Old Used Sport Hatchback

bococartoonsbococartoons Member Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Acura
I'm looking for a first car. I want a compact hatchback, $5000 or under, that has some sporting ability but I just can't settle on one. Those that I'm interested in are the VW GTi 16v The VW Scirroco 16v and the Civic Si (early 90's hatch). Can someone help me find which one is best?


  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    For more expedient/additional feedback, you may also want to copy & paste your message in our Used Hatchbacks discussion. Also, you can find the individual performance specs on each of these vehicles in Edmunds' Used Vehicle Guide. Once you get to the main vehicle page, look for the "Specs & Safety" tab on the left side of the page.

    My 2 cent: Of the three you're considering, the Civic Si statistically has a better track record as far as reliability goes. Something you may want to also consider with an older used vehicle. In any case, not a bad idea to have a mechanic thoroughly check out any used vehicle you're considering. Good luck, and please keep us posted.

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    is definitely the most fun of those three...have you thought about maybe getting a CRX? Even lighter and better handling, with a better power-to-weight ratio. You can get one up to the '93 model year, I think.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    I would go with the Scirroco, mostly because it is a rare car nowadays and has the swoopiest bodywork of the three (I love its classy sporty fastback looks). It was also a more luxurious high end model, with power goodies on many of them and a plush interior. All three have good handling and are very fun to drive. The only difference is the Civic Si has that light on its feet feeling due to it being a lighter more barebones car with thinner sheetmetal and it has a lower cowl that gives greater visibility. However, if I remember correctly, the Civic does not have power steering, making it a chore to drive at slow speeds due to its notoriously heavy feel. The two VWs have a heftier more solid "german" feeling to their handling and can outrun the Civic Si in acceleration. The Civic will have the better reliability, although, if you can find the base 8 valve GTI, it's just as reliable and fun to drive and only a little slower. I own an 84 Rabbit GTI with the 8 valve engine and wouldn't give it up for anything. I love how it drives that much! It's also been very reliable.
    I must admit your decision is a tough one. I went through the same decision 7 years ago but found that those cars you are looking at were too expensive so ended up with the older and in some ways better Rabbit GTI. I never looked back and never missed Honda's reliability. If reliability is your upmost concern, go with the Honda (though they have their fair share of head gasket, overheating, and distributor problems in that vintage. VWs tend to have more electrical problems but their mechanicals are stout). If you would like a more substantial feeling German handling car, go with one of the VWs. The GTI is roomier and can haul more stuff, but the Scirroco is better looking. Good luck in your search. A good condition Scirroco will be hard to find, but if you find one that has been taken care of, I think you will enjoy it a lot.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Member Posts: 1,696
    and still occasionally see around. The old Isuzu Impulse. I'm not talking about the GEO storm one, the older one that looked a little bit like a squared off Scirroco. I liked those.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    which was fine, but so was the base cars without power steering - the only way to have a true road feel...and it was not "notoriously heavy-handling" - the car only weighs like 2200 Lbs!! The steering was easy even w/o power asst. The base GTI w/ the 8-valve engine was a wonderfully German car, but pretty slow - a CRX could outrun it all day long.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    I didn't mean the handling of the car was heavy. I meant the non-power steering was very heavy at slow speeds. It was mentioned as a nuisance in all magazine tests of Hondas. I can vouch for this as my 85 Civic Wagon was a bear to steer around parking lots. Once up to speed, it was real light to the touch though.
  • ipse_dixitipse_dixit Member Posts: 24
    The Si's without power steering were a bear to steer at slow speeds, but just how much of a bear depended a lot on the make of tires you were running. I'm not exactly sure what particular aspect of any tire made it easier or more difficult to steer with, but a different set of tires could make a big difference.

