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Honda Civic Si vs. VW GTI



  • inigocoinigoco Posts: 51
    I agree with your reasoning on why the GTI didn't win that comparison, but first I'd like to comment on you. Why are you backing a car you don't even own? Especially when you've said yourself that you dislike FWD cars. What is your main purpose in backing the Si here when you don't even own either of the cars being compared here?

    Anyway, back on the subject. I've read that story time and time again so I know what you're saying. With being fun to drive being the main 2 priorities, a go-kart, Jeep, or motorcycle could have won this test if only it hadn't been limited to hatchbacks. I really wish i had a scan of the whole article because the magazine shows a lot more data than the story online. They have the lap times for each car with a break-down of what the speeds and times were at various points. Plus, they have a break down of the point and how they were scored. It gives a lot more in-depth look into each vehicle and why it scored what it did. I haven't read the actual issue in a few months and I forgot to find it last night, but I'll see what I can do.

    I just find it strange that you feel that the way they described the handling of the Civic is better than that of the GTI. Last I checked, a car that understeers and "eats it's outside tires for lunch" wasn't the best handler. Like it was said in the story, the Si is tuned for "safe stability" not track handling. Plus, don't you think that that little annoying problem of eating outside tires might have something to do with the Si having tires that are not up to the task? That being said, I'd say the Si and GTI are on an equal handling level. One has tires that are not made to handle the handling ability of the chassis and the other has more body roll than it needs. If it weren't for the shifter, the VW likely would have beaten out the Si, though it still would likely have been beaten by the Focus anyway.

    Now, onto the next section, the performance part. You're fooling your self if you believe that the Si and GTI are closer in acceleration than was stated in the story. They even said themselves the the Si is 156 lbs. heavier than the old version and it has the same horsepower and a little more torque, so you can't expect the times to change that much and they didn't. The 0-60 times of a '99-00 Civic Si are listed as 7.9 sec on So, it's easy to assume that the new Si, being 156 lbs. heavier and only a slight gain in torque would post similar numbers.
    As far as the GTI, there have been numerous tests of the GTI in all it's forms and they are all quite similar as well. The 150 HP version was tested at 7.3 sec. 0-60. The VR6 version with 174 HP and a little more weight ranges from 6.9 to 7.7. Now look at the New Beetle Turbo S which has essentially the same powertrain as the GTI except for the 6-speed tranny. The 0-60 times for that are 6.7 sec. So, again, like the Si, it's very easy to assume the actual times for both of the cars to be within a few tenths of a second of what the testers in C&D came up with. Plus, if we add in the Focus SVT, it has 170 HP, right in the middle of the Si and GTI and it's 0-60 time of 7.8 sec. is also between the Si and GTI. The reason the SVT's time is a lot closer to the Si is due to the fact that the GTI wins the torque battle quite handidly against both cars and torque is what creates acceleration.

    Now for price. The C&D test assumed that the Si would be sold at MSRP, not a massivly discounted price, so they did the test giving each car an equal grounding. You, on the other hand, are giving the Si a handicap. Many others agree that at an equal price, the GTI wins out. It just seems tha buyers are not buying that the Si is worth the same as a GTI, and for good reason. What does the Si have that the GTI doesn't? By my count, only the Recaro seats. You can get Recaros for a GTI, but you have to get the 337 Edition which also includes larger brakes, a 6-speed trans, and upgraded handling. The GTI, on the other hand has heated seats, automatic up & down windows, lower-profile wheels and tires than the Si, better brakes than the Si, traction control, a 200 watt stereo w/ 8 speakers while the Si has 120 watts and 6 speakers, standard side airbags, which are an option on the Si and side-curtain airbags which aren't even offered on the Si. This is why the GTI is more expensive than the Si. It comes down to more than just handling or straight-line speed. Buyers of GTI's get a lot more for the money which is why they are willing to pay more for the GTI than the Si. Everyone is free to have their own opinion, but the case has been made and it's easy to see why buyers would choose a GTI, but it's also easy to see why buyer would choose an Si, especially with the price difference.
  • mikosmikos Posts: 6
    but, but, but.. I used to be a die hard Honda fan up until 2000. I went German and will never go back. For the sake of this discussion.. gather your buddies together. Go to the Honda dealer and have everyone drive a new Si.. then run across the street and drive a new GTI.. oh, with the VR6 and the 6SPD..

    Now, come back to this discussion.. how many of you are still laughing from the rush you got from the GTI? How many of you are feverishly scratching your head trying to figure out how the heck you're going to afford the price difference? Oh.. but you will.. Why? Because now.. there is no comparison and you can't wait to have that rush every day.. The GTI is Gran Turismo!
  • I also agree that for an equal price, the GTI wins.

