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Honda Civic Si vs. VW GTI

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  • The GTI is awesome! My friend has a 2001 GTI 1.8T and its pretty fast.
    Can we please get Neons and the Focus out of this conversation. I don't see how they can compare to a GTI!
  • Did you drive the Si? I love the shifter in it.
  • Hi all,
    For those who interested in buying a Si or GTI, please re-think your position of which one to get. Because the Honda Si are on BIG discount at $16,000. It only FYI.
  • I'm not really a huge fan of VTEC anyway since the large majority of their high-powered engines i.e. the S2000 and the older Si's are not powerful until you get them over 6500 RPM. I prefer to have usable power and that's what I get in my '02 GTI 1.8T. The newer Si engine has as much HP as before, it does make more low-end torque, though the GTI will still beat it when it comes to torque. The styling of the new Si's is also horrid. To me they look like squashed minivans, especially since the windshield and the hood are nearly at the same angle. If I had to buy an Si, it would have been a 2000 model since I think those were the better looking version. But, I'd still be able to beat it quite handidly with my GTI.
  • Try talking chipped GTI 1.8t - I APR'd my 02 plus a couple other little tweaks for 235 lb ft of torque and 220 or so HP - Shweeeeet!

    I think the Si is a huge dud - I've seen one new Si in a parking lot, none on the street. The Honda dealer isn't deeply discounting them for nothing. Honda should have gone a little retro style, back to the late 80's Si's - those still look kinda nice. I do have to get out and test drive one just for grins.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    First I must say that I am a biased VW owner. I drove a Si for a day and it was really fun. At $19K for the Honda the GTI wins hands down. At $16 to $16,5K that the Si's are selling for in my area the Si is the one that would get my money. I loved the shifter design and the seating was very, very comfortable. Recaro comfortable. The size of the rubber is uninspiring but the handling is good, throw a set of 17's on it and it would be all good. The styling is nothing special but then the GTI has shoebox styling so neither of them is a work of art. You have to keep the revs up to keep the power going and it is fun with the shifter on the dash.
  • The stock GTI handles like a pig if you don't modify it. I don't think it would be much more fun to drive than the Si unless you are stoplight racing. Of course, the ability to up the boost on the turbo is another story. (cue rickrover)

    The Si isn't worth $19k, but I also don't think I would buy a GTI if I wasn't going to take it aftermarket.
  • I bought mine with the intention of modifying it. A friend of mine bought a 2003 GTI 1.8t last weekend and promptly left town for a couple of weeks. He left it at my house with instructions for me to break it in. It is interesting to drive the two back to back handling-wise. Mine has a very aggressive suspension under it - racing springs with a 2" drop, bilstein sport shocks, Neuspeed upper front stress bar and 25mm rear sway bar. It handles like a go cart, very neutral and extremely tight. I think the ride is perfect still very tolorable although most people would hate it. I still have the 17" Michelin Pilot Sport's on it that it came with - these are the all season sports so not the greatest grip but I'm doing my best to wear them out :-) so I can put some Toyo Proxis T1's on it. I take my GTI on the track and also like to AutoX it, that's what I set the suspension up for. When I did it I thought I'd use the GTI for a weekend car because the ride would be too punishing for day in day out driving/ commuting. To my suprise that wasn't the case at all, I bought an X5 about a month before the GTI last year to use as a daily driver. The X has just hit 5k miles and the GTI is pushing 12k miles after a year. The only time I drive the X is when I have clients or passengers - the GTI's back seat has been out of it for 6 months now - the dogs love it. I consider it my high performance mini-minivan.

    That said the stock GTI isn't that bad a handler, it's obvious that VW tuned it for cruising, but it's handling is totally acceptable for most people. If you wanted better handling and keep 90% of the ride compliance I'd do the VW-Eibach sport springs that VW sells in it's accessory catalog for a couple hundred bucks - not nearly as aggressive as racing springs, leave the stock shocks, put an upper front stress bar (also called a strut tower brace) for $100 and beefier rear sway bar like mine for about $250. Installation for everything would be another couple hundred at an independent VW shop. A GTI so equipped would be totally acceptable for someone who wants a very good neutral handling car with no sway - it would hang with a lot of BMW's in the twisties.

    I absolutely love fast, stealthy little hatchbacks. When I was in the market for a new car last year I was on the wait list for a new M3. When it came right down to ordering the M3 I didn't think the M3 would have met my needs as well as an X5 and a modified GTI. I'd have been pampering that M3, worried of every little scratch and paranoid to beat on it at the track - if I took it there at all, forget about AutoXing it. Plus that M3 would be my only car (spouse has an Audi Avant that I've been banned from).

    On top of all this dump another grand in tuning that 1.8t motor and you have 230 HP and 235 lb ft of torque and an ear to ear grin. Plus this little GTI takes a whole lot of punishment without a wimper, they are built like a tank.
  • where did you see si for 16k
  • Question A:
    Assuming that you couldn't modify the car, you had to pick one and stick with it. Would you do the GTI for $19k or the Si for $16k?

    Question B:
    $19k GTI, or $16k Si + $3k in mods?

