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VW Golf vs Honda Civic



  • sebargesebarge Posts: 50
    They said that? LOL!! We have started looking for a reliable, gas saving, commuter car, and the DX Hatchback is one of them. Ha, that quote is just funny. 'Course, with these mags, they go for power and looks, and forget about gas consumption and affordability and room and cost ... on and on.
    Just had to comment on the above quote. Made me smile.
  • exocet1exocet1 Posts: 1
    The Jetta is an extremely reliable car. It has more zip than Honda and three times the warranty coverage. The cam shafts in both the Honda and the Acura are problem areas as is the distributor.
    Resale on the Acura is so-so. Resale on the Jetta is much better. The Jetta is cheaper to repair,
    and maintenance costs are lower.
    The GTI with 4wheel discs will out perform the Honda. Honda is way over rated and an old design.
    The new Accord coupes are bigger than Camaros.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    Sorry, but camshafts in Hondas are not "problem areas" Not one bit, unless you never change your oil.

    Distributors? Maybe after 150,000 miles.

    Volkswagen HAD to go to a long (but read the fine print) warranty because they were being blasted by Consumer's Reports and others for afwul reliability.

    They had to so something in a desperate attempt to save their business!

    I keep hearing the new ones are better. I'll be happy to modify my opinion of VW products if that proves to be the case and I guess time will tell!

    Sorry...just couldn't read that without responding! :)
  • cheeses me off to hear people talking about how VW now has such a better warranty than practically any other make. yeah, it's 10 yr/100000 miles-- but it's a powertrain warranty only! the bumper-to-bumper on VW's remains a pathetic 2 yr/24000 miles, which is, to me, the clearest indicator of VW's lack of confidence in their products' over-all reliability. been reading the Passat topics since last fall, and time and time again, i read about NEW Passats' irritating quality problems. if i've just plunked down $21000 for a car, i don't expect shorts in the electrical wiring... radios to suddenly stop working... bizarre sounds emanating from the area of the moonroof... power windows that decide not to work... brake lights on the fritz.... etc.... i'm amazed that many of these new VW owners are willing to tolerate this kind of crap. YES, i agree-- the driving experience of a Passat is quite a thrill, but that doesn't compensate for what are still all-too-common quality problems of VWs.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    Electrical problems in a Volkswagen? Power windows that don't work??

    This can't be!!!
  • parisianparisian Posts: 4
    Just wanted to add my comments about the ongoing debate of Honda vs. VW. Sorry if this is a little bit off topic, but I've been reading this site because I am trying to decide between a 1999 new Golf TDI for long-distance commuting and a Honda Civic HX Coupe or Civic hatchback. This new car, whatever it turns out to be, will be a supplement to our existing cars.

    We are a two-car family: one 5-speed 1997 Jetta GLX (VR6) and one 5-speed 1996 Honda Civic LX. They are both *good* cars, but I would have to say that the Jetta is the *better* car. It handles better - more connected to the road, better steering response. And even with the VR6, it gets 31-32 MPG highway if treated with respect. The drawback is that it IS slightly noisier than the Honda (and I know we're not talking apples to apples here because of the difference in engines), but still more enjoyable to drive.

    The sheet metal on the VW is several powers of ten better than the Honda, too. One push on the Civic door and you've got yourself a nice ding. Not so on the Jetta. This carries through in the way that the doors themselves act as they open and close. There is a harsh, cheap, clangy sound to the Civic doors as they close - complete with a little shudder. No similar characteristic on the Jetta. I wouldn't say this difference is due to a difference in body style; they are both 4-door cars.

    Same with the trunk. The VW has sound deadening materials in the trunk, *including* some on the underside of the trunk hood. The underside of the Honda trunk is totally uninsulated, and doesn't even look like it was clearcoated. It, too, makes a nice tinny sound when it is closed. This defect in fit and finish lets a lot of noise into the car, unfortunately taking away the advantage the Honda has in a quieter engine.

    Finally, there is the seating situation. I find the seats in the Honda to be low and unsupportive. They also don't elevate vertically far enough to suit my taste, and the process of getting in and out of the Honda in a dress is exasperating at best. ALL fabric sticks to that annoying velour interior (whatever happened to woven fabric interiors, Honda?) and the process is one of scrunching down (getting in) or rolling out. At 5'6" I don't consider myself to be terribly tall; it's just that the extreme slope of the front door opening makes things awkward.

    Well, those are my comments on the continued VW vs. Honda debate. Hope these minor details, none of which you necessarily notice as you're in the rush of buying a car and driving it for 10-15 minutes or so, are helpful to someone.
  • Thanks for your lengthy, well-written note. Your points are well-taken and right on the money, from what i know of both VW and Honda. But--- you didn't address at all the question of reliability for both cars you own. Please discuss that with us. Any problems at all with either one?
  • parisianparisian Posts: 4
    There have been no problems with either the Civic or the VW. The Civic has almost 70k miles, and is still running on two of its original tires and 100% original brakes, thanks to the fact that the great majority (95%+) of its miles are highway miles.

    Same for the VW - 36k miles, and no problems at all so far. Again, highway miles are the rule.

    When the time for repairs does come, though, it will likely be much more expensive on the VW with that VR6 engine and associated powerplant jammed in the tiny front engine housing.

    We are lucky enough to have two experienced non-dealer mechanics; one who has extensive experience with the European engines, and one who is a certified Honda mechanic working on his own; both their shop rates are much lower than the EXORBITANT $60+ rate charged by the VW dealer.

    The Jetta is actually the sixth VW I have owned, preceded by a 1978 Rabbit, a 1981 Jetta, a 1984 Jetta, and a 1992 Passat. Only the Passat posed any problems at all; when it was just less than five years old I found out that the air conditioning condenser had rotted (maybe due to the fact that I rarely use A/C), and the fix was anticipated to cost at least $600. I traded it in, because at that time it had over 120,000 miles and I wanted something a little smaller and less dowdy looking. (Those 1992 Passats weren't things of beauty, if you know what I mean.)
  • parisianparisian Posts: 4
    Oops! Correction to my previous note. It is the *fifth* VW I have owned. There have been two other VWs in the family, though. My parents also owned a 1980 Rabbit and a 1981 Rabbit truck.

    That truck (made in Wilmington, PA - during the only 3 (? I think) year period VWs were ever made in the States) was an unmitigated disaster. Electrical problems galore, water pump that went at 20k miles, solenoid that went out, and a rusting habit that beat any Subaru or Ford of comparable vintage hands down.

    However, I know someone else who has a 1980 Rabbit diesel truck, lovingly cared for and regularly serviced, and it has 130,000 miles on it. I have been thinking about buying it.
  • jdelayjdelay Posts: 5
    Oh gosh.... I started reading this forum because I am trying to decide whether to get a Civic DX HB or a VW Beetle or New Golf. From VW I like the safety of the car (particularly the Beetle) and how solid it feels, but I dont like that they seem to consume quite a bit more fuel than the Civic. Does it really make a difference in terms of monthly expenses? Also, I may end up having to move to Europe and then I would be really scared given the price of fuel there and that you have to pay about $300 more per year in taxes given the engine size. On the other hand, I think I like the Civic's handling (I need to test drive it again) and of course the low fuel consumption & reliability (although I dont feel they are as safe...hmmm). What to do? Or maybe I should wait and see if I do go to Europe and choose there from a much bigger variety of HBs, although they seem to be more expensive than here (I like the new Peugeot 206, it has gotten great reviews!).

    I am really confused, please help!
  • slickrick1slickrick1 Posts: 12
    I don't know if you've considered this, but if you're very concerned about fuel consumption you may look at the New Golf or New Beetle with a TDI diesel engine. If you don't mind a manual, and don't mind a little less hp, that may be perfect for your needs. Good luck in your decision!

  • taliesintaliesin Posts: 3
    The VW TDI engine (in any of the models) should be strongly considered... when it comes down to day-to-day driving the torque is what really matters and the TDI has a lot more than a Civic and from a much lower RPM (155 lb/ft at 1900rpm).

    Not to mention fuel mileage that also exceeds the Civic (42-50 mpg). Not to mention superior handling and road feel... safety... etc.

    It will cost more, but for a long term vehicular investment, you'll be more satisfied. I know I am (99 Golf GLS TDI).
  • erichyoungerichyoung Posts: 1
    >"O.K. VW lovers.. I'll admit that they are >getting better but they are still not the >250,000 mile carthat a Honda is."


    I owned a '89 Golf 3 Hatchback which achieved 250,000 on one engine.

    I owned 5 different 76' to 79' Hondas that in aggregate achieved 300,000.


    It really doesn't matter which car you have; some make it longer that others. So in general, I'd say maintain your car well and it *might* serve you well.

