2019 Honda Civic Si vs. 2019 Volkswagen GTI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Si deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Si’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The GTI’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigation Braking System optional in the Civic Si as “Superior.” The GTI scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the Civic Si and the GTI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si is safer than the Volkswagen GTI:

 

Civic Si

GTI

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

201

454

Neck Injury Risk

20%

33%

Neck Stress

176 lbs.

352 lbs.

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

53 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

34%

37%

Neck Stress

131 lbs.

174 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

62 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si is safer than the Volkswagen GTI:

 

Civic Si

GTI

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

727 lbs.

834 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Civic Si comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Honda will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the GTI.

There are over 60 percent more Honda dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Si’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Civic Si’s reliability 13 points higher than the GTI.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 7 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Civic Si has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GTI doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the Civic Si has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The GTI doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic Si stops much shorter than the GTI:

 

Civic Si

GTI

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Civic Si has larger tires than the GTI (235/40R18 vs. 225/40R18).

The Civic Si’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Si offers optional 19-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic Si’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The GTI doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic Si’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the GTI (106.3 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Civic Si is 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.

The Civic Si Sedan handles at .97 G’s, while the GTI Autobahn pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Civic Si Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GTI Autobahn (25.4 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Civic Si has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The GTI uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Civic Si Sedan is quieter than the GTI Autobahn:

 

Civic Si

GTI

At idle

39 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

78 dB

81 dB

Passenger Space

The Civic Si Sedan has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the Civic Si the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the GTI can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Civic Si has standard extendable sun visors. The GTI doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Civic Si has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the GTI Autobahn.

Model Availability

The Honda Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Volkswagen GTI isn’t available as a coupe.

Recommendations

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The GTI hasn’t been picked since 2015.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The GTI has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by over seven to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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