2020 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Volkswagen GTI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Type R 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 Type R’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The GTI’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic Type R and the GTI 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Civic Type R 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the GTI. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GTI ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Civic Type R’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the GTI’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

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 Type R’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 16th in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 15 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Civic Type R’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 78 more horsepower (306 vs. 228) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Civic Type R is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (manual transmissions tested):

Civic Type R

GTI

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.9 MPH

98.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Civic Type R 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

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

The Honda Civic Type R has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The GTI doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Civic Type R’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the GTI:

Civic Type R

GTI

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

13.4 inches

The Civic Type R stops much shorter than the GTI:

Civic Type R

GTI

80 to 0 MPH

184 feet

214 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

142 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

99 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Civic Type R has larger tires than the GTI (245/30R20 vs. 225/40R18).

The Civic Type R’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s standard 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Type R has standard 20-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the GTI.

Suspension and Handling

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The Civic Type R’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 Type R’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 Type R is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.

The Civic Type R handles at 1.04 G’s, while the GTI SE pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

The Civic Type R executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the GTI (24.3 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Civic Type R 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 while at idle, the interior of the Civic Type R is quieter than the GTI (43 vs. 52 dB).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Type R a Large car, while the GTI is rated a Compact.

The Civic Type R has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GTI (97 vs. 93.5).

The Civic Type R has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.

Cargo Capacity

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The Civic Type R has a much larger trunk than the GTI with its rear seat up (25.7 vs. 22.8 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Civic Type R’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The GTI has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

If the windows are left open on the Civic Type R 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 improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Civic Type R has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GTI 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 Type R has standard extendable sun visors. The GTI doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Civic Type R 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.

Economic Advantages

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The Civic Type R will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic Type R will retain 54.81% of its original price after five years, while the GTI only retains 45.13% to 46.99%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/01

The Civic Type R was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The GTI hasn’t been picked since 2015.

The Honda Civic outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by almost 9 to one during 2019.

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