Last post on Jul 31, 2012 at 9:27 AM
You are in the Volkswagen Golf
What is this discussion about?
Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Hatchback
Apr 23, 1999 (8:37 pm)
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.
#128 of 666 parisian-- something you didn't address, though...
Apr 25, 1999 (7:34 pm)
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?
Apr 26, 1999 (11:35 am)
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.)
Apr 26, 1999 (11:41 am)
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.
May 03, 1999 (10:14 pm)
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!
May 04, 1999 (4:54 am)
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!
May 09, 1999 (4:27 pm)
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).
May 16, 1999 (1:35 pm)
>"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.
May 16, 1999 (10:45 pm)
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.
May 19, 1999 (4:33 am)
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.