2019 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2019 Honda Civic Type R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The GTI offers optional Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Civic Type R doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The GTI has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The GTI Autobahn’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the GTI SE/Autobahn’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the GTI and the Civic Type R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GTI the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Civic Type R has not been tested, yet.


The GTI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Civic Type R’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The GTI’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Civic Type R’s (10 vs. 5 years).


The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Civic Type R’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the GTI Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Civic Type R (24 city/32 hwy vs. 22 city/28 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GTI Automatic’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Honda Civic Type R (3). This means the GTI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Civic Type R every 15,000 miles.


The GTI offers an optional automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The GTI offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The GTI SE/Autobahn’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Civic Type R are solid, not vented.

The GTI stops shorter than the Civic Type R:



Civic Type R


60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

104 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the Civic Type R’s (35.8 feet vs. 39.5 feet).


The GTI is 11.4 inches shorter than the Civic Type R, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the GTI SE is quieter than the Civic Type R:



Civic Type R

At idle

39 dB

43 dB


80 dB

85 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

75 dB

Passenger Space

The GTI has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Civic Type R can only carry 4.

Cargo Capacity

The GTI has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Civic Type R with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 46.2 cubic feet).


The power windows standard on both the GTI and the Civic Type R have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GTI is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Civic Type R prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The GTI’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Civic Type R’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The GTI’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Civic Type R’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GTI to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the GTI Autobahn detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the GTI Rabbit/SE/Autobahn has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the GTI and the Civic Type R offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the GTI has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the GTI Autobahn has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The GTI Autobahn’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer an automated parking system.


Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Civic Type R has never been chosen.

The GTI was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2010 Car of the Year. The Civic Type R has never been chosen.

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

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