Volkswagen Mark IV Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background: I've owned 4 Mk4 Golfs over the years (90, 115, 150 petrol and 150 diesel) and then went off on a foray of other cars. In Autumn last year I needed to ditch my Audi and get a new diesel hatch for about ?18k to ?19k. So I waited for the 170 GT, and waited, and waited. And then I gave in (owing to the state of the Audi) and opted to bite the bullet and get a 140 GT TDi. So I booked the test drive, as well as a test drive of the new Civic, because I thought it looked quite funky (and appeared on paper and in the reviews to put up more than a fight).

Just in case there's anyone else out there in the same position as me - here are my findings, and opinions. The 2 cars are a 140 GT TDi with dual air and metallic paint (?19.1k) and the Civic 2.2 CTDI EX with metallic paint (?18.5k).

Looks and quality

We started with the Honda and quickly realised that in the right colour (so not pensioner blue, for example) the car looks really modern and very cool. We both liked it from all angles except the lower rear, which has a couple too many triangles. Inside the car is just amazing. The wrap around 2-layer dash with Lexus style instruments is very nice. The Satnav is nice and high and the speedo with shift light is very clear. The quality is up there with Mk4 levels, except much more modern. The boot is huge, and the rear seats do tricks that make the car more useful than my A4. Estate. When we went on to see the Golf, it looked so old fashioned and a bit dull (it really appeared to look the same as a 1.6 and nothing like a GTi). The boot was quite a bit smaller, the dash seemed several grades cheaper, and you sat in a very "boxy" (slab doors, simple upright dash) environment compared to the Honda. On the test drive there were two loud and distinct rattles from behind the left hand side of the dash too...

Driving

Both engines seemed to perform identically. The Honda pulled with less lag from lower (but only a tiny bit) and the VW sounded a bit more aggressive when revved. But the VW engine sounded like a tractor (and quite a large one at that) at idle and low revs, whereas the Civic was almost like a petrol. Even before you got going, the cars felt very different. The Honda is like a coupe (a bit like a 350Z) insofar as the windscreen is far away and raked, the A pillars are a bit big, the C pillar is huge, and you sit low and are enveloped by a swooping interior. The Golf in comparison was very "upright" with a close screen, a gearstick in a low position and a more van like feeling.
Once underway the Honda felt good. The pedals are great and the steering responsive. It took a little time to adjust to the blind spots, but big mirrors helped. Bends felt right, you could place the car accurately. Lots of grip too. In the Golf you can see more, and I felt you could drive just a little quicker. The rear was just a bit more defined when reacting to steering input, and fast sweeping bends a little more relaxed. Underway, the Honda engine was quieter, and the VW suffered a lot more wind noise at 80+. That's a speed, not an average Honda owner's age.

Costs

The Honda looked and felt more expensive, but is claimed to be more economical (who knows though what the truth is). But the equipment on the Civic is just miles ahead of the VW. Dual zone climate (voice controlled!), DVD satnav with TMC, Xenon lights, cruise, bluetooth phone, folding mirrors, rain sensor, bigger wheels and so on are all in the price. To get the Golf to the same spec as the Civic bumps the price up to ?23k!!!

Dealers

Dealing with VW was, once again, a nightmare. We just couldn't believe how a man could be so rude, pushy and unhelpful. He was inaccurate and had poor product knowledge. When he realised we'd just tested a Civic he said "who on earth would buy a Honda over and above a VW?". I looked at Jayne and she mouthed "me".

Decision

After the VW "experience" I was sure that the VW drove marginally better. But it was on very different roads. So I went back to the Honda dealer and explained. He then made me sign a couple of forms and told me to take the demonstrator away for a few days. All I did was take it on the same route as I took the Golf, and yes, the Golf handles just a tiny bit better. But only a tiny bit, and we both knew that the Golf was outdone on nearly every other front and the order was placed.

So there you go, how VW lost one loyal customer to Honda, of all people!

