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Honda Civic, Volkswagen GTI, Coupe, Hatchback
Sep 21, 2002 (10:31 am)
I bought mine with the intention of modifying it. A friend of mine bought a 2003 GTI 1.8t last weekend and promptly left town for a couple of weeks. He left it at my house with instructions for me to break it in. It is interesting to drive the two back to back handling-wise. Mine has a very aggressive suspension under it - racing springs with a 2" drop, bilstein sport shocks, Neuspeed upper front stress bar and 25mm rear sway bar. It handles like a go cart, very neutral and extremely tight. I think the ride is perfect still very tolorable although most people would hate it. I still have the 17" Michelin Pilot Sport's on it that it came with - these are the all season sports so not the greatest grip but I'm doing my best to wear them out so I can put some Toyo Proxis T1's on it. I take my GTI on the track and also like to AutoX it, that's what I set the suspension up for. When I did it I thought I'd use the GTI for a weekend car because the ride would be too punishing for day in day out driving/ commuting. To my suprise that wasn't the case at all, I bought an X5 about a month before the GTI last year to use as a daily driver. The X has just hit 5k miles and the GTI is pushing 12k miles after a year. The only time I drive the X is when I have clients or passengers - the GTI's back seat has been out of it for 6 months now - the dogs love it. I consider it my high performance mini-minivan.
That said the stock GTI isn't that bad a handler, it's obvious that VW tuned it for cruising, but it's handling is totally acceptable for most people. If you wanted better handling and keep 90% of the ride compliance I'd do the VW-Eibach sport springs that VW sells in it's accessory catalog for a couple hundred bucks - not nearly as aggressive as racing springs, leave the stock shocks, put an upper front stress bar (also called a strut tower brace) for $100 and beefier rear sway bar like mine for about $250. Installation for everything would be another couple hundred at an independent VW shop. A GTI so equipped would be totally acceptable for someone who wants a very good neutral handling car with no sway - it would hang with a lot of BMW's in the twisties.
I absolutely love fast, stealthy little hatchbacks. When I was in the market for a new car last year I was on the wait list for a new M3. When it came right down to ordering the M3 I didn't think the M3 would have met my needs as well as an X5 and a modified GTI. I'd have been pampering that M3, worried of every little scratch and paranoid to beat on it at the track - if I took it there at all, forget about AutoXing it. Plus that M3 would be my only car (spouse has an Audi Avant that I've been banned from).
On top of all this dump another grand in tuning that 1.8t motor and you have 230 HP and 235 lb ft of torque and an ear to ear grin. Plus this little GTI takes a whole lot of punishment without a wimper, they are built like a tank.
#70 of 523 driver36
Sep 21, 2002 (11:02 am)
where did you see si for 16k
Sep 21, 2002 (5:10 pm)
Assuming that you couldn't modify the car, you had to pick one and stick with it. Would you do the GTI for $19k or the Si for $16k?
$19k GTI, or $16k Si + $3k in mods?
However, since you haven't driven the Si yet, you can wait to answer.
Sep 21, 2002 (5:11 pm)
You can get Si's for $16k in Los Angeles, I don't know about elsewhere. I can give you dealer info if you want.
#73 of 523 Si's for $16K
Sep 21, 2002 (8:07 pm)
In Chicago they were advertised in paper at several dealers for $16,5 and dealer I discussed one with said $16K even if I took one in stock.
Sep 23, 2002 (4:14 am)
I have got to get out and test one. $16k makes it really attractive, I'll investigate what typical aftermarket performance mods would cost. One area you'd have to address that I didn't on my GTI is wheels/ tires. Every article I've read on the SI says it needs more aggressive wheels/ tires. $3k should be more than enough to address any issues. Honda aftermarket mods are plentiful and cheap.
Do you see many SI's on the road in your area? I've seen one since they came out - they are rarer than a MINI around here.
#75 of 523 Si re rickover
Sep 23, 2002 (5:48 am)
I have not seen one on the road. There are 5 at the dealership though, and it is a small dealership.
#76 of 523 where are all the Si's?
Sep 25, 2002 (12:42 pm)
I also haven't seen many of them around wher I live either. I think I may have seen 2 on the road and one on a semi heading somewhere. That was all in the last few months. Before that, the only one I'd ever seen was the show one at the Denver Auto Show back in March. That was my first in person view of it and I immediatly disliked the styling. I'd also have to say that even at $3000 less than a GTI, it's still not a great deal. It's more than easy to spend most if not all of that $3000 on upgraded wheels and tires just to get to where the GTI is as far as wheel & Tire fitment. What was left over if any wouldn't be enough to get you much over the 160 stock hp. I'd still rather have the GTI w/ 17's and spend another $1000 for a chip and some suspension mods and I'd have a good handling, 220+ hp GTI that will take on even moderatly modified Si's.
Sep 25, 2002 (11:07 pm)
$3000 on upgraded wheels and tires to match the GTI? What for? I'm only talking about driving functionality, I don't need 17" wheels.
So say you spend $2k modifying your GTI. All you have is a front wheel driver, with no warranty, known for being somewhat unreliable, costing slightly less than a WRX, and having inferior performance.
That is why I'm not bothering talking about mods and all that, because you can always say, "well, for just $1000 more I can..." especially in this car segment.
#78 of 523 GTI vs. Si re muffin
Sep 26, 2002 (6:57 am)
GTI MSRP for 03 is $19,640 and Si MSRP is $19,000. GTI has better performance, better wheels, better crash test rating, 2 year longer warranty. GTI is more fun to drive. As far as reliability the GTI has average to above average reliability scores so you must think the majority of all cars are known as "somewhat unreliable". Is this correct? Yes, it is common knowledge that the Honda should have better reliability since Honda is one of the best for reliability.
And this is not a WRX comparision, the GTI will at least finish number 2 out of three in a race with the WRX, GTI, and Si with the Si dead last.