VW Golf GT TDi vs Civic - Civinfo
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 10th April 2006, 09:30 Thread Starter
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VW Golf GT TDi vs Civic

Background: I've owned 4 Mk4 Golfs over the years (90, 115, 150 petrol and 150 diesel) and then went off on a foray of other cars. In Autumn last year I needed to ditch my Audi and get a new diesel hatch for about 18k to 19k. So I waited for the 170 GT, and waited, and waited. And then I gave in (owing to the state of the Audi) and opted to bite the bullet and get a 140 GT TDi. So I booked the test drive, as well as a test drive of the new Civic, because I thought it looked quite funky (and appeared on paper and in the reviews to put up more than a fight).

Just in case there's anyone else out there in the same position as me - here are my findings, and opinions. The 2 cars are a 140 GT TDi with dual air and metallic paint (19.1k) and the Civic 2.2 CTDI EX with metallic paint (18.5k).

Looks and quality

We started with the Honda and quickly realised that in the right colour (so not pensioner blue, for example) the car looks really modern and very cool. We both liked it from all angles except the lower rear, which has a couple too many triangles. Inside the car is just amazing. The wrap around 2-layer dash with Lexus style instruments is very nice. The Satnav is nice and high and the speedo with shift light is very clear. The quality is up there with Mk4 levels, except much more modern. The boot is huge, and the rear seats do tricks that make the car more useful than my A4. Estate. When we went on to see the Golf, it looked so old fashioned and a bit dull (it really appeared to look the same as a 1.6 and nothing like a GTi). The boot was quite a bit smaller, the dash seemed several grades cheaper, and you sat in a very "boxy" (slab doors, simple upright dash) environment compared to the Honda. On the test drive there were two loud and distinct rattles from behind the left hand side of the dash too...

Driving

Both engines seemed to perform identically. The Honda pulled with less lag from lower (but only a tiny bit) and the VW sounded a bit more aggressive when revved. But the VW engine sounded like a tractor (and quite a large one at that) at idle and low revs, whereas the Civic was almost like a petrol. Even before you got going, the cars felt very different. The Honda is like a coupe (a bit like a 350Z) insofar as the windscreen is far away and raked, the A pillars are a bit big, the C pillar is huge, and you sit low and are enveloped by a swooping interior. The Golf in comparison was very "upright" with a close screen, a gearstick in a low position and a more van like feeling.
Once underway the Honda felt good. The pedals are great and the steering responsive. It took a little time to adjust to the blind spots, but big mirrors helped. Bends felt right, you could place the car accurately. Lots of grip too. In the Golf you can see more, and I felt you could drive just a little quicker. The rear was just a bit more defined when reacting to steering input, and fast sweeping bends a little more relaxed. Underway, the Honda engine was quieter, and the VW suffered a lot more wind noise at 80+. That's a speed, not an average Honda owner's age.

Costs

The Honda looked and felt more expensive, but is claimed to be more economical (who knows though what the truth is). But the equipment on the Civic is just miles ahead of the VW. Dual zone climate (voice controlled!), DVD satnav with TMC, Xenon lights, cruise, bluetooth phone, folding mirrors, rain sensor, bigger wheels and so on are all in the price. To get the Golf to the same spec as the Civic bumps the price up to 23k!!!

Dealers

Dealing with VW was, once again, a nightmare. We just couldn't believe how a man could be so rude, pushy and unhelpful. He was inaccurate and had poor product knowledge. When he realised we'd just tested a Civic he said "who on earth would buy a Honda over and above a VW?" Me, I thought.

Decision

After the VW "experience" I was sure that the VW drove marginally better. But it was on very different roads. So I went back to the Honda dealer and explained. He then made me sign a couple of forms and told me to take the demonstrator away for a few days. All I did was take it on the same route as I took the Golf, and yes, the Golf handles just a tiny bit better. But only a tiny bit, and we both knew that the Golf was outdone on nearly every other front and the order was placed.

So there you go, how VW lost one loyal customer to Honda, of all people!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 11th April 2006, 12:26
 
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Excellent description and review of the test drives.

I also looked at the Golf v's EX 2.2.CTDI but as soon as I openend the drivers door I knew the Honda was way ahead of the Golf.