    I think we got our lines crossed somewhere back there. Because I agreed all along that the Si was not worth MSRP, and if I had to pay MSRP for both cars, I would have bought the GTI. (although I may not have said it in those words)

    Also, I do own an Si, and I made quite a few references to my driving experience in my last post. (I even wrote exactly how much I paid and my APR) I wanted a roadster, but wasn't sure I was ready to give up the convenience of 4 seats and a trunk (in the case of the MR-2) I think the GTI is a great car, but I don't think (and this is my opinion) that it's worth $3,500+ more than I paid for my car.

    This reminds me of arguments with Miatas. It could almost be described as gutless, yet it's very very pleasurable to drive. It's the best selling sports car of all time.

    Cars are not composed of numbers and features, they are complete packages. That's very important to remember. The Si can give up everything you say to the GTI, and still win a comparison, because it's just a fun car.

    The reason I argue for the Si, isn't even because I own one. It's because many people act as if the Si is the worst thing that Honda has ever done, and that's without even driving the car. I want to make sure that people give it a fair shake.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    That's it I HAVE to get out and test an SI - this weekend for sure. The SI wasn't out when I got my 02 GTI 1.8t so it wasn't on my compare list back then. Cost was an issue though, a few thousand dollars did make up my mind on the GTI, so did the fact that it's so inexpensive to modify. The other car that made the final two on my list was a base Mercedes C230k - back then they weren't giving discounts on the C230k, a 6 speed was $25k - $26k the way I wanted with two minor options (17" wheel package and Xenons). Now my local MB dealer is discounting the 02's $3,500! If they did that last year I'd very likely be in the MB. I AutoX'd my GTI last weekend at an SCCA event, I was suprised to see how many C230k's were there - 4 or 5, they did very well. Another car that did great were the older modified Civics by the way. My GTI is a fantastic AutoX vehicle too as are Miata's and MR2's.

    I take magazine test comparisons with a grain of salt. Testing a car is one of the most subjective things anyone can do - everyone approaches it from a different persective. I'd never let a test comparison in some biased, hack magazine sway me toward a particular car. I get out there and do my own comparisons with the sales person grabbing the dash and stomping on his imaginary brake pedal for most of the test drive :-)
  • I look forward to hearing your opinion on the Si. However, I'm sure it's going to pale in comparison to your little monster.

    And my first choice for a car was an MR-2. But it's probably the most impractical car made, and it would probably have run me at least $6-7,000 more than the Si.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I recently tested an MR2 with the sequential shift transmission - I haven't had that much fun in a long time. The MR2 is an absolute blast to drive. It would be my first choice in a heartbeat if it weren't so impractical, no luggage space whatsoever, just some cubbies behind the seats, I need an all around car with a hatch and rear seat.

    I plan to head out to the Honda dealer this afternoon for an SI test drive.
  • jsg5jsg5 Posts: 4
    I've now test driven both the 2003 Si and GTI, and I have to say, I'm leaning toward leaving Honda after owning them for 20 years. The VW is clearly faster, at least in the around town type driving I'm likely to do, and the GTI's interior is simple and classy compared to the Civic's busyness. I can't stand that metallicized plastic console over the shifter, and for me the driving position was not that comfortable- the steering wheel requires you to extend your arms too much.
    Having said all that I'm still leery of the VWs. The Civic is a good car, and I've had great reliability with all my Hondas. How's VWs recent record? I know their past is not so hot, but things seem to be improved. Appreciate any feedback.
  • If you are going to compare the SI which is $19,000 to a $21,000 GTI why not compare the GTI to a $23,000 RSX.

    Buy what you like. You can make arguments either way for either vehicle. The SI has a better tranny but the GTI faster. The GTI has better brakes but the SI handles better. For me, at $16,000 the SI was an unbeatable deal especially when taking into account VW's iffy reliability.
  • jsg5jsg5 Posts: 4
    Not sure where you found the Si for 16K, but I'm in South Fla. and the best price I have so far is at the dealer invoice- 17,800. I was quoted 18,300 for the GTI so there's not much difference in money. Have not yet looked at the RSX, but I doubt it will be in the price range of either. A lot really comes down to personal preference- I prefer the VW, others may not. But it is the reliabilty issue that gives me pause.
  • I guess the price depends on where you are because here in GA I got my first one for $16,300 including tint and when I totalled that one I got the next one for $16,900 including fog lights, splash guards, and mats. The GTI is a nice car, don't get me wrong. In July when I bought my SI I had a chance to buy a 01 GTI VR6 GLX w/ 17k for $15,500 (kinda says something about it's resale value huh?) but VW's reliability scared me away.
  • You can buy a civic si in south florida for around 16,700 at braman honda or rick honda.
    Greetings from sunny Miami.
  • "In July when I bought my SI I had a chance to buy a 01 GTI VR6 GLX w/ 17k for $15,500 (kinda says something about it's resale value huh?) but VW's reliability scared me away. "

    Going to and looking at how much used GTIs would be worth, a GLX like you describe is worth $16.8k private party value in "fair" condition. In "good" it would be $18.1k. To get an '01 model year down to $15.5k it took a GLS in "fair" condition. Edmunds Used TMV prices were slightly lower, but still, that price you were offered almost seems like an anomaly. VW resale value is generally regarded very highly.

