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VW Golf vs Honda Civic



  • goopgoop Posts: 23

    Depends on if you want a hatch or a 4 door sedan, really. I have a hatch because the cargo space is pretty darn good, and that's why I picked the GTI over the Jetta. Not to say that you can't fit a lot of stuff in a Jetta, but I think the hatch is more versatile.

    Also the Golf/GTI is a tad bit faster since it weighs less than the Jetta, but I'd say this isn't too huge of a deal for most folks.


    Fortunately I have a friend that works at Bike Barn so I can swing some deals. I've got a 15w halogen headlight that I love - I never worry about cars not seeing me at night, although I try to avoid them when at all possible. I'm thinking about hitting the Village tonight for a quick beer - it's a good excuse for a ride. :)
  • chimaerachimaera Posts: 1
    Just purchased a 2000 Civic Hatchback DX automatic. Does anyone know the maximum speed for each gear (auto)? Also, I recently noticed that the lock-up torque converter does not lock up until the car reaches approx above 55mph. At lower speed, no matter how smooth the car is running on a flat straight road, I just couldn't get the converter to lock up. Or it is too subtle to be noticed?

    Any opinions will be greatly appreciated.
  • plush1plush1 Posts: 12
    I'll have to agree with what one guy said earlier, there's no comparison between a Civic DX Hatchback and a VW Golf. I own a 2000 Civic DX Hatch and I must say that it's a good car - it serves its purpose and I'm more than happy with it. I have a friend who own a 1999 VW Golf and it's a more impressive ride. I almost bought one myself but I just couldn't sacrifice that Honda reliability for anything. I think a Civic Si is a better comparison for a VW Golf. VW sure knows how to put together a car, I gotta say, but they're too damn expensive! The way I see it, the novelty always wears off, no matter what you drive. I've owned a lot of cars over the years (i.e., VW Beetles, BMW, Datsun, Toyota, Acura) and for some reason I always lose interest real fast. I guess that's why I've been through so many cars. Anyhow, the 2001 Civic is coming out sometime this fall, we'll see how that generation will do against the VW Golf...
  • I drove my wifes '95 Jetta GLS 5-speed this weekend on a long road trip. It was hot and the AC was always on. The 2.0L eight valve doesn't even let you notice that the AC is on. The 2.0l makes plenty of power between the 2500-5000rpm range where the engine is majority of the time. Later that day I got in my friends '98 Civic EX (127hp VTEC)Coupe with a 5-speed. The car runs great, but it is not happy until the tach reaches 5000rpm. Otherwise the car feels really under powered. The AC kills the Civic. Both are ok cars, but I would rather stick with the VW. The 2.0L's power is more suited for normal driving and it got 35mpg on the highway to boot. I'm not how much heavier the new VW's are, but the 115hp 2.0L is great with a 5-speed in the MK3 models. my .02 cents
  • qwordqword Posts: 20
    Like I've said in my earlier post, I absolutely loved my mk3 Golf which was a 94 model. The 2.0L 115 hp @ 122 ft. lbs. of torque was perfect for my little car. It was only a mere 2200 pound car. I was happy with the stock performance of the car even before I added a few goodies to it. I really don't know the specs of the mk3 Golf in stock trim but it sure felt faster than any Civic I've ever ridden in which includes the Si, which I know it's not as fast as.....
  • rskipk1rskipk1 Posts: 4
    Just checked out this topic for the first time and read most of the posts. I have a 96 jetta with the 2.0l engine, not a Golf but close enough. My best fried drives a Civic Hatch and there just wasn't anything about his car that made me even LOOK at a Civic over the VW. The standard features alone that come with the VW are excellent, the Honda DX is stripped, just like the skimpy Corolla from Toyota. Driving the VW, regardless of the sophistication of the engines, is so different from the Honda because you are just more connected to the road, better handling and better feel through the steering. VW's engine may not be the most advanced but it is "Bulletproof" as was quoated in Car and Driver and I trust those guys, been reading their stuff for years. I guess for my two cents I just want to say that it definetly comes down to personal preference. I know a lot of friends who rive Hondas and love them, I know reliability is a word thrown around alot in this forum and the people who trash VW don't always own one. I do, it has over 70k on it, absolutely no problems and it gives so much back in character and feels glued to the road. I'm happy we're all different and someone's junk is someone else's treasure. Peace.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    On a VW, the engines seem to be pretty good...It's everything else that falls apart...
  • gtiman1gtiman1 Posts: 4
    WOW! Strong words from somebody who apparently sells "tin cans" on wheels for a living!
  • davidmasdavidmas Posts: 12