Pricewise the Honda was fully loaded for the same money as a basic Golf. Ride I felt was supperior with the Honda slightly more responsive but with a much better driving position.

And dealer treatment... well no comparison VW were surley, superior and almost downright rude, Honda couldn't do enough to help. I have had my car 2 weeks tomorrow and have had 2 phone calls from the saleman making sure I'm getting on ok.

I notice on the SATNAV picks your journey started in Telford did you buy from JT Hughes by any chance?
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 11th April 2006, 13:32 Thread Starter
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No, mine came from Francis Honda - I'm in N Leics. I'm just running it in still - but one of the things I noticed on the demo car was the slightly "heavy flywheel" effect - where the engine held its revs annoyingly when changing gear (compared to the Golf). The huge relief is that this is something the ECU learns, and with just me driving my car from new, the ECU allows the revs to drop quickly when changing up, giving amazing smooth fast changes. Fantastic!

Any faults on yours yet? The only thing I've noticed is the cig lighter socket comes out with the cig lighter...
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th April 2006, 12:11
 
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No problems so far but only 2 weeks old today.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th April 2006, 12:49
 
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Why did I read that...

Pottsy

I'd just like to point out that I wish i had never read that report.... I also used to have a Golf (mk iv tho) so guess where i found this site from.... Then swapped Golf for a BMW 320d Sport Touring (which was a company car). So when the BM went back as the job went west, I had to get myself something to drive. To be honest, I was a bit bored with efficient but soulless Germans, especially when I realised that the list for my BM was nearly 30k including extras, and even a fairly standard Golf GT TDi 140 was going to be approaching 20k.

So I decided to go for character and style rather than capability and quality and bought an ex demo Alfa 156 2.4JTD 20v. It looks great and the engine is the business - 2.4, 5 cylinder 20 valves and 175bhp. It pulls like a train and sounds great (especially for a diesel). But it is an old design, and it is an Alfa. So ride and handling are average and the plastics creak alot.

What I should have done is buy a Japanese car with style and character and great equipment for the money - but lets be honest, I discounted that immediately as Jap cars rarely have style and character (my wife has a Mazda 5, which is great but not really full of character). Now I know otherwise....

Wonder what deal my local Honda dealer will give me on one like yours - even my choice of colour. Does your car have any extras on it? And did you get a discount / overvalued part ex????

And can I afford to write off 3k on a car I've only owned 3 months...

Ian
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th April 2006, 15:41 Thread Starter
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Hi Ian,

Mine is the EX, which is the top spec one with satnav and handsfree phone built in - so it's full of toys. I too have avoided Japanese cars in the past for the same reason, but a spell in a 350Z made me realise that if chosen well, there are some good ones.

I'd get down to a dealer and see what he can do, but I expect that you might just have to take a big hit on the Alfa... Let us know what happens!
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 13th April 2006, 08:59
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After putting the order in for my 'Sport' over here in Portugal, I must say that I was very much tempted by the brand new Golf GT, whihc features a 1.4 TSi Dual charger engine.

170 BHP from a 1.4!!!!??!!! Thats engineering miracles in my book!!!!

The way it does it is it has a Super Charger to help the enging along during low revs and getting away, and then a Turbo Charger takes over further up the rev range.....quite brilliant.

Three things put me off :

1. I really don't fancy being a Guinea Pig for such a revolutionary engine.

2. I would imagine the servicing costs for such an advanced engine like that are gonna be enormous!!!!!

3. The price of it is nearly 3000 Euros more than the 1.8 Civic 'Sport'!!!!

Brilliant idea that I'm sure will apear in lots of VW's/Skoda's etc in the future, but not for me.........
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 13th April 2006, 12:11
 
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Pottsy

I think swapping my car after 3 months is nearly as daft as jacking in my job after 3 months with no perm position to go to - so one stupid move only for this month I think.....

So I'll stick with the Alfa for now (at least until perm employment calls again!) and then look again later in the year.

Good luck with the motor - and what happened to the 350z? Find 2 seats too restrictive (that's something else I'm thinking about, allied to a vtec engine....), can you spot the man with the mid life crisis!
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 17th May 2006, 14:25
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I just got rid of an VW Golf 140 GT TDI on a '04 for the Civic EX 2.2 i-CTDi, no comparison, chalk and cheese to be honest, I think the Golf is now the old mans car not the Civic.

