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Honda Civic, Volkswagen GTI, Coupe, Hatchback
#21 of 523 My 2002 GTI 1.8t
Dec 14, 2001 (8:30 am)
To me no car is just the way I want it so I always tweak them here and there to make them better. With all the aftermarket stuff available for both of these cars you can easily modify them to your personal needs.
I got a killer deal on my GTI and decided not to get the leather and invest the approx $1k in upgrades instead. I really worked the dealer and got a little over $1k off and made them throw in the VW Eibach sport springs (without installation). My silver black cloth 2002 1.8t GTI has the luxury package (sunroof, monsoon) and 17" wheel package that have excellent Michelin Pilots on them for $400 (a deal and a half). It came through with the the new head unit so it has the indash CD.
The suspension is soft from the factory, but easily fixed with aftermarket springs. The Eibach springs from VW are perfect, they lower the GTI about an inch and tighten up the suspension perfectly. All the floatiness is gone, nice controlled ride that's not rough at all - no need for aftermarket shocks - perfect. I also added a polished Neuspeed front upper stress bar ($106) hard to say what difference it made since the springs and stress bar went in on the same day.
Now for the engine - the 1.8t is an absolute gem of an engine cheap and easy to upgrade. I had a modified 2000 Passat 1.8t that never gave me one problem outside of a broken floor mat clip. I easily modified that Passat to about 230 HP and did a bunch of other stuff to it. A friend kept bugging me to sell it to him and I finally did. I'm going a slightly different route with the GTI than the Passat.
The GTI has a Neuspeed turbo air intake ( does not replace factory airbox, 7 hp gain) and downpipe (welds to the catalytic converter, another 7hp) and Neuspeed chip upgrade which gives it 210 hp and 235 lbs feet of torque. Also installed a K&N low restriction air filter in the factory air box. I'd guess my GTI has about 225 HP now - easily keeps up with a friends BMW 330i and handles really well. I'm keeping the factory exhaust - I did the Neuspeed exhaust on my Passat and got really tired of the added noise. A good aftermarket exhaust like the Neuspeed would add a few more HP to the GTI.
Total cost of all the upgrades including installation is about $1200 not including the cost of the Eibach springs which were thrown in with the car purchase. My GTI with the upgrades has all the drivability of the standard 180 hp GTI - minimal turbo lag, very smooth, lots of low end grunt, just a lot more go - a lot more. I plan to use it in weekend autocross so I may add swaybars to it, I'll have to wait and see. I plan to take it to the track to see what it does in the quarter mile, just out of total curiosity - this thing flat out hauls a##.
How much would it cost to do the same to the Civic? I'd bet a lot more. You'd spend more than $1,200 on aftermarket 17" wheels with the Pilots on them alone. I wouldn't want to think what you'd have to do to get 220+ HP out of it - and how would the drivability be???
#22 of 523 Your 2002 1.8T GTI vs. Civic Si 200?
Jan 02, 2002 (11:54 am)
I don't have a 2002 Civic Si, obviously since they haven't come out yet. I am particularly not a fan of the hatchback so I probably won't get one either. But I can tell you, that for the price you paid for your GTI + the $1200 in mods, I could get that same performance in my 2000 Si. You have to remember first, that the price out the door is significantly more. I paid $16500 for my Si new and I bought it in Jan of 2000. It has been two years not and the only mod I made so far was changing out those crappy Michelin XGT V4 tires with some Yokahama S306's. The difference is like night and day. I thought about adding a supercharger, I believe with a Vortech unit I could get close to the HP numbers you are but definitely not the torque (a big Honda downfall in my opinion). But as for driveability, it would still be there. I have driven several supercharged Si's and they all seemed to drive the same as mine, just more kick off the light and definitely more accelleration up to speed. To be honest, I have wanted a Jetta GE 1.8t for sometime and when VW stated that they were going to bump up the HP to 180 I was salavating. The truth right now is that VW reliablity is shodding at best. I am not getting that from message boards, or CR reports. I am getting if from the 6 people that I know who own Jettas that are 2000 or newer. Each one of them has had major problems, the largest being a guy who needed a new tranny and it took them two and a half months to do it. Actually they put two in, the second one went bad too, so I guess the third one is a charm. Another girl told me that she loved her Jetta, and would get another one, but it had been in the shop 5 times in the past 11 months. She was glad that she leased it though! I can't settle for that. The two VW dealers around here are crappy, they act like they don't need you and they leave you out on the curb once they get you in the car. Another lady I work with has had nothing but trouble from day one. Stating problems of electrical problems, door problems, engine problems and radio problems. And to boot, her head light went out and it cost her $60 bucks for the bulb! and I put it in for her so the dealer wouldn't charge her $30 for labor. That is ridiculous! To be fair here, I have had a horrible time at one of the Honda dealers here. The first time, I went, my wheel beering went bad (I believe my nephew used my car while I was out of town and hit a huge pothole). The dealer fixed it for free the same day and I had the car when I got out of work. The bad experience was at the other dealer that I went to where they were going to fix a paint chip that I got, but they were suppose to call me for an appointment. They never called. To me that is inexcuseable, they are into customer service, they should do anything in their power to make your experience enjoyable if not tolerable. I haven't heard anyone who can say that about VW in recent years. If VW can get reliability issues under control, they will have an incredible car that would be a bargain at their prices.