    got a price quote of $17635 for a golf gls tdi 5 speed. Any comparisons out there? Hear anything about changes in the 2001 model year? I understand pricing remains the same.
  • plush1plush1 Posts: 12
    Hey man, let's cut out the trash talking! Of course everyone out there thinks that what they drive is the best thing on four wheels. Hondas and VWs are both decent cars! I've owned both and never had any problems with any of them, especially the Hondas. I think that import car lovers oughtta stick together. You wanna talk about "tin cans on wheels," then let's talk about domestic cars...!
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Import car enthousiasts should stick together although many seem to be German car fanatics as well as Japanese. I like both because I go autocross racing a lot and have seen what a modified GTI and Civic can do at the track. I guess we also stick with what we know and have learned to trust. My '97 Civic DX HB just turned 105K mi. and has only seen the dealer once for a broken speed sensor that was under warranty (the speedometer went dead which I liked because the odometer wasn't registering!). When it reaches 150K mi. I 'll most likely trade it in for another Civic only because I 've had good luck with this one. I have a lead foot, the car's been in 2 accidents (not my fault, $1250 and $5500!), it averages 80-85mph, and it doesn't burn an ounce of oil. My friend's '92 Civic head gasket went at 210K mi. and he gave it away to the neighbor's 16yr old. The kid replaced the gasket and is still driving the car. It's all about personal experience and what people around you recommend. As far as driving experience, etc. the Gold is probably a more solid car, being heavier and everything and comes with more options but it's also a few thousand more so again this is not a fair comparison.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • ham535ham535 Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2000 Civic HB DX in May and have found the automatic transmission to shift rough. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it knows it should shift when going up a hill. When it shifts on a flat road it almost feels like the brakes are being applied. Sometimes when I am driving slow it seems like it down shifts and feels like I am driving over a rut in the road. Should I be concerned about these characteristics? Please help!
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    All auto-trannies do this that were built from like '94 & up. They incorporate what is called fuzzy-logic technology. When the car is uphill, the tranny keeps it in low gear to hold the car back in case you 're in bad weather or whatever and it's also safer that way. The tranny actually brakes the car back, holds it back. This can be countered by stepping on the gas and accelerating downhill, the tranny will eventually upshift.
    Same thing uphill. The tranny keeps it in low gear to give you more power. If it upshifts uphill your car will start slowing down. You need the high RPMs to accelerate uphill!
    Now on a flat road it should be shifting pretty smoothly, some do, some don't. But if you think it shifts too hard and abruptly, you should bring it in and have it checked. Also try and get them to let you drive another automatic Civic to see what it does. I 've never driven a '96-00 auto Civic (I have older ones) and my '97 is a 5-sp.
    The uphill and downhill symtoms you describe though, are identical in both my wife's old '95 Galant (lease-gave back) and her leased '98 Galant as well as many other autos that I 've rented in the last few years.
    As far as I know, the Civic auto trannies shift fairly smoothly so there maybe something that needs to be done with yours. The dealer will fight you and tell you everything is normal. Don't accept that for an answer. Ask them to prove it to you (hopefully by letting you drive another recent auto model). Go to NHSTA's site too and see if there are any "technical service bulletins" on your car.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    This is what I found at NHTSA's web site ( This is a technical service bulletin from Honda and there should be a remedied by the dealer:
    Service Bulletin Number: 00012
    Bulletin Sequence Number: 125
    Date of Bulletin: 0004
    NHTSA Item Number: SB612545
    Make: HONDA
    Model: CIVIC
    Year: 2000

    This is why I went with the 5-sp. Honda has always had mediocre auto trannies. Even the Integra ones had problems up until 2-3 yrs ago. Honda makes one of the best manual gear boxes..
    Mention this technical bulletin or printi it out and show it to the dealer if you decide to go see them about it.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • ferdulaferdula Posts: 2
    I think I read on a web site that they are not making honda civic hatchbacks next year!!!
    The horror of it all. Has anyone else heard this?
  • robg7robg7 Posts: 2
    So. I agonize for months over whether to buy another Honda Civic (old one lasted 13 years without a problem) or a Golf.

