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VW Golf vs Honda Civic



  • moonzmoonz Posts: 2
    I've had the experience to work on European cars as well as Japanese...and I prefer the Japanese
  • BrandoBrando Posts: 1
    This is good to me and a bt confusing... I'm looking to get a new car and have narrowed it down to either a Golf or a Civic ( both Hatchbacks ) and I don't know what to expect! I want all the fancy stuff that the Golf has, but I want the Honda so it'll last me a long time. The 2 cars I've driven were both Hondas ( 91 Accord EXR and 95 Accord EX I believe... both my dad's ) so I'm aiming towards the Honda... try to convince me to change my mind... I want the better car!
  • HFitzHFitz Posts: 13
    Brando - I'm with you! I like the lower sticker price on the Honda and want that reliability above all else (boy did I ever learn the hard way when I bought my '94 (new at the time) Chevy Camaro b/c it looked good! nothing but problems!)

    Anyway - I thought my mind was made up. But that sun roof and extras sure are nice. And they come with a/ I'm confused but think I'm still leaning Honda. It feels like the more sensible choice - especially b/c my budget is really tight right now! I only hope I can be happy in the pretty much "bare bones" Civic for at least 5 years! I plan on darkening windows and putting in an awesome stereo to add some flair and comfort. Advice please.
  • GuyPGuyP Posts: 50
    Ok Guys,

    Still confused about these two cars?

    The Civic is a good, solid buy for anyone needing and relying on a daily driver. I think it is a bit overpriced nowadays. I like the older Hondas that were still made in Japan. A lot of people drive Civics.

    As for the Golf 3, what makes you think it will not last a long time? Truthfully, these cars are quite reliable, plus you get a 10yr/100K mi powertrain warranty, if you decide to keep your Golf that long. It also comes with 2yrs free service (which you don't get with a Civic). Let's face it, VWs are not for everybody. I'm not even going to bother trying to convince people that they are, even though the name "Volkswagen" itself means People's Car (but that started in 1930's germany, so...). I think this car, with all of its features, is a good value. It is a solid German-feeling driver which has character. VWs drive like no other car in its class and often compared with cars above its class. I have heard of no major reliability problems for the Golf 3s.
    Don't overlook this car.
  • I would like to add something for all those people who are talking about A3 VW's(93-98) and reliability. For those people out there that are new to cars or just not that knowledgeble about how cars are made and produced. Remember this, the Golf and Jetta were totally remodeled in 1993. This is very significant because as with most car makers new or revamped vehicles the Golfs and Jettas right after this change have been reported to have some minor electrical problems and bad trim fit etc. However the models produced in 96, 97, and 98 have shown great improvements in reliability, even the car magazines like car and driver and consumer reports have written about this. This is not unique to VW this happens with most auto makers. So in your comparison of slightly used Golfs vs. Civics it may be fine to talk about the VW not being quite as reliable, this does not neccesarily apply to the 98 and 99 Golfs.
  • zfarmzfarm Posts: 5
    The reason VW reliability is in question goes back to the "exploding Jetta engines" of a few years ago. For those of you who didn't hear (or didn't have friends who bought one of those terrible cars): Jettas, new, just from the factory, would have engine melt-downs. This happened to my buddy Rob ("Why didn't I buy a Honda!" was his only comment). VW is to be commended for replacing the engines under warranty, but, needless to say, the experience was unnerving for many owners.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    As you say, it is so important to have the current information on the cars you are evaluating. We have a '91 Honda CRX hatchback and it has been very reliable.

    We were surprised to meet someone at our local VW dealer who had a 6 month old Honda Civic hatchback and was ready to throw in the towel because she had already had so many problems with her brand new car! She came to look at the new Beetle (which is what we were doing there!) and was sorry she didn't wait just a little bit longer before buying her latest car.
  • HFitzHFitz Posts: 13
    wow. carlady has ruined things for me. i'm ready to buy the civic hatch - have heard all good reports and now this horror story...anyone else hearing of problems with new civic hatchbacks? my '94 camaro has been a nightmare and above all else i want a reliable car this time around. i thought honda would be a good place to turn for that. help!
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    Don't take it too hard.

    One OH NO erases 1,000 OH YEAHs.

    GuyP has it right, Honda probably DOES have slightly higher reliability in the context of a gas-and-go daily commuter vehicle.

    Almost everyone with direct experience of the two marques agrees that Hondas (and Toyotas) thrive on neglect, while VWs (and "insert European maker here") require more diligence to the preventive maintenance schedule in order to achieve the reliability that they are capable of.