    The Hondas couldn't take the abuse, but the VW could.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    JD. If it is a real possibility that you are moving to Europe, I would suggest you hold on until you know. The cost of shipping a vehicle to Europe, plus the possible extra costs of having it modified to meet E.U. emissions could be quite high.

    I don't know what expenses your employer will/will not cover.
  • jaycjayjaycjay Posts: 2
    A couple of messages back is a comment that implies that the TDI engine is only available with a 5-speed. Just wanted to correct that, the automatic is an available option with the TDI, and while they seem to be rare I have seen them at NY dealers.
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Like many others in this forum, I'm trying very hr\ard to decide between buying a 99 Honda Civic HX coupe and a 99 NW golf TDI. Both get amazing mileage (35/43, the best of any honda and 42/49 for the golf), which is good for someone like me who runs up at least 2k miles a month. The benefits of the Honda are a slightly faster engine (115hp vs 95), standard alloy wheels, the wider availabilty of gas, and a better basic warranty. The golf on the other hand looks much better (or at least much more unique) and comes with a great assortment of standard features including A/C, 8-speaker tape player (vs the honda's standard 4-speaker radio), a security system for the car and the stereo, and much more. Although it has less overall hp, it has better low-end torque than the honda (which is notorious for having no power until the rpm's climb into the 5k's). The golf also has a more rigid body, suspendion and handling. The big difference come sin the price. The Honda runs about $13,000 whereas the golf is up at $16,000. Of course, if you add up all the features the golf has that are on the golf they would probably total around that $3k difference. Not to mention the savings in diesel costs. So, as most of you know, it's a very tough decision. When it comes to style, the golf looks cooler. However, while hondas are about as common as white bread, there is a huge variety of aftermarket products inclusing rims, body kits, spoilers, etc. that can customize a honda indefinitely. VW can be similarly equipped, but the products aren't as popular or widespread.

    One final thing to remember about the HX and the golf TDI is the fact that they aren't easy to find. The HX is one of Honda's best-kept secrets and few dealerships carry them. The VW diesel engine is just as rare. So, unfortuneately, this gives the dealer the upper-hand as demand may outweigh supply and force the buyer into paying MSRP and above (especially with the golf).

    Hope this little run down helps some confused buyers out there (it sure isn't helping me...)
    If anyone else has some really nitty-gritty stuff that may sway me and the rest to either Germany or Japan, I'm all eyes.
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Just wanted to mention, concerning my last post, the mileage figures were both for manual transmission. I do not recommend getting a VW golf with an automatic tranny as it is both sluggish and much less fuel efficient. However, the civic HX auto employs the virtually unknown CVT (continuously variable transmission) which was invented around the turn of the century but wasn't used by a major car company until Honda put it in the civic in 1996. What it does is removes gearshifts entirely and has a series of belts and cones which are smoothly and constantly changing the gear ratio. What good is this CVT technology? Well, for one thing it eliminates the annoying, hard shifts that many automatics make (especially older hondas) where the rpm's climp incessantly higher before the up-shift is made, and it also makes for one of the best gas mileage of any auto that I know of (34/39!). So, if you're not a real driver (and believe me, manual is REAL driving), you regularly use a cellphone, have to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic or are just lazy, than the civic HX CVT is the best choice. As far as reliabilty of the CVT tranny, I don't really know much about it. I would guess that a rubber belt system, as opposed to a metal gear system, would be prone to more maintenance costs (just as a timing belt must be replaced, but a timing chain does not).
  • maureenmaureen Posts: 1
    Hi, we at just getting into the VW's and thinking of buying a 1997 golf. It look in very good condition and only has 22,000klm on the clock. It is automatic with air, but does not have power doors or mirrors and does not have a radio although the dealer said they will fit one. We have only been able to find American sites to get a suggested value, has anyone any suggestions what we should offer for it.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Maureen, am I correct in thinking that you are not selling your car in the USA? You may want to check out our Smart Shopper conference to see what others, particularly Canadians, have done to compare prices.

  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 5,718
    I have read on VWVortex that some VW's with the TDI/automatic combination are indeed trickling into dealers. The mileage figure for the auto is 34/45 compared to 42/49 for the stick. Still very respectable.

