2020 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2020 Honda Civic Type R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The GTI 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 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.

To help make backing safer, the GTI’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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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The GTI comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Civic Type R’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The GTI’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Civic Type R’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the GTI for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Civic Type R.

Reliability

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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.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GTI 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

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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.

Transmission

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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

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The GTI’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:

GTI

Civic Type R

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

104 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The GTI’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.4% to 39.6%) than the Civic Type R’s (61.9% to 38.1%). This gives the GTI more stable handling and braking.

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).

Chassis

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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:

GTI

Civic Type R

At idle

39 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

80 dB

87 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

75 dB

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/06/03

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Ergonomics

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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.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GTI SE/Autobahn has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Civic Type R doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GTI SE/Autobahn also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

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.

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.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2020/06/03

Insurance will cost less for the GTI owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the GTI will cost $1565 to $2715 less than the Civic Type R over a five-year period.

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 2020/06/03

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen GTI, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 14 years. The Civic Type R hasn’t been picked since 2019.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 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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