    I buy the Golf despite reservations about their reliability.

    The day after I buy it I notice the automatic
    transmission is very jerky. It gives my girlfriend a headache. That's not relevant, but it gives the story a mood of aggravation.

    I take it back to the dealer.

    They say "It needs a software reset". I say
    "reset that software!".

    Later they say "It needs automatic transmission
    fluid". I say "pour in that fluid!".

    Later they say "it needs a new automatic
    transmission". I say "this totally sucks".

    So I call VW of America and say "This is not what
    I paid for. if I wanted a car with a repaired transmission I would have saved money and bought a used car. give me a new car". They say "Warranty" and put in a new automatic transmission.

    I understand their view. The cant give out a new car everytime one of them has a substantial defect. Also, though I'm p.o.-ed, everyone from VW was very nice on the phone and probably a
    good person.

    In the end, however, I have a car that I don't have a lot of confidence in, already has a repair history to cough up when I sell the car, and generally dont want.

    Tough beans for me.

    Next time a Civic.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    Any new car can have a problem.

    That is why warranties exist. It sounds like they took care of things for you.

    You do not have to "cough up" the repair history....who would care anyway?

    I am not a VW lover as the regulars here are aware.

    Still, I'm sure it was an isolated problem.

    Enjoy your car!

    And...It's true...the last Civic Hatchbacks have been built. Too bad although the hatchback market is a declining one.
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    Here in NJ I see more and more and more...

    For obvious reasons most of the newer ones are Golfs and Foci (plural of Focus).

    I am certain that the hatch segment of the market is far from dead. Hatchbacks need not be 'inexpensive' cars to the point where the manufacturers view it as a thin-margin segment.

    Golfs, Acura, Saabs, all those brand prove that you can market hatches in several different price categories.

    On the other hand, I bet that 5 years down the road, the 'SUV years' will be a bad memory and most of those brontosaurs will be impossible to sell.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    "On the other hand, I bet that 5 years down the
    road, the 'SUV years' will be a bad memory and most of those brontosaurs will be impossible to sell."

    AMEN again!

    My neighbor has a green '00 Golf TDI and he 's already having problems with intermittent "engine" lights and stuff and they may be replacing the computer because the dealer doesn't really know what's wrong! His pissed because he 's only had the car since Feb. and he 's been to the dealer too many times. He raves about the gas mileage though but complains it's too slow (automatic). I told him there is a chip for it but would void the warranty. He said "that's the last thing I need right now"! :)
    I feel sorry for him because he is a very passive guy and doesn't yell at the VW dealer as much as he should to get his problem fixed.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    i had two honda's before i bought a vw. let me tell you, the civic with 250 000 miles on the odo didn't need as much attention as the vw with little over 100 000 miles. thank god i didn't encounter any electrical problems that i have heard can be a real headache. but, i needed to replace water pump three times in three years that i owned it. a couple of times the car would overheat at highway speeds, but when i tested the thermostat it was fine. once i lost the sparks completely, then they reappeared the next morning when came up to the car with hands full of tools. the car wouldn;t start when hot, i had to replace the temperature sensor twice. i had to carry tools with me and spare parts when i drove long distance. that is how paranoid the car has made me. it wasn't funny when i was coming back from canada, and the custom's officer thought i was carrying the contraband. then he laughed when he saw that there were tools, and spare parts in the trunk.
    i do admire vw's handling and an immpresive torque from an 8V engine.
    when it was time to get a new car i had no doubts that i was getting a honda.

    have you seen new audi's and vw's and for some reason the rear left brake light is always on. i see alot of the german cars with that problem. not only vw's and audi's but mercedes' and porche's as well. i wonder if it has anything to do that they share wiring harness made by the same company (bosch i think)
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    To me, although I have never owned any, there is no question that most japanese cars surpass the competition as far as reliability is concerned. I have owned three VWs without a single problem, and my present car is a new 2001 GTI 1.8t (so far so good). The cars that really make my heart go 'bang' are alfas, ...not exactly renowned for their reliability either - but as far as driving thrills, they are simply unsurpassed in my experience.

