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Honda Civic vs Volkswagen Jetta



  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,707
    Ops, I probably should have clarified the targets for the Jetta, min of 5 belt changes, (500,000 miles) and more if possible. Again the design life for a TDI ALH engine is 25,000 miles (80% loading) As most folks know the good news and bad news is normal freeway speeds or an AVERAGE of 40-55 mph is probably no more that a 20-30% loading. So for me that puts the targets at the upper end of 1,000,000 to 1,250,000. So at 90,000 I have a ways to go. :)
  • BilKopBilKop Posts: 12
    Hi everyone!
    I'm about to buy my first car, had (in my mind) settled on a 2009 VW Jetta S, but after reading some of the posts on the VW forums, I'm not so sure.

    Another car I was considering is a Honda Civic, but we have one (2000), and there are many little things about it that annoy me - the tiny trunk, the noisy and bumpy ride, the ridiculous horn, and we have also had a million little things break on it, most recently the A/C which would cost a fortune to replace.

    Any advice?
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,707
    ..."Again the design life for a TDI ALH engine is 25,000 miles (80% loading"...

    Change miles to HOURS.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,707
    All cars, regardless of their reputations/marketing NEED/demand/require maintenance. Indeed your anecdotal experiences with Honda Civic really makes my case. The only question is whether maintenance is unscheduled/schedule or a combination. You of course can go to whatever web site and compare the scheduled maintenance and weigh the situation. Durability and reliability affects unscheduled maintenance. NO maintenance is an absolute myth !!!! You would be much better off if you expanded your education and do some to all; DIY and/or leave the major stuff to shops, mechanics, etc that you truly know do good work. Anymore, special tools and/or equipment and or costs can make it uneconomical for you to purchase and sometimes just rent.

    Your comments give me a sense that either you got a lemon Civic or more likely, just fix things when they no longer work.

    So for example, my Civic at 76,000 miles has been on the one hand EXCELLENT, but on the other hand, I have needed tires at 74,300 miles and three alignments. (we are not curb wackers). Compare this against a VW Jetta TDI that did NOT need an alignment at 100,000 miles and the oe tires are still rolling @ 111,000 miles. I run 20,000 /25,000 miles OCI's for the Civic/Jetta TDI respectively. At LIKE (76,000 ) mileage, while I have been satisfied with both, the Honda's consumable parts seem to wear 2 to 3 times FASTER.
  • BilKopBilKop Posts: 12
    Yes, I do realize that they need maintenance, I was more worried about having to spend tons of money on things breaking (people's examples have included faulty electrical wiring, etc.).

    "Your comments give me a sense that either you got a lemon Civic or more likely, just fix things when they no longer work."

    How is one supposed to fix things before they break?

    My husband is in charge of the Honda, and he takes it for all it's maintenance appointments, but it really has been one thing after another that has been going on it (forget what the thing is called that makes it sound like a tractor (English is not my first language), but that's been a problem several times, along with other non-life threatening issues, but annoying nonetheless). On the other hand, my sister-in-law had a Honda Accord for 10 years, and nothing broke on that. She says she probably spent a total of $300 on it during all those years.

    I am also wondering if people are more likely to post comments when they have bad experiences rather than good. I guess I'll just have to go with my gut feeling once I test drive one.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,707
    ..."How is one supposed to fix things before they break?"...

    While your quote might seem oxymoronic, indeed it is NOT. It is really a matter of listening, watching, etc. The car is really "talking to " you. It is really a matter of whether one choses to listen. So for example, you point out your husband is in charge of the maintenance. But indeed if he/she/it is not the primary or alternative driver, it is truly the responsibility of the primary driver (aka YOU).

    I will give you an example, as much as I brought up my daughters to know, listen for , understand, shown and watch them actually check what is important: they would rather go to funerals, have root canal, etc. (you get the drift, I hope)

    So one car was 300 miles/600 miles round trip AWAY, the other is currently 100/200 miles away. One made the 300 mile trip , 2 quarts LOW !!!!!!! GEEZ !! So I asked her when was the LAST time she checked the dipstick, !?? I mean if the engine burns up, its HER stuck in the middle of no where (some place in Santa Barbara/LA area) !!?? Not a good place for ANYBODY to be!!!