    Buy what you like the best, in this scenario. Neither car will remind you of your GM
    experience {;-)

    Bruce, your roving host.
  • boullosaboullosa Posts: 1
    I'm glad I found this site. I too am debating the positives and negatives of the DX and the GL. Does anyone have any knowledge on the "bargaining" aspect with the respective dealerships? I like the golf, but my hunch is that the dealership might not stray too far away from the MSRP. How much can I expect to add for air conditioning on the GL (for those hot Texas summers) . I know that at least one of the local Honda dealerships is tacking on just over a K for A/C. I just get the feeling that the honda folks might be more willing to "work" with me, if y'all know what I mean.
    Any suggestions?
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Eeeek, don't let me ruin anything for you, Hfitz! I'll be out on my ear! :-)

    BNormann is right, one swallow does not a summer make. But then, he's always right! ;-)

    As for tips on bargaining with dealers, boullosa, why not try our Consumer Advice area for excellent information about how to deal with your dealer when you want a great deal! The time you take to read this material will be well worth it when you see the results in your pocket.

    Keep us posted!
  • HFitzHFitz Posts: 13
    I had offers of car at invoice plus destination on both Civic and Golf. Probably a good time to deal on a Golf 'cause of Beetle fever!
  • zfarmzfarm Posts: 5
    I've owned three Hondas, all excellent (150,000 plus miles with no problems)

    "Bad" Hondas? Sounds like GM (or VW) propaganda to me!!! Maybe that "person" that you "met" at the VW dealership was the owner's wife?!!

    Again: Hondas = excellence, VW's = Mexican-made "quality". If you want German quality, buy a BMW.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Well, she looked a bit young to be anybody's wife. :-) Still, the car that is right for you is the one to buy! What's good for the gander isn't necessarily good for the goose!

  • infoinfo Posts: 5
    I would like to say hello to everybody out there and say what a useful resource you guys and gals are throwing my way. I too am looking at either the VW Golf vs the Honda Civic hatchback. Can anyone out there tell me what engines will be coming in on the new Golfs? Would it be worth the wait? Will the new Golfs be more expensive or the same? Which is the safer of the two cars( crash test;frontal and side)?

    I would like to hear some feedback from anyone out there that can guide me in the right direction.

    Thank you for your time.
  • DanaRDanaR Posts: 37
    I have the sales brochure for the 98 Golf IV (printed in Dutch) in front of me and here are the engines offered in Europe: 1.4 liters (75 hp), 1.6 liters (100 hp), 1.8 liter 5 valve (125 hp), 1.8 liter 5 valve turbo (150 hp), 2.3 liter V5 (150 hp), (and two diesel engines). My guess is that both 1.8's and the 2.3 V5 will be offered in the US. I would also expect the '99 Golfs to do well in crash tests, as safety is now a high priority to VW. The NB just scored the highest rating and I'd expect the Golf to follow suit. The brochure shows pictures on the safety of the car. I can't read Dutch but it sounds as if the safety is really touted.
    - Dana
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    I would expect VW to continue offering the 2.8 liter VR6 in the US. There are strange tax laws in Europe and the UK that are based on the size of the engine. Turbo, supercharged or not doesn't make a difference to the tax authorities.
    So, the rationale for the 2.3 liter VR5 doesn't hold true in the US. In fact, just the opposite is true here.

    Apparently, the VR5 is aimed at the touring crowd, with a little more refinement offered, compared to the turbo 4, which is aimed at the performance crowd.

    I can't imagine upper management agreeing to produce two engines with the same power for one platform. Seems like a lot of extra effort. Maybe there is not enough plant capacity to produce the 5-valve, 4cyl engines to meet ALL the demand (Golf, Jetta, Beetle, Passat, Audi A4, A3)

    Bruce. Roving host.
  • infoinfo Posts: 5
    Dana and Bruce I thank you for taking the time to get back to me so quickly. If either of you can advice me on whether too buy now or wait for the new one it would be appreciated( what would be the pros and cons and difference in price$$$)

    Thanks again
    R. Perez
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    R Perez,

    I will qualify my remarks by stating: I bought my beloved '91 Honda CRX in October 1991 after it was discontinued and I only paid $8300. It was the best deal I ever made on a car. Carlady and I bought a '96 Golf via Auto-By-Tel and it was PAINLESS, a wonderful experience.
    BUT... nothing beats the experience of walking out of a dealership and being able to truthfully say: "I WON!!!" Theres a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved, but I'm glad I did it once... BTW, it was only possible after reading and adhering to the great advice here on the Edmunds site.

