2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Honda Civic Si

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Jetta GLI has standard 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 Si doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Jetta GLI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Civic Si 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Jetta GLI has a standard backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Civic Si doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the Jetta GLI’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 Si doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Jetta GLI and the Civic Si 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.

Warranty

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

The Jetta GLI’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Civic Si’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 23 more horsepower (228 vs. 205) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 192) than the Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta GLI Auto’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 Si doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The Jetta GLI offers an optional automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Civic Si doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

The Jetta GLI 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 Si doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Jetta GLI’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Civic Si:

Jetta GLI

Civic Si

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.1 inches

The Jetta GLI’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 Si are solid, not vented.

The Jetta GLI stops shorter than the Civic Si:

Jetta GLI

Civic Si

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

161 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Jetta GLI has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Civic Si; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Jetta GLI’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Civic Si’s (36.4 feet vs. 37.8 feet).

Passenger Space

The Jetta GLI has 1 inch more front headroom and .4 inches more rear headroom than the Civic Si Sedan.

Ergonomics

The Jetta GLI Autobahn Auto 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 Civic Si doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When different drivers share the Jetta GLI Autobahn, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a memory system.

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

The Jetta GLI’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 Si’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Jetta GLI’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 Si’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta GLI Autobahn keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Civic Si doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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

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