    So to get back to Honda vs Jetta, the chance seems lower with the Honda in getting a lemon/to lemonish. Of course that is no consolation if you truy have THE lemon (of whatever oem).
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The cost of maintenance on the VW will be notably higher; just call some dealers and ask how much some of the services cost (oil change, transmission fluid change, brake job, etc...). It's worth investigating.

    May I ask why you've limited your choices to the Civic and Jetta? There are some excellent vehicles out there in this price range if you aren't comfortable with purchasing either one.
  • tupuctupuc Posts: 27
    Those who are debating whether to buy a Civic or a Jetta / a Civic Si or a GTI,
    go and buy a Honda pleaseeee ;) I currently own a Jetta generation IV and I'm about to guy a 2009 Civic LX-S because of that. VW's are not total :lemon: but I've pretty much spend around 2000 dlls on reparations during the 5 years I've had it :sick: , this doesn't count the services.

    VW's are really nice and super fast but even the tiniest issue will cost you an arm and a leg, on the other hand if you are filthy rich :shades: , buy yourself a VW or an Audi
  • My lease is up in a couple of months. Mileage is 35k and the car has been fantastic so far. Residual is 10k-ish. I'm tempted to buy it, but I own a 2003 Passat and it's been rough on the old banky balancer. That too was a lease and the car was flawless until I bought it, and since then it's cost me an arm and a leg (thermostat,oil sludge etc). Has the 2005 Jetta got a better reputation as far as reliability goes? I know it's a gamble either way. I wonder if I should just turn it in and buy something else new (Honda/Hyundai perhaps?) Any feedback/tips/warnings would be gratefully received.
    Cheers then,
    Steve R.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    First, 10k is a very good price for a 2005.5 Jetta with 35k. But even then you can see if there is any room to negotiate on the purchase price--should be possible if the lease is through VW. Second, the New Jetta has a pretty good reliablity record, e.g. CR says it's Average for the 2005.5. Average isn't great, but considering they also say the predicted reliability of a new Camry is Average, maybe that's not too bad. If you like the car, it's been reliable for you, and you know exactly how it's been treated and maintained, it might be the best used car you could buy. Maybe check out what your VW dealer can do for you on an extended warranty--then you'd have the peace of mind of a warranty plus be able to keep your Jetta. Anyway, IMO the Jetta is at least as good if not better than comparable cars from Honda (Civic) or Hyundai (Elantra). Against the Elantra in particular, the Jetta is a more fun-to-drive and safer car.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,721
    comparing the Elantra to a Jetta? lol wow. I am not sure I would.

    Both Civic and VW are nice. I have an 08 Jetta!! Love it! But, expensive to maintain, no issues yet, but that oil change sets you back some change.
  • Thanks for the feedback. I meant to say "Sonata" rather than Elantra. The Sonata seems like a fair bit of car for the price, especially with the cash-back deal.
    I think I'm a little gun-shy with the VWs; I have a fear of being stuck paying for two of them and driving while holding my breath!
  • other than the fact that I'm 6'5" and don't fit into most Japanese cars easily, most of the extra weight of a Golf or Jetta compared to a Civic (Rabbit is 300 pounds heavier) is more steel protecting your a$$ in an accident.
    Civic's are OK head-on (the stuff they have to make strong to meet Federal rules) but when hit in the side or rear they are ... not very good (but better than, say, a Cavalier/Cobalt).
    Of all the fatal car accidents near Vancouver one winter, half the vehicles that people died in were Civics.

    As an RCMP mountie whose job is highway patrol in the mountains said to me: "I'd rather be in a German car with a seat-belt than a Japanese apple-crate with an air-bag" ... and this guy has lots of firsthand knowledge of "real car-crash tests".
  • Here are some notes from Edmund's 'car-comparison feature that I sent to a friend who is upset that he had to take his Golf into the dealer for a repair at 140,000 kms:

    You know how our rain varies, and you're always changing the variable intermittent wipers to match?
    No problem on a Honda ... variable intermittent is not available! (just one intermittent delay for the world)

    Lets check the other features:

    VW: Twin cams, Honda: single cam

    10 speakers in VW, 4 speakers in Honda

    VW: Black or Tan. Honda: Grey or .... grey

    The following is a list of VW Rabbit features (standard unless optional specified)
    optional sunroof: Not Available on Honda Civic
    intermittent wiper: Not Available on Honda Civic
    rear wiper: Not Available on Honda Civic
    heated seats: Not Available on Honda Civic
    split-folding rear seat: Not Available on Honda Civic
    remote power locks: Not Available on Honda Civic
    One-touch power windows: Not Available on Honda Civic
    heated mirrors: Not Available on Honda Civic
    power-adjusted mirrors: Not Available on Honda Civic
    Cruise control: Not Available on Honda Civic
    Speed Proportional power steering: Not Available on Honda Civic
    rear cup-holders: Not Available on Honda Civic
    cargo-area tie-downs: Not Available on Honda Civic
    power-outlet, cargo area: Not Available on Honda Civic
    center console: Not Available on Honda Civic
    rear-seat "easy entry" (front seat slides out of the way in 2-door model) Not Available on Honda Civic
    optional floor mats: Not Available on Honda Civic
    cargo area mats: Not Available on Honda Civic
    external temp. indicator: Not Available on Honda Civic

    rear disc brakes: Not Available on Honda Civic (except SI ... which is a pile more money)
    brake assist: Not Available on Honda Civic
    traction control: Not Available on Honda Civic
    stability control: Not Available on Honda Civic
    signals in mirrors: Not Available on Honda Civic
    remote anti-theft alarm system: Not Available on Honda Civic

    So, for the same price, the Civic has 1/2 the features of a base Rabbit, and isn't as safe.
    (of the extra-high safety rated cars, 1/2 are VW/Audis)

    No wonder the Japanese are profitable!

    Just thought you'd like an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    There are several inaccuracies in your post. e.g. moonroof is standard on the Civic EX trims, as is intermittant wiper (all), as are remote power locks, power mirrors, cruise, center console (all trims but base?), floor mats are standard on Civic I think, stability control is available on upper-end trims on Civic.

    Also re an earlier post re side crash safety, the Civic got "Good" (best") on the tough IIHS side impact crash test, so it is no slouch there.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    There are several inaccuracies in your post. e.g. moonroof is standard on the Civic EX trims, as is intermittant wiper (all), as are remote power locks, power mirrors, cruise, center console (all trims but base?), floor mats are standard on Civic I think, stability control is available on upper-end trims on Civic.

    All of what you say is true for US models, but maybe its different in Canada on SOME things. However, I'm looking at Honda-Canada's website for my info on the Civic, not VWs. To our friend who posted earlier, check out this link. It'll prove VW is untruthful/misinformed about the Civic. Click here to see it! Disc Brakes? Heated Leater Seats? Rear Armrest with Cupholders? Stability Control? Variable-Speed Intermittent Wipers? Yep, all available. I'd list more, but don't have the time to do so.

    Not picking a fight here, just trying to help you be more informed. :shades:

    Best regards,
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Well maybe so, eh, but I live in the US of A, eh.

    I would think there would not be that much difference in available equipment in Canada, though, e.g. no power locks? mirrors? cruise? floor mats (even as options)? And Canada gets features we sometimes don't get, e.g. some cars up there routinely get heated seats and mirrors but US cars don't (an example that comes to mind is the lowly Accent, that has heated seats available in Canada but not the US).

    Edit: I replied to your original post, not the edited version.
  • As I mentioned in the post, ALL information comes from EDMUNDS.COM using the compare vehicles feature.
    I noticed errors about the VWs too, where it lists something as "not available" when its either optional or standard.
    But it sounds like they are WAY off on the Civic features!

    I wonder why, for a car site, Edmunds has so many errors in its specs for cars?

    BTW: I love Honda's engines and they have good handling and are sportier than most Japanese cars. But I don't like the tinny doors ...
  • Comparing a Civic to a Rabbit makes sense.
    Comparing a Jetta to an Accord makes sense.
    (I used the compare feature with a Jetta 4-cyl. against a high-end Accord 4-cyl. and they were within a couple hundred on price and almost EXACTLY the same on features)
    So those make sense to me ... but a Civic vs. a Jetta ... well, they're not even close in features, size, price .... I don't get it.
  • Oops! I made a mistake there.
    I compared a 5-cyl, manual Jetta against a 4-cyl, manual Accord.
    Here: /
    The Honda has more HP, the Jetta has more Torque, they have similar performance.
    And they have almost IDENTICAL features.
    As close to the same car as you can get.
    The main difference is that the Accord price is roughly $5,500 higher than the Jetta's price.
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