    So, you choose: "latest and greatest, at a price" or "last year's news for bargain prices". OBTW, SAAB lovers are experiencing this exact quandry right now. You can get a very nice '98 SAAB 900 for $20k. It's a great deal, BUT you don't get all the 200-odd improvements in the 9-3.

    Bruce. your roving host.
  • ghoshghosh Posts: 17
    I just bought a Civic DX hatchback for my
    daily commute.I considered the Golf, but
    the Civic's higher safety rating convinced me.
    Why do Edmunds' editors say under cons for
    the Honda:
    "Boy this thing looks strange"
    Is that what everybody thinks?
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Well, I'd have to say I agree with that characterization. I looked at the Civic when I was in the market for a new car. The "strange look" of the car wasn't what put me off in the end but it did give me pause... But if it works for you, who cares what it looks like?

  • RojareynRojareyn Posts: 7

    Yes, I'm one of the masses that thinks the current-generation Civic's look "weird." It seems shaped awkwardly to my eyes and I can't say I like the new Civic dash. I'm currently puttering around in a '94 Hatchback on loan from my parents and I personally like the shape/styling of that car better than the current generation.

    I've also heard that a lot of consumers complained the 92 -> 95 generation Civic was too "sporty"

  • ghoshghosh Posts: 17
    I do care if others think the car is weird.
    That means my resale value is heading south...
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Don't worry ghosh, you just have to find *one* person who doesn't think it's weird. :-)

    Hmmm, if resale is that important to you, have you done any comparisons of resale value of the Golf v. Civic? I suppose it depends on how long you think you might own the car. You can check this link for Edmunds Used Price Guide for all makes and see how the two (and others) compare.

    Of course, you may want to take into consideration the ol' mutual funds disclaimer: past performance is no prediction of future profits! ;-)

  • ioilamioilam Posts: 1
    I'm selling my 86 Golf (120,000mi) and buying a 98 Civic DX. My wife has a 97 Civic LX sedan.

    The Civic has less torque than the VW (even my 12 year old one) so if you're looking for fun, you probably want the VW. So why do I choose to buy a Civic this time? Well, fun is not everything. A Golf may bring you 0.5 sec faster 0-60, but it will also slow you down for 3 hours, stuck in a repair shop while you have other more fun stuff to do.
  • devtabdevtab Posts: 1
    I purchased a Golf III 5 spd new in '94. I have absolutely loved the car. Haven't had a single problem with the car, currently have 57,000 miles on it. I'm looking forward to driving it until it is out of warranty. The 10 yr. 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is hard to beat. I did have a little hole that developed on the shifter boot which the dealer replaced with zero hassle. They take that 2 yr. 24,000 mile "everything" warranty seriously. My brother purchased a 94 Honda DX hatchback. He has been happy with the car and found it very reliable too, but he much prefers my Golf. He thinks it has a more "expensive feel" and is tons more fun to drive. I must say I agree. All the utility of a hatch and VW still managed to make 115hp fun!
  • OriSharirOriSharir Posts: 3
    My head is spinning! I thought I was truly decided on the Golf until I heard all the Civic owners' point of view. Now I'm more confused than ever.

    I'm still unsure about waiting for the '99 Golfs. When are they due out in the U.S. and are they worth the wait? My sad little 10 year old (1988) Ford Escort is deteriorating as I speak.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  • stryjstryj Posts: 2
    I too was undecided about the Honda DX or the VW Golf. Biggest factor for me deciding to buy the Golf was after the test drive. I felt more in control with the Golf. The 10yr/100,000 warranty ain't bad either

    Have had the car three months and can't find anything I do not like!
  • JFrankJFrank Posts: 2
    What's the word on automatic transmission Golfs?

    I love the Golf, but don't want a stick (San Francisco hills)
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I have a 1996 Golf with automatic transmission and it's been terrific! My only complaint at first was that the mileage was so bad -- worse than the 1987 Golf I traded in! They said that once the car was broken in (6,000 miles plus) it would be fine. I thought they were telling me that just to pacify me but sure enough, I get good mileage now.

    Most of my miles are city driving so I really appreciate not having to deal with the stick. I can't imagine driving in San Francisco without an automatic. Not for me! :-)

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