#23 of 523 What's the weight of the 17" rims provided by VW?
Jan 03, 2002 (7:15 am)
I realize that $400 is a good price for a 17" set-up, but I'd also assume that they aren't the lightest rims out there. If you're going aftermarket for the Si, at least you can get lightweight rims (like TE-37s). Personally, I'd rather save the $400 and get rims that I really want. Besides, every rim option that I've seen for VWs isn't going to win any beauty prizes (or really any OEM rim from most makes).
Jetta has gotten some very bad reliability ratings recently, though I really don't understand why it would be given worse grades than the GTI. I'm glad that VW has stepped up on increasing the warranty, but if they really wanted to impress me, they'd extend the warranty on the window regulators. It's the little things that fall apart on the GTIs, not the drivetrain. I think that the Si is going to hold up better in the longterm.
And, I actually think that not having an auto option is an advantage for the Si. Leave slushboxes to the minivans.
Jan 03, 2002 (4:12 pm)
I agree with what you say about rims. But most people like the looks of 17 inchers even if it might affect performance.
But then, there may be lighter 17" wheels too (new ITR/CTR?), but they would cost a lot more.
#25 of 523 robert - do you know?
Jan 03, 2002 (6:58 pm)
I don't know about this (I should know by Saturday, after the Philly auto show); are the Si's rims a 4 or 5 bolt pattern? I'd guess 4, and would hope that the new ITR and/or CTR rims would be 5. This would probably make it hard to swap, though I'm sure that you could swap over the hubs. Which would make it interesting for other swaps as well, such as the brakes, which should be bigger on the Type R's.
The Frankenstein possibilities are pretty cool, which is something that the GTI doesn't have going for it, obviously.
#26 of 523 incorrect information from moparbad
Jan 22, 2002 (6:49 pm)
as far as moparbad comment goes about "The Si is manufactured in UK". this is not true. hondas are made in one of three places depending on what the vin starts with....and your choices are....usa...japan and canada. however, because canadian si specs are completely different from the us and japan. sis are only coming out of one of the two. as far as what is going to be faster. same as last year....facts are facts...rolling off the lot the si will get to 60 before the gti. check the stats. the 2000 si was gettin there before this years gti. 7.1 in 2000. this year is not sure on exact since they seem to vary so far but it is guarenteed 6s. and well leave it at that and wont even touch on how the handling is worlds apart...
#27 of 523 not true
Jan 22, 2002 (6:55 pm)
this isn't a serious issue, but all of the civic hatches (in this case, Si's) will be built in Swindon [England] and shipped to the US. The hatch shares no body panels with the over civics made at the NA plants, so it wouldn't make sense to put them on the same assembly line. Well that, and every article out there mentions that the Si is being produced in England.
#28 of 523 as far as tommyp13's question
Jan 22, 2002 (6:58 pm)
the si wheels will still have the same 4 lug design.
Jan 22, 2002 (7:01 pm)
who designs and assembles the engine is completely and in no way the same as who puts together the body..
#30 of 523 as far as reliability goes...
Jan 22, 2002 (7:07 pm)
there is no point in arguing honda reliability which is one of (if not the) most reliable line of cars on the road to vw how is one of the least reliable and carrying one of the worst reputations of anything on the road. sure read a problem board. every car in the world will have their share and their complaints and their boards. but compare country wide overall stats and now hes sitting on here and facts and facts.