    Steering effort aside, the bigger problem with no power steering was a safety issue. No matter how hard you held onto the wheel, if you went over a big bump or into a pothole, it would violently rip the steering temporarily out of your control.
  • bococartoonsbococartoons Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for all of your input guys. I wanted to throw a few more cars out there. What about the Suzuki Swift GT (or GTi)- 100hp can do wonders to a car of 1800lbs. the other I was curious about was the Escort GT, whic is by far the most available hot hatch in my area. are they bargains or are they cheap because they don't measure up to the competition? Thanks again!
  • krautkarvr6krautkarvr6 Member Posts: 23
    I am on my ninth VW. Three of them were Sciroccos. A 76,80 and 88 16V. I loved ALL of them. GET ONE if you can. But beware. These cars...especially the earlier ones were notorious for water leaks around the lower left front seal of the windshield which resulted in rusted floorboards and shorted fuse boxes. But fun factor? Find a rush free car and with a few mods the car is AWESOME. And even down on horsepower its still a hell of a lot of fun to drive if you set up the suspension correctly. I guess that goes without saying for all cars but the Scirocco is stylish, beautiful and if you take the badges off like I did people will constantly ask you..."what the hell IS that?!?" Do that with a Civic and theres not much guesswork involved. ~M
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    Will VW ever have a sport coupe again? I am not talking GTI hatch, but a real, low-slung, sport coupe...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • krautkarvr6krautkarvr6 Member Posts: 23
    I wrote to VW of America back in 1995 asking them to bring the Scirocco back. Either my letter fell on deaf ears or no one there has any real decision making power. I figure the latter. A new Scirocco would and could be fantastic. Imagine taking the 88 16V body style and modernizing it..... rounding it just a bit. Not too much but enough to make it look modern. Drop in the 1.8 T and add 17 inch wheels and VW's "sport" suspension package. Add their modern interior workings and guess what. After that they would sell ZERO Golfs. I
    would venture to say VW knows this. But imagine all the new tooling they would have to invest in for the new car. They already have the Golf production going full tilt. And to revive the Scirocco would mean death to the Golf. Unless they bring the R32 to the States. Just my opinion but it seems logical. Thats why I'm going to find another 88 and mod the living sh*t out of it. : ? )
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Member Posts: 417
    A sexy new VW coupe would be very cool. Maybe they could even revive the Karman Ghia moniker. It is possible that a coupe would hurt GTI sales, but the Golf is a whole other car. Plus the useability of the hatch body style on the GTI would still win out for those who want their performance car to do everything.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    The Escort GT is a great idea. It's pretty much a Mazda and the 1.8L makes that car fly. Cheap to buy too. Don't count out the Toyota Corolla FX16 or early 90s vintage Integras.
  • inigocoinigoco Member Posts: 51
    I've seen drawings of new designs from VW that are basically newer versions of the Scirocco. I tried to find the magazine I saw them or or some pics online, but couldn'y find them, so this is mostly from memory. The car kind of has a little bit of an Infiniti G35 Coupe look to it, similar styling. The car would be powered I believe by the W8 engine and I believe it is may be called the Volkswagen GT. That was at least the name the drawing had. The car is designed in the spirit which the Scirocco and the Corrado had, just seems to kind of take the car a step farther as the Corrado did for the Scirocco. The price I believe was expected to be over $35,000 if the car ever does make it to production. I'll see if I can dig up some more info about the car and maybe some pics as well.

    Anyway, back to the main issue in the thread. I'm trying not to be biased being that I have a VW and I prefer German-engineered cars, but nonetheless, i still would take a good look at buying an older GTi or Golf. The GTi's were definetely fun, tossable cars in those days before they put on a lot more weight and luxury to become what the modern GTI is. The appearance of the original and 2nd generation GTi's seems ahead of their time. I'm particulary fond of the 2nd generation body style, add some sporty wheels and that car looks great, no wings or body kits are needed. The car is understated and still looks great. Not to mention the quality that VW had during that time. The time of the 2nd generation models(1985-1992) was at a high point for VW. They were selling tons af great cars which were very reliable. The large majority of older VW's you see on the road are from this timeframe and for good reason. Just my two cents, in the end I'd take a test drive of all the vehicles you are considering and make the decision for yourself. But, in the end, I think you'll end up with a very reliable car whether you choose and older VW or an older Honda, they seem to both stand up quite well over the years. Finally, as for the performance, they are pretty close. The older Civic Si's will not blow away a GTi as was mentioned earlier. Neither car is a stellar performer in today's realm. Both cars from that era run 0-60 in the 8 second range and have 15-16 second 1/4 mile times. Not too impressive compared to their modern-day counterparts, but still about average when you consider the performance of all car made today. Good Luck on your decision.
  • nus2mnus2m Member Posts: 2

    You certainly have inspired us. A full 5 months since your first post and I for one still feel the need to post a reply. You have a tough and important decision to make and I hope you haven?t made it already. A car is an expression of the driver within' and you will never get a chance to go back and buy that first car again. So ask yourself; what kind of man will be sitting behind the wheel? Are you a man who goes with the pack - meekly into this good night, or do you take the road less traveled. Now that I have butchered the English language beyond recognition I will get to the point.

    Careening down the highway in a Honda or an Escort is no way to go through life. Now, you said your budget was $5k but you seem to be looking at cars that are far cheaper. If you are really tight on money go with the Scriocco or an Impulse. Seminole is right - those cars flew, and the Scriocco?s praises have already been sung above. However, if you have time and the inclination to save just a few dollars more I will end your dilemma right here.

    WHAT YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR MY FRIEND IS AN - ORIGINAL AUDI QUATTRO COUPE. This car ROCKED the rally world and is still one hell of a choice. They may be old but the 5 cylinder engine is usually good for at least 500,000 miles! No kidding, they are bullet proof. I have a friend who has put over 300K on three of these engines. (Look at http://sturtevant.com/reed/quattro.htm for a nice example.) Finding one will not be easy and the premium ones go for premium price. The extra expense and legwork are well worth it, the web is full of sites still amazed at this car?s performance. I'm still kicking myself for not picking one up for 6000$ 5 years ago, so with the right commitment owning one in your position is do-able.