    Those who have driven the TDI/auto seem to like it better than the stick because the auto does a much better job of keeping the engine at low rpm's than a human could with a stick. (The TDI doesn't have much power high up in the rev band, so it needs to be kept at low rpm for quick takeoffs. This goes against human nature, if you know what I mean.)
  • ymosymos Posts: 1
    My fiance and I just decided to buy her a '99 Golf GL over a Honda DX hatchback. Test drives showed more power and comfort features in the VW vs. the Honda. I'm looking forward to it!
  • bbosleybbosley Posts: 2
  • sweennyjsweennyj Posts: 2
    I'm thinking about buying a 99 VW Golf GLS..Anyone out there own one..Need some feed back
  • weatherdanweatherdan Posts: 28
    I bought a 99 GLS in April. Great car. Had a few initial probelms (airbag light on dashboard would not go out; VW had to replace the whole drivers-side system) but overall it has been fine.
    Also had a vibration/squeak near the sunroof that was driving me nuts until yesterday when, in frustation, I rammed my hand against the sunroof controls. Viola! No more vibration! My only gripes: Engine revs very high at highway speeds and gas mileage is not that good (have an automatic). Perhaps it will get better as the engine breaks in. I like the cargo space a lot. Handles great. Excellent brakes.
  • sweennyjsweennyj Posts: 2
    Anyone else out there purchase a new 99 golf recently? Still looking for info.
  • vr6fan2vr6fan2 Posts: 2
    more vw's sold in germany than japaness cars so more will break down
  • vr6fan2vr6fan2 Posts: 2
    have you ever heard of a vw diessel with less then 380+k miles before it dies
  • bluedog63bluedog63 Posts: 3
    Hi all,

    Just discovered this site, and I feel like it was meant for me! Currently drive a (don't cringe, folks!) 1993 Ford Festiva GL (auto/air), she's a real creampuff. I really think she's done a great job, despite being a Toy Car. I've seen smaller cars in England, so I don't feel too bad. A couple of problems, mostly due to short city hops, rather than highway mileage: replaced muffler twice, entire exhaust system once, emergency brake "froze up"--once no biggie, second time major bucks because I drove it and wrecked the right rear tire (don't ask--lots of ice, thought I was dragging a chunk--d-uh!), and the odometer went on me at around 37k, had to have it replaced, $$$. However, for a $7000 car, I guess I can't complain, except for my own DUMB mistakes!

    Sorry this is so long, but I am looking for a new car and I LOVE hatchbacks! Agree the demise of the Mazda 323 HB is lamentable--we went with a 1993 Escort Wagon (my husband's car, and he loves it), because the 323 was no longer available, although the two were on the same platform at the time (Mazda (323) Protege coupe was more $ than the Escort wagon!).


    1) What is the new Ford Focus supposed to be?
    I test-drove a 1999 Escort sedan, and no legroom, cheap interior, loud engine, but decent handling (automatic--I am NOT A REAL DRIVER!) :)
    So, is the Ford Focus supposed to be a new hatchback, and when is it due out?

    2) Bottom-line time: Price, reliability, safety, and comfort (never mind the joy-ride), I need a safe, reasonably-priced commuter car that is either a hatch or a wagon--I drive a round-trip 110 miles a day to work on a two-lane road behind tractors and tractor-trailers. I have 3 dogs I like to cart around with me, and can't take the slobber on the upholstery in a sedan! Hatch's are great for dogcrates or just keeping the happy pooches out of my hair!

    I am debating the NEW Golf GLS (automatic, air, cruise, 4-door) or one of the Honda Civics (haven't really researched them yet), with the same options. By the time I add on air, auto, and cruise (if available) on the Honda Civic, isn't it going to cost me what the new Golf GLS costs now with those options, close to $18,000?

    Any guidance/advice/suggestions/opinions very welcomed! Thanks for your patience on reading this overlong missive!

  • wicketeerwicketeer Posts: 1
    I am looking at the Golf TDI as a most reliable, great mileage vehicle to replace my Toyota standard pick-up for 40,000 miles a year duty. The Toyota, with 135,000 miles on it, is great, the last small pick-up to come out of Tora Tora Tora land. I have used Mobil One since the beginning and the current compression is better than when I purchased the truck new in 1994. The Golf diesel intrigues me for it is manufactured in Wolfsburg. What is the feel for this vehicle? Deutschland Uber Alles!
  • sftroublsftroubl Posts: 9
    There will be a hatchback Focus; also a sedan and wagon. The hatch has very distinctive, love-it-or-hate-it styling. You might get a Civic for slightly less than the Golf, but it's an older design and a much less refined car.
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