    If resale value was really a concern for anyone, I don't think the '02 Si has good resale in its future. If you have to give it away (well below invoice) to get people to buy a new one...

    And on the subject of reliability, while Honda may be the benchmark, besides window regulator issues, VW has been making strides in recent years, as have many other car manufacturers. So, basically, I don't see why it scared you away that much.

  • I'm with you, after driving the MR2 I was very sold, but I had promised myself never to buy anything the first time I went to a dealership.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    NHTSA website for either VW Jetta or new beetle for the last three years or so. We wil have to wait to see if they are really making the strides you refer to. In the meantime, I would go with the Honda for reliability. As far as resale, since they can't give them away new, I think SI's will become to the normal Honda low-depreciation rule. Lease one instead, and leave the problem of resale to the dealer.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gotenks: If you do trade in value on you will see that a GLX in good condition is worth 15,900. This particular one was clean but the guy had springs on it and an exhaust. That probably drove the value down a bit. If I go and option a new GLX the price is $25,000 MSRP .. that's a drop of almost $10,000 in a little over a year. That's not good in my book. Compare that to my 2000 SI which had a MSRP of $17,500 and now almost 3 years and 33,000 miles later kbb puts it at $11,300 trade. That's only a loss of $6,000 with twice the miles and twice the age as the VW.

    My 2002 SI may not hold crazy value like the 99-00's but it should hold it just as well as a Prelude, which they had a problem selling too. A nice clean Prelude will still get good money because they are rare just like the 02 SI's are going to be. Honda's problem isn't that the SI is bad I just think they tried to sell too many of them. They shoulda taken a clue from Ford and Mazda when it comes to projected sales. Ford brought 5000 SVT's here and Mazda is bringing 2000 MS3's .. that's a more reasonable number. With the economy kinda in the gutter right now it's hard to justify a $19,500 small hatchback .. now if more people knew you could buy them for around $17,000 it might be different.

    VW"s reliability scares me away because I work for a car dealer and see them come in every day with various problems and our buyers will tell you to stay away from VW products. Plus, like I said, the 01 I was looking at had the sorry 2/24 warranty which only gives you 2 years of coverage for the thing that goes wrong on VW's the most .. electricals.
  • Actually, those resale values work out pretty closely. Basing it with the MSRP of the GTI between $23-24k (they probably went for under sticker when new though, I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether or not the Si went under sticker either), the GTI retained in the mid-60s, percentage-wise, of its value. The Si did the same.

    With the '02 Si apparantly not being as desirable as its predecessors though, is there really going to be a strong enough demand for it to keep its resale value up? The Prelude's resale value is impressive, about equal to the GTI's (about $23k-ish MSRP down to $15.5k trade-in for an '01 17k), but I still have my doubts about the '02 Si. Only time will tell, of course.

  • But the difference is that the GTI only held 60% of it's value after 1 year while the SI retained approx 65% of it's value after 2 years and twice the mileage.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The 99-00 Si was only available for two years and was always scarce. You are comparing value, and supply/demand with quality and desireability and performance. This is a poor comparision is not really fair. Try comparing the limited edition GTI 337 MSRP $22,335 with the Si. Used 337's sell for more than MSRP new. How is that for retained value? Not a fair comparision is it? The 99-00 Si was a car that was actually popular compared to the current Si which is unpopular and difficult for dealers to get rid of.
  • Setting the 99/00 SI aside and a Civic LX 5-speed (far from rare, it is the most popular Civic model) still holds aprox 58% of it's value over the same 2 year 33,000 mile time period as the SI. Still better than 1 year of depreciation for the VW. And I have seen some very clean 00 SI's still get around $17,000, which is how much it cost when new, so the 337 doesn't impress me yet. Especially when they only sold 1500 337's vs. 30,000 SI's over a two year period.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Hondas are ridiculously good in terms of depreciation - almost nothing out there can beat them. One COULD conceivably ask whether this depreciation rate relative to the rest of the market is truly deserved nowadays...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

This discussion has been closed.