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VW Golf vs Honda Civic



  • david62david62 Posts: 2
    My 1985 Golf just (finally) bit the dust. Still it had a better ride than my 2001 Civic - and certainly better handling. No question Honda fit and finish is better and no question that on average, the civic will be a cheaper car to maintain. But my 85 Golf served my very well with nothing more than a fuel pump (or two) needed along the way. The Civic engine should last longer but not so sure about the transmission - we'll see.

    The only reason why I didn't buy another VW is price - the Golf's around me (PA) have been pretty expensive and I was able to get a really good deal on the Civic. Also, I'm not sure about the quality of VW's Mexico factory. Anything from Germany wouldn't be an issue.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    On number of relability failure complaints. If you have any doubts about VW relability look at the article in the April 2006 Consumer Reports "Reliability: Progress has stalled"


  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    I agree with your post (my '96 Golf GL AT is going strong), however, I don't think the 2.0TFSI engine will be available in the USA

    It is currently available in the 3-door US MKV GTI (and in the Jetta, the GLI, Passat, A3, and A4). It will be available in the 5-door GTI starting July. Whether it will ever be in the US Golf likely depends on US sales: in the US, the Jetta is the strong seller; elsewhere, it is the Golf.

    I need 5 doors and like this engine - so the choice is easy for me. You can paint the middle of the GTI grill body color, to make it look a bit less aggressive... ;)
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    My 1985 Golf just (finally) bit the dust. Still it had a better ride than my 2001 Civic - and certainly better handling. No question Honda fit and finish is better and no question that on average, the civic will be a cheaper car to maintain. But my 85 Golf served my very well with nothing more than a fuel pump (or two) needed along the way. The Civic engine should last longer but not so sure about the transmission - we'll see.

    The only reason why I didn't buy another VW is price - the Golf's around me (PA) have been pretty expensive and I was able to get a really good deal on the Civic. Also, I'm not sure about the quality of VW's Mexico factory. Anything from Germany wouldn't be an issue.

    Yes, a 2001 Civic would have better fit and finish than a 1985 Golf - but not any recent models compared side-by-side in the same model year. There is no question that inside materials, ergonomics, and outside paint, finish, and general assembly of the Golf is superior. Reliability is another issue, as discussed.

    As a side note, the US MkV GTI and Golf are built in Wolfsburg, not that it matters.
  • Ok so i am a struggling college student..... So i look to buy a reiable fun car after my other was totaled.. I came across a 1994 Acura Integra Gsr. Fast, Sporty, reliable, right? Wrong.
    Within one year this happen
    1. New half shaft $225
    2. New exhuast $250--great deal
    3. New slave cylinder $520
    4. New radiator $320
    5. New Thermostat $120
    6. New rear brakes and 1 new caliper $520

    Total form 11/05--2/06 $1955.00
    Guess what? Needs new timing belt ($600+)
    To bad i won't have to put that in beacuse it was stolen 3 weeks ago!

    I also thought i was buying this car from a reliable owner

    So what did i get?

    1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60
    I was told that this is one of the least reliable cars, but i don really care any more. Why?
    1.Better performance
    2.Handles better
    3.More options
    4.Looks 10x better
    5.Unforgettable ride! :P
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    before you bought it. I just bought a 1996 Civic with 126K on it. I haven't done anything but put gas in it. Doesn't need a thing. But then again, I did have it inpected before I bought it.

    I've bought over 10 used Civics and haven't done any coolant system work on any of them. I have bought a couple halfshafts and timing belts though. Keep us posted on that Corrado after you've owned it for a while. I'm sure you coulda said the same stuff about the Integra right after you bought it.