    But then, I am not (yet) concerned about reliability to the point where it makes me buy Honda or Toyota. Sure, some of their cars (Civic Si, Integra, Celica) are both fairly exciting and original. But you cannot say that about the rest of the range. Some will retort 'RELIABILITY'!!! But, again, TO ME, that's not enough.

    And at the end of the day, I am a little skeptical about posts like the own preceding this one. NO, I have not noticed that Audis and VWs and Mercedes and Porsches drive around with a brake light on. Give ME a ...brake! There is no arguing that those cars will not be as trouble free as a Honda Civic or Accord - but you are comparing apples and oranges!!!

    On the other hand, I see thirty (or forty) year old Beemers, Porsches, Mercedes, - and yes, even VWs just about everyday. How many Japanese cars from the same period do I see? Nada, zilch, zero. Some will argue that 'they' only made motorcycles back then, but I still see more old BMW bikes than Kawasakis!!!

    Mercedes, with its E-Class produces the arguably absolute reference of reliability as far as I know (in my home country, they are the only cars which cab owners buy, with a lifetime horizon of well into 400K miles).

    The Golf is the best selling car on a stand-alone basis in Europe. It certainly wouldn't have achieved that status with a flawed reliability image.

    Now, to set things straight: I don't dislike Japanese cars. In fact, every now and then, we see some true original cars coming from the land of the rising sun. I love the Miata. I really like the Nissan ZX 280 and 300s. I think the Mazda Millenium is beautifully styled. The Acura is an elegant and no-nonsense sporty hatch. The small Civic hatches have always had a warm place in my heart (not the US stripped-down version though). The Mazda rotary engined sportscars had my fancy for a while.

    So again, apples and oranges. We all welcome the Japanese cars for their reliability. We should also give 'other' car manufacturers their due, for being bold enough to be creative and producing cars which light up our passion. I say thank you Enzo and Ferdinand!
  • That's not a brake light, but rather, a parking light. Those cars must have been produced in Germany and imported. There is some kind of law in Germany (or used to be?) that cars parked overnight on the street must have parking lights on the traffic side. So German cars have a switch to turn on either side of the parking lights. Owners of those vehicles you have seen must not realize the switch is on or what it is for.
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    I remember forgetting that light myself when I drove a rented Merc back in Germany. That explains it.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    You have an '87 Integra with 275K mi. on it and you 're on the original gear box and everything? wow! What about the clutch? Is it auto or 5-sp?
    I love g1 Integras (actually like all gens)
    My friend had bought a new '88 Integra LS. I would drive his car every chance I got. It was pretty similar to my friend's '86 Prelude Si which held a special place in my heart, with similar engine and handling characteristics, (Prelude was a little better) etc. In '94 he sold it with around 95k mi. on it because he though it might start giving him problems since it's nearing 100k mi. I told him he is crazy.. I wanted to buy it but since my car at the time was only a couple of years old and was paying for 2 cars (wife's too), I couldn't afford it. He sold it to a mutual friend who still drives the car today with over 200K mi. on it. He did have to replace the clutch and pressure plate though about a year ago but that's about it. Oh I think the radiator had a leak and he got a used one recently. I think that's because he drives on dirt roads a lot to get to his log cabin (vacation home). A couple of the doors are starting to rust though. 275k though is an accomplishment with almost no problems like you said. We 'd be courious to know when you hit 300K. Please let us know!
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    >The Golf is the best selling car on a stand-alone
    >basis in Europe. It certainly wouldn't have
    >achieved that status with a flawed reliability