The only problem I am unhappy with is the fuel economy, I am a big motorway driver, steady 70 - 75mph, used to get 58+ from the Golf, low 50's from the Civic at the moment.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 17th May 2006, 15:29
 
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I couldn't agree more, I went to the VW dealership with 20K burning a hole in my pocket, and all I got was a big disrespecting like a 17yr old.

The Honda dealership were falling all over themselves to do business.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 17th May 2006, 15:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonkySights
I couldn't agree more, I went to the VW dealership with 20K burning a hole in my pocket, and all I got was a big disrespecting like a 17yr old.

The Honda dealership were falling all over themselves to do business.
VW were okay with me tbh, but as soon as I took a look inside a Jetta/Golf/Passat I felt like taking my own life.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th May 2007, 22:57
 
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Very true with VW dealers attitudes - thinking back 8 years ago when I got the Golf - at the time being just 20 - oh those were the days - dealer spent most of the time talking to my dad - who I take along for opinion and as he haggles like the devil himself!.
Felt a bit ignored at the time but just put it down to my age - anyways regularly in for dealer servicing in the last 8 years as the attitude didnt change - always felt like I was a tramp looking round a BMW showroom.
Anyways felt it was time for a new car - so went looking round (again with dad - still can't haggle just feels so rude!) and made a special effort to dress down - trackies and a t-shirt.
Didnt bother with VW - dont like the new golf and not over impressed with old one - but then again it was an economy 1.4 s trim - but hate the staid dash and interior.
In my job saw some of the first new civics into the country so new the 5 door was fabulous - but like 3 doors as NOT going to have kids and 90% of time just me in the car - only occasionaly dirve my other half and rarer still to have back seat passengers.
Loved the look of the 5 door as looks like most 3 door hatches -
SO anyways went and fell in love with type S bronze on first sight - dealer was brilliant and was enthusiastic about car and actually talked to me! - went and looked round BMW - 1 series nice car but way too expensive - Toyota Celica second hand - nice but high insurance and although cheaper would be a grand to get leather replaced (second hand - looked mint except for interior).
Left me with a choice of Civic or old style CR-V - my other half likes SUV's!
Anyways a 45 min test drive with dealer (me driving) and decision was made - Type S GT
Loved the test drive - was good route taking in bad country roads - town roads and motorways.
Dealer encouraged me to test the car in terms of higher acceleration and putting my foot down - which was a first - I did say to him has probably been the most sedate test diev hes ever been on! And no complaints from dad and other half who were in the back seats.
A pure reverlation in customer service from the dealer - although wish there was a loo near dealers as keep getting offered coffee and after 5 cups or so can get distracting.
VW seem to only appreciate "older" drivers whereas Honda - whos main market is "older" drivers seems to be on the ball regarding its "younger" customers.
Alex
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 18th May 2007, 15:33
 
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I can only criticise VW for their pathetic customer care, poor quality products (perhaps i had a dud...) and comical commentary when things go wrong - and boy do they know how to get out of warranty claims.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 19th May 2007, 21:25
 
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Must agree with all the above in regards VW, "ex 150 GTI", (ex cdti) lot of car for the money, find the voice sat nav a bit of a chew, does'nt seem to understand the bit of Welsh twang ive got left..... never mind, OH!! and the bluetooth telephone keeps changing to ITALIAN for some reason, BELLA!!! (sound site).
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 28th May 2007, 13:48
 
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Here's my thoughts on this one, I've owned a Mk5 Golf GT TDI 140 for 1 year / 30K miles which I sold to buy the Civic EX I've now owned for 1 year / 30K miles, so have a good feel for both cars.

Enginewise, the Golf feels quicker, but almost certainly isn't, the Civic is far smoother and more refined. At idle, the Golf is obviously a diesel, the Civic far less so. In the same type of driving use, I found the Golf 3 - 5mpg more effecient on average, based on miles between fill ups, not trip computer readings.

I thought the Golf paintwork poor, and prone to chips. The Civic is worse.

I love the Civic's looks, inside and out. The scratchy dash is a real shame though, I daren't touch it or clean it.