    The Corrado didn't get such a sorry reputation for nothing. They really didn't sell that many of them to get such a bad reputation. Something musta really been wrong wit em. TMV has em around $1000 though. Not a bad buy.
  • I get a kick out of this forum...which car is better...and I like your response. Very diplomatic and aware that everyone can be right, based on diversity of opinion, etc. I for one agree with your submission as I worked in the former Yugoslavia during the bosnian and kosovo wars. VW is durable, because that is what all the bosniaks and albanians told me and drove - and the roads there were pretty bad. A honda, a toyota, never would last in such conditions of mud and potholes, etc. I saw a few and they looked bad... all the moulded bumpers were flapping in the wind and the door jams would be squeaking away and air would pass through the cracks. VW golf? Well, they go and go, albeit with maintenance... but, if you look at a VW door hinge, for example, you can hang off the door....go ahead, put your whole 200 pounds on the open door and hang.... now do it with your honda or toyota... I bet you won't even try... reliable means never having to hit a pothole...having salt on your roads and ice hanging off your quarter panels. Also, if you put your hand under the rear wheel well of a VW, it has no edge... no accumulation of snow and salt and mud...check your honda or toyota... I agree, they are great cars, don't get me wrong... and VW is a great car as well...however, a TDI is a car that can haul anything, passes gas cars on hills and never lumbers... you can take your foot off the clutch and it drives up hills... gas cars are less economical because you HAVE to push the gas pedal to even move forward on a flat surface. TDI, great in more pushing and letting go of the clutch...gas engine feel. Stiff, solid, no rattles, VW... year after year...I have a 2003 and no problems... I like the drive of the VW... and I thought I would never buy one after seeing albanians driving like maniacs in them...5 star rating in crash tests... economy... what is not to like? Take care of it and it will take care of you...durability lasts longer then reliability. Reliable means you can miss service or maybe avoiding responsibility... VWs need love...and love means never having to say for sale...or, saying "I will be right back" to your kids. VW owners, it seems to me, wave like bikers to passing VW owners... and I must say, there are alot of beautiful women driving VWs! WOW! With 4% of the car marker in the US, VW means you are not average...maybe that is why we wave to each other like we found someplace to hang out amidst the masses... and for alot cheaper then the people who truly are. I miss my car.
  • If you don't want to do anything but put gas in a car and it runs and runs, get a Honda. If you don't want to take care of your kids, put them in summer camp... if you don't want to prepare your own meals go to a restaurant...if you get a VW, you may have to do something, God forbid!
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Has a lot more to do with politics than reliability. And I don't usually hang on my car doors.

    I love the drive of the VW too though. I've driven quite s few of them. The new Jetta drives like it was cast from a solid brick. But the new 5 cylinder engine was gutless and sounded labored. I know you have to rev a Honda, but at least the engine loves it.

    Not a fan of turbos or diesels. And combining them with the VW reliability history is even more worrisome to me. I'll take a Toyota or Honda hybrid instead if I wanted max gas mileage.

    I don't have to profess my personal history with my Hondas to prove anything. VW doesn't have its reputation for nothing. Hyundai and Kia are proving that you can turn your reputation around with hard work and perseverance. Maybe the new Jetta and Golf will turn the reliability coin over for VW. The Toureg hasn't.

    But hey...Somebody has to buy them. If you just want a VW, there's nothing wrong with that. All of them couldn't be bad. You just can't use "reliability" as a cornerstone of the debate. Safety, driver's car, and durable maybe, but it just might not start every morning.

    "If you don't want to do anything but put gas in a car and it runs and runs, get a Honda."

    That's funny. That's like saying it's better to be a diabetic because having a working pancreas is just too easy. Or how about Kidney failure. Dialysis every other day adds to the life experience.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It sounds like you have reliable (long-lasting car without needing repair or leaving you stranded - in which Honda excels) with durable (high-quality welds, doors that you were speaking of, heavier-duty things).

    I think the VW is probably the more durable (I've never swung my bodyweight from a door, or been off-roading in a New Beetle, so I'll take your word.), while the Honda is the more reliable one.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    What good is a car with a perfect interior and exterior that won't run? You can at least drive a rust-bucket.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731

    Many people forget that not-everyone has their priorities in rush-protection. I live in Birmingham, AL. The only snow I've seen this year was what we'd call a dusting, and it didn't even show up in the grass or roads, just things like our elevated deck. No salt at all this year, or since 1998, for that matter. That was the last time Birmingham, AL saw any measurable snow.

