2019 Honda Civic vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic 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’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Golf SportWagen’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 as “Superior.” The Golf SportWagen scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the Civic and the Golf SportWagen 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 is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

 

Civic

Golf SportWagen

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

201

286

Neck Injury Risk

20%

34%

Neck Stress

176 lbs.

336 lbs.

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

61 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

43%

Neck Stress

131 lbs.

210 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

91 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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Civic is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

 

Civic

Golf SportWagen

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.2 inches

Hip Force

306 lbs.

310 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

356 lbs.

588 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

HIC

260

274

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

45 G’s

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

Warranty

The Civic 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 Golf SportWagen.

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’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Civic’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Golf SportWagen 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.’s camshafts. If the Golf SportWagen’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Civic has a standard 500-amp battery. The Golf SportWagen’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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’s reliability 14 points higher than the Golf SportWagen.

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.

Engine

The Civic has more powerful engines than the Golf SportWagen:

 

Horsepower

Civic 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

158 HP

Civic 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

174 HP

Civic Hatchback Sport 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

180 HP

Golf SportWagen 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

147 HP

Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

168 HP

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Civic 1.5T is faster than the Golf SportWagen S 1.8T (automatics tested):

 

Civic

Golf

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.9 sec

21.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.2 sec

8.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

89 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Hatchback gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen:

 

 

Civic

Golf

 

FWD

Sport 1.5 Turbo/Manual

29 city/38 hwy

25 city/35 hwy

1.8T/Manual

 

1.5 Turbo/Auto

31 city/40 hwy

24 city/33 hwy

1.8 Turbo/Auto

 

Sport 1.5 Turbo/Auto

30 city/36 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

22 city/32 hwy

1.8T/Manual

 

 

n/a

22 city/30 hwy

1.8T/Auto

The Civic 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 Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Civic offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic stops much shorter than the Golf SportWagen:

 

Civic

Golf

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Civic has larger standard tires than the Golf SportWagen (215/55R16 vs. 195/65R15). The Civic Sport/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf SportWagen (235/40R18 vs. 225/45R17).

The Civic LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf SportWagen S’ standard 65 series tires. The Civic Sport/Touring’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Golf SportWagen SE’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic LX has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf SportWagen S. The Civic Sport/Touring’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Golf SportWagen SE.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic’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 Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Golf SportWagen (106.3 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

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

The Civic Sport Hatchback handles at .93 G’s, while the Golf SportWagen SE pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Honda Civic may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

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

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Coupe a Compact car, while the Golf SportWagen Station Wagon is rated a Small Station Wagon.

The Civic Sedan has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf SportWagen (97.8 vs. 94.3).

The Civic Coupe has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room and .3 inches more rear legroom than the Golf SportWagen.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Civic Hatchback easier. The Civic Hatchback’s trunk lift-over height is 22 inches, while the Golf SportWagen’s liftover is 24.8 inches.

Ergonomics

The Civic (except LX/Manual) has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the windows are left open on the Civic 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 Golf SportWagen can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Civic has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Golf SportWagen only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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

Both the Civic and the Golf SportWagen offer available heated front seats. The Civic Touring Sedan/Sport Touring also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Golf SportWagen.

The Civic EX/EX-L/Touring’s 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. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Civic’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The Civic Touring’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Golf SportWagen’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Civic second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Golf SportWagen isn’t in the top three.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The Golf has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The Golf 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.

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos