2020 Honda Civic vs. 2020 Volkswagen Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/04/07

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’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic and the Golf 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, crash mitigating brakes, 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:

Civic

Golf

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:

Civic

Golf

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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Civic the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

© 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 2020/04/07

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

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

There are over 65 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

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Civic’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Golf’s camshafts. If the Golf’s 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’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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

© 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 2020/04/07

The Civic’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 11 more horsepower (158 vs. 147) than the Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Civic’s optional 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (174 vs. 147) than the Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Civic Hatchback Sport/Sport Touring’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 33 more horsepower (180 vs. 147) than the Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Civic Hatchback Sport/Sport Touring 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder is faster than the Volkswagen Golf (manual transmissions tested):

Civic

Golf

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17 sec

22.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

125 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/04/07

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Sedan Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Golf:

MPG

Civic Sedan

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

32 city/42 hwy

Touring 1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

Golf

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

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

MPG

Civic Hatchback

Manual

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

Auto

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

Sport 1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

Golf

Manual

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

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 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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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 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Civic stops much shorter than the Golf:

Civic

Golf

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Civic has larger standard tires than the Golf (215/55R16 vs. 205/55R16). The Civic Sport/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf (235/40R18 vs. 205/55R16).

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Sport/Touring has standard 18-inch wheels. The Golf’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/04/07

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 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Golf (106.3 inches vs. 103.8 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.

The Civic Sport Hatchback handles at .93 G’s, while the Golf pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Civic Touring Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Golf (26.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

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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 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Civic Touring Sedan is quieter than the Golf TSI (78 vs. 80 dB).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Sedan a Mid-size car, while the Golf is rated a Compact.

The Civic Sedan has 4.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf (97.8 vs. 93.5).

The Civic Sedan has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf.

Ergonomics

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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 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Civic’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Golf 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 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 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Civic’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Golf’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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

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 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Civic and the Golf 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.

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 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 doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Civic 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 Golf doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Honda Civic offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Golf doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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The Civic will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic will retain 46.26% to 48.42% of its original price after five years, while the Golf only retains 41.43% to 42.06%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Civic is less expensive to operate than the Golf because it costs $673 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Civic than the Golf, including $169 less for a water pump, $153 less for a muffler, $32 less for front brake pads, $83 less for a starter, $23 less for fuel injection and $221 less for front struts.

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 2020/04/07

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Honda Civic and the Volkswagen Golf, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its August 2019 issue and they ranked the Honda Civic Sport Hatchback first. They ranked the Volkswagen Golf TSI fourth.

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

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

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