Kit wise, the civic wins hands down. It's also more practical, more spacious, and carries loads better.

Ride and handling, the Golf wins hands down. I also found it more comfortable on longer journeys, maybe just a personal thing though, there's not much wrong with the Civic.

The roadtests I read before buying the Civic said the ride was poor and noisy. Ok, it's not the best in class, but some of the road tests made me wonder if it would feel like being in a cement mixer with a pile of bricks. The reality is, yes it's firm, and thumps over big bumps, but it's a decent overall ride, and nowhere near as bad as some tests make out.

Driving wise, both cars are very similar. I've grown used to the Civic's visibility quirks, and sometimes the rear window is a bonus when it prevents the headlights of cars following from dazzingly you. Controls all feel good on both cars, gear change etc is fine, nothing to choose there. Engines feel punchy on the road, just like a good turbo diesel should. The Golf is more repsonsive, but less refined, so swings and roundabouts.

With the Golf, I visited the dealer twice after buying the car, both times for servicing. Nothing went wrong or fell off, as you would expect from a VW. Servicing costs were more expensive than the Civic, but I have no complaints over the service or dealer at all.

Both cars have creaks and rattles after 30K miles. I'd say there's little in it build quality wise, but the Civic interior is more prone to wear.

My biggest dissapointment with the Civic is the little problems. Flaking laquer on the wheels, inoperable fuel filler, useless bluetooth phone, etc. These are all minor niggles, but they've really spoiled my enjoyment of owning the car. I still love the looks, but after so many trips to the dealer, who never returns calls, never has the parts in stock to fix the problem, and basically appears to just accept all these faults as being the way Civics are, I start to wonder why I sold the Golf...

There's very little between the 2 cars, and if Honda can crack all the teething troubles, and sort out the dealers, they'll be onto a winner. Having owned both for a decent amount of time and miles, I would have to say in my experience, the Golf just edges it as an ownership prospect at the moment.
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 28th May 2007, 19:49
 
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Good report,
You are quite right about the golf, if I had my time over I would keep the golf as I had ironed out all the niggles & problems, I started with the 130 gt, then spent £4,500.00 to put my bum in the 150, "big mistake", (130) more flexable, & pulled like a train.
The civic is very dissapointing because of quality issue's, (am I expecting too much of HONDA) ??? yeh,,,,, the dash........UGH........ you crap yersel when it's dusty cause you think HOW AM I GOING TO CLEAN THAT, spot on with the paint also, "it's very prone to chipping, more than any car Iv'e ever owned. Yes the civic is a lot of car for the money "toys" everytime I use the bluetooth it resets itself to ITALIAN,,,,mama'mia, got two years free servicing with mine, thats when it go'es the journey, wonderfull shape, great engine, NOISY interior, more creeks than a haunted house, SHAME REALY.
Bring on the AUDI A4 S LINE.. YUP.... Well written.
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 2nd July 2007, 22:24
 
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One question for anyone driving the ctdi (140bhp).

Whats the LOWEST speed you can get in 2nd gear? Ie. Change to 2nd and come off the pedals (on a level road).

Thanks in advance.

T.
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 2nd July 2007, 23:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommygun View Post
One question for anyone driving the ctdi (140bhp).

Whats the LOWEST speed you can get in 2nd gear? Ie. Change to 2nd and come off the pedals (on a level road).

Thanks in advance.

T.
good question! (although - did you intend to put it here in the "vs Golf Tdi" review? - if not, we can move it )

I would say circa 10mph - but as it happens, I join a moving 1/2mile queue every morning so I'll try and get a closer figure
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 2nd July 2007, 23:26
 
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Hi TT,

Gosh, those early morning jams, dont you just love em

I did mean to put my question in this section as my friend has a tdi golf (110bhp) and we get bang on 11mph in 2nd gear as the slowest speed. Ofcourse, this is when the car is warmed up.

I just wanted to comapre the two..... The 110bhp vs 140bhp. My previous jap car was a 1.4 (petrol) almera and that would drive under the 5mph mark in 2nd gear!!!

What does it depend on? Bhp/valves/???
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 2nd July 2007, 23:27
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Torque, gearing, weight etc



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