    My granddad (Pop, as he's known to me!) drove a 1987 Civic for 260,000 miles, sold it for $1,000 back in 2002, and it was rust free except for one place about a 1/2 inch in diameter, where a rock had hit the hood, peeled the paint, and he had not fixed it.

    I don't plan to be driving the same car at 260,000 miles.

    Maybe I should though; I have 158,000 on my '96, and it runs great.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    The roads I face in LA can be just as bad as Yugoslavia, and it's a riot watching the "sporty" cars - mostly BMW or Audi - bounce all over the place or end up at the side of the road with bent wheels and blown tires every time it rains.

    If you want a track car, BUY a track car. Me, I'd rather have a rock solid well handling box that can eat up anything an urban road can throw at the car. That's a tough challange, and to its credit __some__ of the VW's out there do a pretty good job dealing with it.

    It's too bad VW and Audi are so inflexible wrt some options on their cars - they seem to feel AWD must be only on a sports car with rubber band tires and low travel suspension. Sad. :(
  • vwrulezvwrulez Posts: 1
    I'm new to the forum. This is actually kind of cool, VW vs. Honda. I personally hate Hondas. I must admit they have gotten better over the last couple of years, but I am a Die Hard VW fan. I bought my first car about 3 years ago, 1993 VW Passat VR6. Loved that car. Expensive to repair, but what else can you expect out of a 10 year old car. I must have spent a total of $4000 on repairs, but blamed that mainly on the mechanic shop I used. I bought a 2005 Jetta 1.8T (MK4), what a car. Handles like a charm, BMW like interior and fast. Mind you this Jetta is a baseline...leather nothing, no sunroof and bloody wheel covers, not rims. The only extra feature is 1.8T. This baseline Jetta has way more luxury features than most Hondas. I looked at the extra features Honda has to offer and VW hands down has more standard luxuries than some top of the line Hondas (and dare I say Acura too). I guess that is my perk. I love power and class and VW makes beautiful cars and engines with lowend power (meaning they don't need reving to get power), but the standard features that are all included makes the car unique. Lets not forget that VW thinks about the occupant of their cars...everything is easy to reach, all the features are functional for a driver or passenger, and the standard 6 airbags makes me feel taken care of. I have driven Hondas and sat in Hondas, and I must say the only selling feature Honda will ever have is reliability and V-Tec, other than that you have to pay extra for any more features that tickle your fancy.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I bought my first car about 3 years ago, 1993 VW Passat VR6. Loved that car. Expensive to repair, but what else can you expect out of a 10 year old car. I must have spent a total of $4000 on repairs.

    What else can you expect? My 10 year old Honda has run me $300 with 159,500 miles so far. That was for a cooling fan motor and included labor. Just the diff in VW reliability and Honda reliability. I'm on the same tranny, suspension, rear brakes, all main engine parts minus belts, A/C, etc...

    Doesn't drive like a VW, but I get to drive it anytime I want since it's never in the shop. It's a balance i like.
  • jameseyjamesey Posts: 1
    im lookin to buy a used car, ive been told that hondas & acuras are reliable, i havent been able to find many in the area for a reasonable price, i have a vw dealer right down the road who loves vw's and can give me a decent price on some w/ just over 100,000 miles that have been checked & should be able to go another 100,000 easy.