    Let's not forget the quotas and tariffs that the EU places on imports... thereby limiting the saleability of Japanese vehicles. Just my $0.02
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    vw is doing great in europe because they selll them cheaper there than they do here. no one would pay $18G in germany for a VW.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    They transport them much cheaper too. They put them on a train and they can get to like 90% of Europe that way. In my last trip to Greece, people were drooling over the Civic VTI hatcback with 170hp (GSR engine!) but it was too expensive compared to the Golfs and GTIs due to the heavy tarrifs on anything that's not European made. The Type-R's sticker over there (called Honda not Acura) was $30K, compared to $24,8K here in the US! That oughta tell you something..
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    Europe has long since dropped the 3% import quota on Japanese cars (which was in retaliation to a near-total ban on imports into Japan). And today, Japanese cars sell very well in Europe, thank you. Many - if not most - Japanese cars sold in Europe today are made there (GB, Netherlands, France...). For those models made in Japan, transportation costs are really not much of an issue. I know: I've worked in shipping for many years. The Japanese have some of the worlds 'ro-ro' (roll-on/roll off) carriers in the world, and believe me, the shipping cost per unit is just about nothing. And at the end of the day, it is any manufacturers choice to overcome shipping by localizing production - again, the Japanese manufacturers have all done that.
    At the end of the day, the European market and the US market are very different. To appreciate those differences, I guess you'd have to live 'over there' for some time. Small cars are the norm for many reasons. Hatches are often considered more appealing than small sedans. There are about 40 different hatches to choose from, with at least 5 new models coming out every year. So it's not like here, where you have a handfull of offerings in terms of hatches or fastbacks. You have PLENTY!
    In short, it's within the confines of an extremely competitive market that VAG (Volkswagen Audi Gruppe) are succesful: that's what I meant by my former post. They may not produce the MOST reliable cars, granted, but they would never sell as well as they do if their cars were unreliable. Simple as that.
    As far as pricing - someone mentioned that noone would pay 18 grand for a VW in Germany. Well, if you're referring to a basic model, you're right. But I believe the 4-motion kick-[non-permissible content removed] Golf sells around that price if not more. Anyway, comparing prices is rather ludicrous. Currency fluctuations and pricing policy on the part of manufacturers are just a few factors which make up for the difference. With today's strong dollar, most imports should be cheaper than a few years ago. But hey... that's a completely different discussion.
    As to why Hondas don't sell even more cars in Euroe than they actually do, I could explain that in a new post. But it has little to do with reliability issues (mainly bad marketing, high service costs and a few more things...)
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    I couldn't help but come with ONE explanation on Honda's main issue in Europe: it lies at the heart of their cars: a high-revving engine. While most Europeans will agree that Honda has extremely good engines, they have a major drawback: engine noise. Just about every commuter in Europe will drive at 100mph to work, each way, every workday of the year. And while a high revver can be a lot of fun, it's also tireing day after day after day.
    Remember that of all European makes, the German ones are those which have specialized in high-torque-at-low-rpms engines. No wonder, it's called the 'autobahn-effect'.
    On the other hand, the Italians are much 'closer' to Honda in their taste for high revving engines. Less autobahns, and a lot more curvy roads which invite spirited driving...
    If you guys wanna have a few more reasons, just for the hell of it... I can give them to you.

    I really think that Japanese companies should hand over marketing management to 'locals' at the end of the day. Unfortunate but true, good marketing is also important!
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    i would disagree with you (alfa) you are right about honda's revving high, but the engine noise is not that bad. i dirve to work every day at 80 mph (yes i have tons of speeding tickets, but that's another issue) and there is no engine noise in my civic ex. now look at ford's best selling small car, focus, it is the noisiest 16 valve engine in the history of over head camshaft engines. when i drive my girlfriend's ford, the engine noise at 3000 rpm in ford is much greater than engine noise of a honda engine (ex in particular) at 7000 rpm. i used to have a 91 vw jetta (8V) it was much noisier than my civic. and it revved higher at 70 mph (more engine noise). honestly, my 85 civic without an exhaust system (exhaust header emptied out in the air) was just as loud at highway speeds as ford or VW. it was thunderous at take off but once at speed it was quiet.
    so, i don't think it is the reason. what are the other reasons you had in mind?
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