be problematic. Can you show me several instances where SI/Honda owners have had horrific problems?

    Background: I worked for a very large used car store where the employees were allowed to buy trade ins at cost. I have owned several (in the high teens) Civic-based vehicles ranging in mileage fron 27,000 to 150,000 and have not had to return to the dealership for any purposes. Just CV axles and timing belts.

    Not to mention several Accords, and a Vigor. Non Hondas include RX-7's, Mr2's, 300ZX, a Silverado, and a couple FX16's to name many. I just bought an 03 Accord coupe.
  • I used the tranny as an example of a problem that would not be covered after 36k. It could be valves, whatever, I was just pointing out the differences in warranties. About the only manufacturer recently that I have heard about having problems with manual transmissions is Subaru.

    I used 12k a year for me personally and because I think most people travel less than 15k a year.

    I really am at a loss then as to what the Civic SI represents if it not supposed to be a "hot hatch." The GTI has been lambasted for not being a true hot hatch like it was in the 90's but it is still being put in with comparos to MP3's, Spec Vs, Focus SVTs, etc. This is the only place for the magazines to group the GTI and SI. I would not compare my GTI to a WRX, Mustang, or Elantra. GTI has carved out its own niche in the marketplace as the "luxury muscle hatch" but that is such a small niche that magazine editors have to lump it and the SI with all of the aforementioned vehicles. I don't get too upset when the GTI comes in the bottom 50% in a comparo if the criteria used in judging the vehicles is far from my own. That's why I am not disappointed when C&D and Sport Compact Car diss the GTI(and SI). I think their criteria is very narrow(race track perspective) and doesn't reflect my day-to-day needs in a vehicle.

    Yes I do know someone who had a Civc die on them and I know personally one person who traded in his VR6 Jetta b/c of transmission problems. Everything else I know is from the internet, so I can't make definite statements regarding 2nd and 3rd hand accounts from people whose faces I don't know.

    About resale values I checked out the recent Auto issue of Kiplinger's. VWs had some of the highest resales values in their segment.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    the date on the Automobile magazine that you were citing? Is this a compro between these cars? Is the article available via the internet?
  • the date on the Automobile magazine that you were citing?

    It's from Jan. 2002 and it's called "Cheap, Fast, and Under Control." A very well written article even if you don't agree with everything they say about the cars.

    Is this a compro between these cars?

    Yes, it is basically a comparo even though it is less structured than those at C&D. They don't seem to use any kind of points system so I assume the writers must have to reach some kind of consensus.

    Is the article available via the internet?

    I looked at their site and elsewhere but I think this magazaine keeps a very tight reign on its content unlike C&D and others.

    The interesting thing I thought is that C&Ds winner(even though the Focus SVT wasn't out) was the Mazda MP3 while in Automobile magazine it was next to last...............
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