    should i keep searching for a honda or try for a vw?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Read the post above yours, as well as the one I replied to. VW reliability is quite poor by today's standards, and while they drive nicely, they don't last long without repairs.
  • luxx80luxx80 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Honda Civic EX, and it's been great. I have almost 178,000 miles on it and it was only in the shop once, late last year. It's been incredibly reliable but I've been looking at the new VW GTI's, for when it's time to get a new car. I've heard such horror stories about VW reliability. Anyone here had a VW that went longer than 7-8 years without trouble? Thank you.
  • 7 or 8 years? On a really nice clear day I can get my cabriolet 7 or 8 MILES without a lot of trouble. I think the insulation on the wiring conducts electricity better than the wire inside. If it sprinkles the power windows quit. If it rains hard, the car will locate the most dangerous intersection around and die in the middle of it, while the heated seats send 12V into your soaking wet rear end. I need a little trailer to pull behind it so I can carry a awning to set up over it in intersections and a generator and hair dryer to dry off all the wiring harnesses. Sorry, it was one of those days out with it again today
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Can we rename this Rabbit vs Civic instead of Golf?
  • I have an automatic 1994 Civic EX with the 1.6 liter. I got 32 mpg average during combined highway and city driving last summer. With the AC on, it drops down to about 27 or 26 and these are the figures I typically get in the winter (you can't drive it without AC and heat in the winter or it fogs up). Note that this is the "sport" vtec engine for that model year, the same engine that they put in the Civic Si. I have heard of the regular ones, 1.5 L I think, getting over 40 highway and if you want a real shocker, check out the Del Sol and CRX mileage.

    Other thoughts on the car. Handling is amazing. It drives like a sports car even though it isn't. The power moonroof, locks, windows and all of that other stuff still works. I bought the car with 128,000 when I was 16 for $3,000. It now has 165,000 with under $500 worth of repairs the entire time I have owned it. This includes an O2 sensor that was bad when I bought it. It has been great but like a Honda, the road noise is annoying like any Honda. Anyway, that's just my experience and my take. No disrespect to VW. I am actually choosing between a new Golf and Civic right now.
  • sportflyer1sportflyer1 Posts: 13
    This was a real battle of the two cars, a 2012 civic LX and a 2011 Golf 4 door 2.5PZEV, both automatics. I was close to buying the civic as a second car, but the attitude of the Honda sales that they are doing you a favor by selling MSRP. not a couple of thousand over msrp, really sours the deal. I decided to test drive lots of othe alternatives, I used to own a 1992 Golf GTI 15 years ago, so I went and test drove a 2011 Golf 2.5. This car has trully grown up. It has the same interior as my 2006 C class mercedes and drives like it too. And they will sell it at invoice price. Brings it down to only $700 more than a Civic LX, but I get blue tooth w/c is not available on the Civic LX, the Golf just feels more car, and more value, the Civic a bit tinny. Tomorow afternoon, we are picking up the car, a shark blue metallic Golf 4 door PZEV
  • sportflyer1sportflyer1 Posts: 13
    We got the car last weekend, paid $100 over invoice, 2.9% for 60 months and I acutally got what I wanted for my old trade a 1996 Mercedes Benz C220. The Golf matches the ride of the C220 and also has better handling. The interior is Audi like, the 2.5 I-5 growls like a W203 Mercedes too.
  • ajomiiiajomiii Posts: 2

    My 17 year son lives about 800 miles away from me. I am looking to get him a safe reliable car. Two possibilities are the Golf and the Civic. One think that I worry about is the size of the Golf and it's wheelbase only being 165in long; the passengers rear passengers seem really close to the rear bumper. Should I be concerned about this? Consumer reports doesn't seem to like the 2012 Civic too much this year; but it does get good safety ratings from IIHS and the NHTSA.

    Some (including some of the people who write for Edmunds) say that a mid-size car is the best choice (like an Accord). Consumer reports also says the TSX is a good choice for teens.

    He'd probably be just driving my car if he lived here, but he doesn't have access to one at this home at the moment.

    Any opinions or thoughts on these choices?

  • These are two very different vehicles. The VW is a hatch and will be way more useful when carrying larger objects than a sedan with a trunk. For example, with the rear seat folded, he will be able to fit his bike into the hatch. If you look at publications that track reliability, e.g. Consumer Reports, you will find the Golf and Civic are both above average in reliability. Typically the manual transmissions will be more reliable than the automatics and will reduce the cost of the vehicle by about a thousand dollars. Note that the 2.5 in the VW is a five cylinder engine and will probably not provide as good fuel economy as the Honda four, but will provide more performance. The VW interior is much more upscale than the Civic. And, when comparing the two, you will find the VW to be more capable and much quieter on the highway. As far as accidents are concerned, the real issue is accident avoidance so opt for the better handling car ... that is the one element you can control.
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