    However, since you haven't driven the Si yet, you can wait to answer.
  • You can get Si's for $16k in Los Angeles, I don't know about elsewhere. I can give you dealer info if you want.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    In Chicago they were advertised in paper at several dealers for $16,5 and dealer I discussed one with said $16K even if I took one in stock.
  • I have got to get out and test one. $16k makes it really attractive, I'll investigate what typical aftermarket performance mods would cost. One area you'd have to address that I didn't on my GTI is wheels/ tires. Every article I've read on the SI says it needs more aggressive wheels/ tires. $3k should be more than enough to address any issues. Honda aftermarket mods are plentiful and cheap.

    Do you see many SI's on the road in your area? I've seen one since they came out - they are rarer than a MINI around here.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    I have not seen one on the road. There are 5 at the dealership though, and it is a small dealership.
  • I also haven't seen many of them around wher I live either. I think I may have seen 2 on the road and one on a semi heading somewhere. That was all in the last few months. Before that, the only one I'd ever seen was the show one at the Denver Auto Show back in March. That was my first in person view of it and I immediatly disliked the styling. I'd also have to say that even at $3000 less than a GTI, it's still not a great deal. It's more than easy to spend most if not all of that $3000 on upgraded wheels and tires just to get to where the GTI is as far as wheel & Tire fitment. What was left over if any wouldn't be enough to get you much over the 160 stock hp. I'd still rather have the GTI w/ 17's and spend another $1000 for a chip and some suspension mods and I'd have a good handling, 220+ hp GTI that will take on even moderatly modified Si's.
  • $3000 on upgraded wheels and tires to match the GTI? What for? I'm only talking about driving functionality, I don't need 17" wheels.

    So say you spend $2k modifying your GTI. All you have is a front wheel driver, with no warranty, known for being somewhat unreliable, costing slightly less than a WRX, and having inferior performance.

    That is why I'm not bothering talking about mods and all that, because you can always say, "well, for just $1000 more I can..." especially in this car segment.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    GTI MSRP for 03 is $19,640 and Si MSRP is $19,000. GTI has better performance, better wheels, better crash test rating, 2 year longer warranty. GTI is more fun to drive. As far as reliability the GTI has average to above average reliability scores so you must think the majority of all cars are known as "somewhat unreliable". Is this correct? Yes, it is common knowledge that the Honda should have better reliability since Honda is one of the best for reliability.
    And this is not a WRX comparision, the GTI will at least finish number 2 out of three in a race with the WRX, GTI, and Si with the Si dead last.
  • I was in he market for a new car and so my wive took me to the dealer with check book on hand I got a very good price 16,800 with dealers feed waved BUT to any find out that the car can't be have in A/T and my wive do not drive s/t. The salesman told me that that is the reason they are not selling to well even with discounts. right now they have around 20 of them in all colors.
    Greetings from sunny Miami.
  • So, ok you don't need 17's. You can buy whatever wheels you want, but the fact remains that with the standard wheel/tire fitment, the Si does not do so well. Virtually everyone who has tested and written about the new Si has determined that it definitely need more tire under it. To each his own I guess. So, so you don't spend the $3000 on wheels & tires. You decided to spend it on upgrades. Well, for $3000 you can probably find a turbo kit to give you more power. So, now you're up to maybe 220-240hp, which by the way can be had in the GTI less than $1000. Well, guess what, now you likely need new tires & wheels. The stock fitment of 195/60-15's can hardly handle 160 hp, much less 220. Plus, you will gain a significant amount in the area of handling with a more aggressive set of tires & wheels. Hondas are good cars, and they are reliable. But, I just don't really like what they've done with the new SI. The older ones weren't bad, I would have preferred if Honda had left good enough alone and made the Si out of the current coupe rather than doing it with a hatchback that looks like a squashed Odyssey minivan. If Honda had used the coupe as a base for the Si and given it a bit more tire underneath, maybe I'd be more persuaded, but so far i am not.
  • I'm not to sure that the lack of an auto transmission has hurt the sales as much as you believe. VW also doesn't sell the GTI VR6 with an auto either and they seem to be able to sell them well. I actually think that the reason the Si's aren't selling as well as they had planned is because Honda tried to be the aftermarket for this car. They know that Civics are the most wanted car when it comes to boy-racer types who want to buy them and modify their cars. Honda attempted to do all that stuff to the car themselves and try to corner the market a bit and gain some of that dough for themselves. Like I said in my previous message, if Honda had done the same mods to a coupe version of the Civic rather than the hatchback, it may be selling better. People like the coupes and sedans better than they do the hatchbacks. Even when Honda sold the hatchbacks as regular models, the sales weren't even close to what the sedan and coupe were bringing in. Plus, for the same price as an new Si, the potential buyer has many other tempting choices. They can take thier money and buy a civic coupe and have a few thousand dollars left over to begin modifying the car. They can go over to their local Acura dealer and pick up a new RSX which has the same engine, but, in my opinion, looks better outside. They can even save up a few thousand extra dollars and buy the RSX Type-S which comes with the engine the Si should have gotten if Honda wasn't afraid of stealing th RSX's thunder. These are just the options a potential buyer has from Honda MC, this doesn't even begin to go into the options one has when looking into the entries from all the other makes in the same price range. Honda just didn't hit the mark with this one, maybe the next version will do the Si name justice.
This discussion has been closed.