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GTI or RSX?

scottsmiscottsmi Posts: 1
edited March 23 in Acura
I am trying to decide between a VW GTi (1.8 T w/ tiptronic) and an Acura RSX (auto/tiptronic). Have driven Hondas, both nearly to 200,000 miles with hardly a problem.

GTi seems like the tougher, firmer, faster car--without a doubt. A joy to drive. I felt safe and love the way the car drives. But I am beginning to get leery, particularly with all the poor reviews I see in Consumer Reports and JD Power, along with people posting awful reliability verdicts on the GTi.

The RSX is also a nice ride, not near the power and nowhere near as fun to drive. But it is reliable and I wouldn't have a reservation about its safety and reliability.

Basically, I will be driving on the weekends and out at night. (No commuting.) But I am a road tripper, frequently driving hundreds of miles a day over long breaks, so I need a car that would be reliable driving through God-knows-where at four in the morning on my way across the country. (My last road trip, in a rented Alero, involved a stretch from L.A. to Denver, one thousand miles with only bathroom breaks and fill-ups.)

Any thoughts from GTi and/or RSX owners would be appreciated. My heart leans toward the VW but my head is saying "stay away, go with the Acura."

Comments

  • Honestly, if you enjoy nagging little problems than the GTI is the car for you, all of those references you mentioned talking about the GTI's reliability (or lack there of) have been pointing this out for years......But people keep buying them.....I used to have an RSX-s, drive a TSX now and would never trust a VW the way I trust my Acura. Lots of people buy VW's, haven't figured out why though....good luck.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,851
    scottsmi, just talking as a regular car owner and not a host, my experience is that your 2nd paragraph sums it up nicely - the VW is a firmer car with a lot of "zip," and is really fun to drive. However, VW ownership generally requires tolerance for trips to the shop.

    I didn't have the GTi, but had a Jetta - I test drove the GTi, but it was slightly too small for my needs. As tommyijr pointed out, though, it tends to be nagging little problems rather than major breakdowns. My Jetta was a model year that was notorious for electrical problems, but I beat the odds and never had a problem. It's a grab bag, though.

    I also drove the Acura, and the seating position was totally different and not at all right for me. If reliability is a major priority for you, historically you'd want to stick with Acura.

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  • riopelleriopelle Posts: 132
    Hi,

    Having owned a GTI and a Beetle Turbo, I would never buy or recommend any VW Even though looks and power wise, the GTI 1.8T is an awesome car, the lack of reliability is ridiculous, and the handling is somewhat soft.

    The RSX is an great car. I'd also recommend looking at a Mazda 3 sport, another hatchback with 160hp but more torque that the RSX. I drive a Mazda P5 now and it has been a joy to own and drive.

    Good luck regardless.
  • Acuras/Hondas aren't perfect either. I'd say the majority of Civics 4 years and older have rippling in one or more body panels. Why? Probably because they use a very thin gauge of steel for cost and weight considerations but the end result is something, at least to me, looks very cheap. I have never seen very few VWs with this type of problem.

    I have had coil pack and window regulator problems with my 2002 GTI and the result was that I had to have the car for one overnight visit to the dealer. I don't call that a big deal and I was never left stranded. As a matter of fact I could not even tell there was coil pack issue but the window regulator problem was readily apparent on cold days!

    To me a bigger deal and inconvience would be having to have an oil change every 3k versus every 5k like I have in my VW. The result of that - assuming I have the car 100k miles - is that I have 8 fewer oil changes to do.

    I also have a 4 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty to allievate some of my concerns.

    The other thing is that VW has some of the highest resale values in its class so even if you don't like the car you can get rid of it without taking too big a loss.

    Also what is more important to you safety or reliability?

    I will put my VW up against any Japanese compact and beat them on safety features and overall design. Let's see the base Golf comes with 6 airbags standard! ABS, ESP and a sturdy as hell 2900 lb. chasis that garners excellent crash test results would rather have me in my GTI than a Protege, Civic, Lancer, etc. any day of the week

    For me letting a friend learn to drive stick on my new car without being overly worried was enough validation for me that the car was "reliable."
  • The RSX owners manual recomends oil change every 5k, not 3k. Acura also has been proven to be of higher resale value than VW....The RSX is classified as a luxury sports coup, the GTI is classified as a compact sports coup, JD Powers words, not mine, thus the difference in resale (blue book) value. A good friend of mine is in charge of the parts and service department for Russell VW in Maryland, he credits VW repairs for putting his kids through college.....
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    has that bank-vault feel to it, combined with the best interior. However, also a feeling of overweight when driven, and consequentially soft handling. Reliability is statistically way off, esp with turbos.

    You may be unpleasantly surprised by how small the RSX is inside - don't know if you've tried to sit in the back yet, for instance. GTI will have a lot more space. But RSX has the better powertrain of the two, IMO, and the better chassis control for sporty driving. Lightweight is good in this type of car!

    If you like fuel economy to go with the sport, RSX is better. Standard warranties are the same; both will likely consume oil as they age.

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

  • wetwilliewetwillie Posts: 129
    acuras do NOT have a higher resale. They may be in more demand because most people in this market are looking for basic transportation with maybe a nod towards performance - in looks only. The acura fills the bill in this respect.

    Drivers know better, sure the VW is not as absolutely reliable on the whole but so what? Drivers are more involved with the machine so that the quirks that are VW are more endearing than annoying.

    I have to admit the VWoA servicing is horrid but these cars (all cars) are so much more reliable than was the standard even 20 years ago we take it for granted all cars should be camcord reliable.