    Sean, there are 14 posts above mine of men just like you, although a few years older. Read the posts again, only this time read between the lines. Do you see any thing in common with us all? Some of us made the right decision buying our first real car and some didn?t. But what we all have in common is our envy of you. Make us proud!

  • krautkarvr6krautkarvr6 Member Posts: 23
    Stop it nus2m. I'm getting all misty eyed. : )
  • krautkarvr6krautkarvr6 Member Posts: 23
    Nus2m......I remember seeing a few of these Audis where I live when they first came out. They looked great....and they didn't make a whole hell of a lot of em. I'd love to have one. It's basically a Scirocco with AWD and more power. But I put this car in the same class as I do the Porsche 928....a badass car that is growing older and will carry very high repair costs for anything that goes wrong. The Scirocco is still a better choice for a sport hatchback in the long run for him. More "basic" VW parts available and there is definitely still an aftermarket performance following for these cars.
  • intelmanintelman Member Posts: 5
    I am reliving my youth. I bought a Honda CBR 1000 F motorcycle which absolutely flies. I used to own a new 1979 Scirocco which I loved until someone pulled out in front of me and wrecked it. Now I am search of a 16v Scirocco in Red. I can't believe some of them are selling for $ 2,000. There seem to be plenty of wheels and replacement parts available. The Scirocco is still a great looking car 15 years later. I want one !


  • krautkarvr6krautkarvr6 Member Posts: 23
    Well I sold my 2001 Jetta GLS VR6. I still have a Nissan pick up I drive but no more car payments. So now I am going to return to old school VW. Don't get me wrong. I loved my Jetta. But the payments as well as never having anything to work on have started to get to me. So am I going to get another 88 16V Scirocco. I would love to hear from ANYONE on this board that has one. I have owned 3 Sciroccos. A 1976 (completely modified). A 1980 bone stock and an 88 16V but sold it after a short time. So I am going to get another one and build it up. These cars are so damn cool. I wonder if I could stuff a VR6 in one.......hrmm.
  • dudkadudka Member Posts: 451
    wasn't VW Corrado the next Scirocco? they came with either supercharged 1.8, or the VR6. corrado may be another option.
    as far as the Si not having power steering, I think only civic with no trim denomination and then the CX trim came without power steering. Si is pretty much the top of the line trim, and comes with everything standard, inluding the power sunroof.
  • krautkarvr6krautkarvr6 Member Posts: 23
    Not trying to be a jerk but the Corrado was not the next Scirocco. It was the Corrado. It was meant to fill the Scirocco buying segment of VW customers but it was a very different and MUCH more expensive car. I wanted one of these cars when they first came out. So I went up to the VW dealer here in Tysons corner. They had a few on the lot. The one I looked at did not have a VR6 as it wasn't offered at the time. It was a G60 model. Fully loaded and it was 20K!!!! I almost had a heart attack looking at that window sticker.
            I admit the interior was beautiful. And much more modern looking than any Scirocco. But 20K? I walked away and starting thinking of plans for my next car. Which actually turned out to be my 76. I rescued the car from the Salvation Army's tow crew at an old man's house for $500 cash. Which was more than his write off would have been. No rust and a blown head gasket ready to be transformed. I will post a link to all the pictures of this car on here soon. I built an A1 chassis car that year that could (and did on occasion) spank the hell out of any G60 I came across. In every way. From handling on on the Jefferson Circuit road course at Summit Point in WVA. Right down to stop light drag racing. Read....still a yound stupid kid building cars. And I did it all for less than 15K. I got more attention and interest from people with that 76 Scirocco than I ever could have had I bought a G60 Corrado. Thats why I am going back to the 88 16V Scirocco.
  • jmummeryjmummery Member Posts: 11
    I have worn out 2 sciroco's, a 84(big valve) and a 87(16 valve) I love the feel of these cars, no compact hatchback available in north america has had handling or braking like the Sciroco. Left hand corners in the Sciroco are a 2 handed affair, you don't slow down you just use 2 hands on the wheel. 1...2...3... crank, no slip no nothing just extreme G's. New VW's and Honda's are not balanced as good as the Scirocco, they all push. I would rather have a Scirocco at the limit of lateral adhesion than an A4 Golf or an RSX.(that should say alot)
    Both of mine seemed to top around 220 kph and felt very solid at that speed. It almost feels like if you could go faster the car would bottom out.
    I got 400,000 km's out of the 84(cracked head) and 389,000 km's out of the 87(timing belt disaster @ 6000 rpm's).
    Would like to build one from the ground up like the 84.
  • algie_fawkesalgie_fawkes Member Posts: 14
    is everyone forgetting the awesome Eagle Talon Tsi AWD? And, because nobody knows about Eagle, you can get them pretty darn cheap. They've got up to 210 hp, though, so they are NOT wimps. and they look great.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    is the same car as the Mitsu Eclipse GSX right? Not forgotten, believe me!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

This discussion has been closed.