More info at http://ccgi.apotts.plus.com/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,522 Posts
Nice write up there, i think the Civic in black looks good, although i'm not sure about the rest of the colours. What are the servicing costs like on the Honda, I thought the 2.2 needed a service every 9k ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We thought black looked the best, then saw a filthy one, so ordered dark metallic grey. We still reckon black does look best though... Don't know how much servicing is, but it's every 12,500 miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
You see, its the very things you liked about the Honda that I disliked. The car looks all angles and lines where as the Golf has a nice curvature and the inside looks like it wants to be in the next Star Trek movie. I like the simple teutonics of the Golf, nothing looks like its vying for attention and it just does what its supposed to do with the minimum of fuss. The Honda is very well equipped and the residuals are excellent but dont forget that the Honda is 3 years or so newer than the Golf. I expect we'll see some of the same option become available on the Golf either in the next revision (2008) or sooner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,066 Posts
A nice balanced write up!!

I'll be looking at the Civic very carefully when I upgrade from my 150 TDi. I like the interior looks great and the outside is nice too. I found the seats a little too soft when compared to my Golf.

I would be totally sold on it if they hadn't ditched the independant rear suspension. The VW should handle vertical movements better then the Civic whilst still resisting roll just as much. That said you can't not buy a car just because of this!!!

But, for me its a techincal compromise that I don't expect from Honda, I guess they have done it for the same reason VW did with the Mk 4 Golf to spend more on the dash and interior. (BTW read Vauxhall are going to put a multi-link on the next Astra)

I've not driven the Civic (or the Golf 140 TDI) only sat in them.

My heart says VW - I love the brand an image, my head says Honda - when do they ever go wrong??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
What are the servicing costs like on the Honda?
?500 for 5 years or 60k miles iirc, payable upfront mini tlc style. You can't really complain at that now can you. Must admit I loved the interior of the Civic when I went browsing, it really is ace!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Loved the write-up, very good (and funny). I like the fact that there
is a really good alternative to a Golf which will be more than a niche
market. It's nice to see more competition (from all corners) and I am
enjoying seeing the Honda brand being transformed within one generation
- very impressive.

I test drove the 2.2 Civic but, funnily enough, was so underwhelmed by
the salesman's attitude that I did not want to go back into the
dealership.

The quality felt really good, I was expecting all the
surfaces/weighting to feel cheap but it felt really expensive. My main
(possibly petty) gripe was that the seats did not go anywhere near low
enough for me. I like to sit low in the car (not reclined like Snoop
Dogg) and the civic was a couple of inches too high, even at the lowest
setting. Petty I know but didnt impress me. The low speed acceleration
felt more petrol-ly than the golf but I felt it had less mid-range
'pull' and was noticeably less quick in 6th gear when planting the
accelerator (still good, but not as train-like). I have always thought
that the Golf's 1st gear was always so reluctant and sounded like it
was not meant to be used at all, the Honda's was miles better, I hope
VW can address this in the next generations of their diesel engines.
BTW, I tested the civic before I had my golf remapped so it was a back
to back comparison. I disliked the visibility in the civic but loved
the storage, the dash (quirky but nice) and the interior in general.
Stepping back into my golf after the test drive was like sitting in a
five year old car. I do love the Golf's ergonomics and simplicity
though, it feels like a more 'grown-up' car in some ways. I think that
the Civic is a very real alternative to the Golf and I think I may be
tempted by the new Civic type R when it eventually gets here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,066 Posts
I know that Honda is well known for its Type R just like VW is known for its GTi. But I've been thinking that VW has the performance diesel to itself (starting from the 115TDi upwards). I'm a big fan the VW TDi but the technology in the Honda unit is more advanced.

But what if they developed a 'Type D'. 'D' for Diesel!! I reckon it it really might catch on. It would be thier equivalent of the Golf TDi 170.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
"Appeared to look like a 1.6" - It is not all about being loud and flashy.  The Golf 2.0 GT TDi is understated and stylish without being brash, it is an Audi A3 without feeling like you are getting on abit.  The Civic might be a good all rounder but it is styled rather like a big plastic kids toy and lack the true "bank vault" feel that you get with owning a VW.  Some people like big wheels and bright colours etc but the GT TDi in standard format is for the owner who has the self satisfaction of knowing that not only is their hard earned money in a relatively safe place but also that they are driving a qaulity product.  Honda's (and belive me i know) are not built all that well and lack soul, they are just like a rolling computer, all function and no real personality.  Dont get me wrong, the new Civic is a worthy contendor to the Golf V but no winner.  By buying a GT TDi you are getting a solid all rounder in many aspects.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
I had a Honda Civic Type R until a few months ago and it had replaced under warranty:-

2 Steering racks

New steering wheel as the stiching around it came undone

2 new dampers upfront

2 new suspension bushes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
Someone at work had a Civic sport and had to have two gearboxes, two rear dampers and a couple of other interior niggles replaced under warranty and in the end rejected the car when something else went wrong (cant recall what).

They have their problems just like any other manufacturer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
I'm changing cars in October, and am considering either the Civic 2.2 CDTI or Accord 2.2 CDTI. I've been so unimpressed by the build quality and reliability of the MK5 that I won't be buiying another VW for quite a while. Don't get me wrong, I quite like my car & enjoy driving it, but the plastics feel cheap & nasty, the trim is poorly fitted & rattles (it's been in 3 times to be de-rattled). Amongst a list of gripes as long as my arm, the Golf just doesn't 'feel' like value for money.

As soon as you sit in a Civic, you feel like you're in a whole different class of vehicle.

Although I haven't test driven a Civic (or Accord) yet, I have my reservations over the rear torsion beam suspension setup that has been widely seen as a major step backwards from the previous model's independant rear suspension (also used in the Golf & Focus).

Here's what I'm considering (in no particular order).....

Skoda Octavia vRS

Ford Focus ST

Accord 2.2CDTI Estate

Civic 2.2 CDTI Sport

If anybody would like to offer any suggestions, let me know. I've got a few months to make up my mind!

;o)

Damian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Damian, I imagine there were huge arguments at Honda over the rear suspension choice - huge boot or slightly poorer handling on bumpy back roads? You can see, though, how they've tried to work round it - the springing at the rear is quite stiff (to minimise body roll - remembering that the torsion beam keeps the wheels perpendicular to the car, so body roll should be avoided) so it feels more like a 205 Gti torsion beam than a Mk4 Golf (very soft) torsion beam. This all translated to what I found on the road - lots of grip and precision on fast A roads, but a very slight loss of precision on bumpy back roads (very like the 205, but nothing like as bad as the Mk4).

The Civic is by no means perfect - it just has a different set of "faults", including dodgy visibility and less than ideal rear suspension. My write up was not meant to tell Mk5 owners that you've bought the wrong car, it's there to highlight that there are other possibilities with differing good and bad points. One thing is clear though, the Mk5 doesn't have the clear lead that the Mk4 had in the late nineties.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,063 Posts
I too went to take a look at the Civic at launch. I am not sure about the external appearance - its certainly eye-catching but I think it may get a bit tiresome eventually. The model differentiation was very confusing; I asked the salesman how much it costs for the Winter pack or heated seats. "Only available with leather sir" was the reply. Checking the brochure I came to the conclusion that leather was only available one or two models and that in general the options were limited to certain choices within each model/engine combination, unlike VW where you pick the model and then add whatever options you fancy. Not for me.

Has anybody looked at the Citroen C4 Coupe?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
154 Posts
Has anybody looked at the Citroen C4 Coupe?
..please don't do it

I've had two french cars, both had poor paint quality, poor fit and finish and both had to go back to the dealer within a week (from new) because things weren't right.

The C4 coupe is about as attractive as the Megane, you only like it because you feel sorry for it!

[;)]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,066 Posts
I've had two french cars, both had poor paint quality, poor fit and finish and both had to go back to the dealer within a week (from new) because things weren't right.
Sounds like my VW [:D]
Read my report on my 306 (my first and last French car):
http://www.carsurvey.org/viewcomments_review_70294.html

btw - some very amusing threads on there for McLaren 'owners' - maybe they do own one maybe they don't - its just amusing to me!!
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top