    That reliability comes at a price. The DRIVING experience between the Acura and GTI is as different as is the reliabilty. Just depends on what your priorities are.
  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    acuras do NOT have a higher resale. They may be in more demand because most people in this market are looking for basic transportation with maybe a nod towards performance - in looks only. The acura fills the bill in this respect.

    So the RSX is better for people looking for basic transportation and a some performance.

    Drivers know better, sure the VW is not as absolutely reliable on the whole but so what? Drivers are more involved with the machine so that the quirks that are VW are more endearing than annoying.

    So the RSX is better when it comes to reliability.

    I have to admit the VWoA servicing is horrid but these cars (all cars) are so much more reliable than was the standard even 20 years ago we take it for granted all cars should be camcord reliable.

    So the RSX is better when it comes to service.

    That reliability comes at a price. The DRIVING experience between the Acura and GTI is as different as is the reliabilty. Just depends on what your priorities are.

    So what are the priorities that make the GTI better than the RSX? So far, everything you've said has been for the RSX.
  • sts_pasts_pa Posts: 2
    I had a 2002 GTI 1.8T that gave me so many problems VW had to buy it back under the lemon law statutes. When a coil pack fails, you WILL be stranded (I was 3 times) as the car cannot be driven. When the window retainer clip fails, you WILL be stranded unless you don't mind driving/parking with a window down. There are also numerous creaks/groans and other unexplainable gremlins.

    I bought a 2003 RSX-S and have had ZERO problems in 11 months. The manual stated oil changes every 10,000 miles and the maintenance schedule has nothing major until 100K miles.

    The GTI had more torque (after the turbo lag) and the heated seats were great, but the RSX feels just as nice inside. The Acura has a more precise feel to the steering and the shifter is much better.
  • Both of these cars are hot hatches, that is "basic transportation and some performance," but one of the reasons I went with the GTI is that it is a full hatch(rather that a fastback) that provides more utility than an RSX would.

    Yes that is 4-adults-and-a-large-dog hauling type of utility I am speaking of.

    My experience with the base RSX is that the only dealer in town wouldn't budge from 20k while I had the 3 VW dealers bidding against each other to finally come down to $150 over invoice. That adds up to almost a $2k difference back in the spring of 2002.

    $2k more for 20 less hp and a whole lot less torque? And a whole lot less inexpensive potential. APR and Revo can have me at ~ 240 ft. lbs of torque for under $1k. How much money do you have to put in a base RSX to see that much torque. With a $4k turbo setup possibly?

    Also I have been to three dealers, two in Austin and one in San Antonio, and have gotten good service from 2 of the those 3. Yes I got horrible service and attitude from that third one, but my point is that if you have more than one VW dealer in your area you should be able to find one you can work with and all you have to do is keep going back since any dealer has to honor warranty service.

    RSX Type S is in a more expensive price bracket than the 1.8t GTI(if that is the one we are talking about).

    RSX is a good car, but why do the dealers(in my experience) talk more about the reliability/resale aspects than performance? Why did my dealer try to convince me to go for the automatic?

    BTW: my bad coil packs never stranded me.
  • biggie2biggie2 Posts: 45
    The '04 GTIs and Jettas are far more reliable than the '01. I would feel secure buying a vehicle that has had five years of fine tuning and reliability fixes.

    If you were buying used i would tell you to stay far away, but i truly believe that these new '04s are fine vehicles.

    Other than reliability, the vehicle overall is nicer than a base RSX, no question.
  • the_manthe_man Posts: 15
    Get A Ford Focus SVT. Don't complain that its a manual . Anybody can learn to drive stick. You can't go wrong by driving stick. Plust it'll cost you less in your initial purchase.
  • joshsjoshs Posts: 22
    I drive an RSX-S (I know you're looking at a base), and I love it.

    Rather than get into a game of VW vs. Acura in general, or point out things you can learn from Edmunds and Consumer Reports, a few points occur to me:

    1). If you're attached to the idea of an automatic/tiptronic, I'd say that is a point in favor of the GTI...I don't like the Acura's sport shift, but the GTI's is okay. Still, the_man was right and learning how to drive a stick isn't all that hard (and worth it once you do).

    2). In my experience, Acura dealers seem to not budge at all until you have a rival bid, and then they seem to deal pretty readily. If you're in a small area this might not help, but when I shopped in the greater Chicago area I had no trouble getting a good deal. If you're concerned about price, don't let this turn you off of the RSX.

    I find the Acura to be a better car than anything else in the price range, but remember that I live with the type-S, so that experience might not apply.
  • I'm looking for a used car. At this point, it's between a RSX-s or a Celica GT-s. Right now, it's leaning on the Celica. But I've heard some problems with it. Problem is, I can't find a RSX-type S anywhere. Extremely hard to find. Should I continue to keep looking, or just get a Celica. Don't get me wrong, I like them both, it's just a matter of getting the most bang for the buck.
  • Having driven a base RSX and a GT-S I would probably go with the RSX Type S(yes, even though I haven't driven that particular model).

    I think the RSX's exterior styling is already wearing much better than the Celica's and the RSX's interior can't be beat in its category even though the GTI equals it.

    Also I did not like the tight gear spacing on the Celica's 6 speed.

    You may have to look outside your area to find a Type S, but if you remain unconvinced try test driving(if you haven't already) new versions of both these cars since I don't think they have changed much since they came out.

    Oh and if you are looking for best bang for the buck try a used WRX or Dodge SRT.
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