«Comparison» Volkswagen Golf VS Honda Civic (with video)

Comparison Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic

Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic. Two authentic myths in the compact segment. Okay, okay, the Honda Civic has never come to gel as much as the Volkswagen Golf in our market, but the rivalry between both models has been maximum since they first saw the light back in the distant decade of the 70s. The German has never transmitted the sportiness of the Japanese, but the Civic has not been able to completely dazzle the market as the Golf has. Despite this, we wanted to make a small comparison in order to see the different paths they have taken.

A few weeks ago it so happened that my partner Alejandro and I we tested the Honda Civic y Volkswagen Golf during the same days. Although they are not comparable cars and versions – the Civic is a 1.0 petrol and the Golf a 2-liter diesel, in addition to the difference in the current concept – we wanted to show you those very different routes that one and the other have taken in recent years, so this comparison is somewhat special. We will not talk about benefits, but about concepts.

Go unnoticed or turn heads?

Obvious. Probably the buyer who is thinking of acquiring a Volkswagen Golf will never consider buying the Honda Civic, and the same will happen in reverse. They resemble like the taste of tomato and mayonnaise, like salt and sugar. Any. In addition, and although both claim to belong to the segment C, the proportions are very distant. Meanwhile he Golf settles for 4,26 meters, the Civic slightly exceeds 4 and a half. The almost 30 centimeters that separate them are a world to deal with the same category.

Comparison Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic

El compact in German par excellence sins, to my liking, of sobriety. It is a fairly traditional car, which does not want to attract attention, which is satisfied with maintaining the reputation achieved in these more than four decades and which does not want to excessively evolve its design. Horizontal lines, a traditional compact silhouette and not a single feature that seeks greater distinction.

He seems like a shy boy. If we look back, Few changes in each generational jump. Why change if the recipe has been working in the Volkswagen house for forty years? The most notable jump came from the fourth to the fifth generation, but from then until today very little has changed in its aesthetics. Do not you think?

Comparison Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic

El Japanese it is the opposite. Search draw attention, even knowing that not everyone likes it the same. The total change came in its eighth generation, the model that many aesthetically described as a spaceship. It brought brutal differences in its lines, in its size and, above all, in its philosophy.

With the ninth and tenth generation the same thing has happened. Between these last three versions the Civic has changed remarkably, although it is true that certain features have been maintained, such as the lines of the headlights or that characteristic spoiler located in the middle of the rear window that divided it into two. Spoiler that, by the way, has been the subject of much criticism for reducing the view from the interior rear view mirror. In the current model, an intermediate silhouette between saloon, compact and coupé has been sought, obtaining a very personal image.

What about the cabin?

Comparison Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic

Virtually everything said from the outside can be brought to the interior. In terms of design, the Golf maintains a very logical and orderly location of all the controls, with a very traditional layout. Meanwhile, the Civic it departs noticeably from most European compacts. They will highlight a prominent center console, a touch screen whose handling is somewhat questionable and a somewhat strange distribution of some storage compartments.

If we are used to any European car, in the Volkswagen Golf everything will be quite simple and intuitive, while in the Honda Civic will take us some time to adapt. We're not saying the design of one or the other is better or worse (except for the Civic's large but inaccessible center storage compartment), they're just polar opposites.

Dashboard Honda Civic

Honda Civic Digital Instrument Cluster

Regarding the driving positions, I must admit that the Civic is more attractive to me. We are sitting very low and the gear lever, which by the way has a very pleasant touch and travel, is very close to the steering wheel. The display of box of clocks It is always a very important section that is not always given the attention that it should be when buying a car. In this case, it will go to the tastes of each one, because although the Japanese has a very futuristic frame, the tested Golf uses the effective Digital cockpit.

For space in these front seats, we will not be able to complain in any of our protagonists, although I admit that I have felt more comfortable in the Japanese, not meaning that in the Golf I have been uncomfortable. There is plenty of space for people over 1,80 tall. Both cars offer wide enough settings on the seat and steering wheel, so adopting a proper posture is a piece of cake.

Test Volkswagen Golf TDI

If we go to second row of seats, we will realize that neither of them is exactly the best. From the Civic we expected more space, because although in width and length we have plenty of space, the distance in height is more compromised, something that the sunroof also influences. In any case, the new silhouette of its body makes it lose a lot of practicality in this regard. The Golf is not as good in legs, but it does offer greater comfort in these rear seats due to its greater distance from the ceiling as we see in the image above.

We open the porters and here there is a landslide. The almost 30 extra centimeters of the Asian compact achieve a cargo space much higher than that of the European. The Golf has never excelled in this respect and is currently very slightly below average; while the Civic is one of the largest along with the Skoda Octavia, which also has exterior dimensions that leave it halfway between the C and D segments.

Comparison trunk Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic


As we said at the beginning, the Civic uses a completely new engine in the model. Honda has endured as much as possible but has finally also decided to switch to turbo in its gasoline versions. The tested model is a 1-litre three-cylinder with supercharging by turbo, also relying on the famous system VTEC variable distribution.

Traditionally, these engines have stood out for being pointed, one of those that require high revs if we want lively reactions. With the new engine everything has changed. Is now very smooth and linear, with a wide area of ​​maximum torque and adjusted consumption. This improves ride comfort and avoids having to resort to changing frequently, but in return makes it lose much of its sporty essence that has always characterized it.

At Golf there are no changes (not to vary). The tested unit equips the 2.0 150 TDI CV, a low-consumption diesel engine with an improvable refinement but with an energy delivery that seems to be greater than that declared. Recover quickly and overtaking will not be a problem, as it delivers 340 Nm of torque. Of course, the noise in cold and acceleration phases is noticeable in the passenger compartment.

As to chassisBoth are very effective. Both the Honda Civic and the Volkswagen Golf allow you to take long trips comfortably and with a great sense of security due to their good poise, although the Civic has an advantage due to its longer wheelbase. Both of them they filter well irregularities and contain the inertia of the bodywork when we practice a happy driving between curves.

Test Volkswagen Golf TDI

In this last section, as we approach the limits of physics, Japanese is more rewarding. The Volkswagen Golf accepts a very high cornering, in a way that makes everything very easy for us; however, it doesn't convey the fun and sportiness of the Civic. Once we exceed the limit, a clear understeer appears, but if we get to that point, we are going way too far.

The Civic, due to its driving position and its configuration, is more agile, sportier and more fun in this comparison. Although the rhythm is identical, it transmits more sensations and a greater driving pleasure. Yes, it is more pleasant to flow between curves, either at a high pace or at a normal pace. The touch of the address – although it has electrical assistance – and the change, make us enjoy it more than with the Golf. In any case, do not think that it is the panacea, that is what the Honda Civic Type R with its 320 hp and a very radical set-up.

Comparative summary Volkswagen Golf vs Honda Civic

Comparison Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic

As you have seen, there are two vehicle concepts very opposite, despite the fact that a few years ago they were much more similar. The Volkswagen Golf has preferred to follow its path and continuous line, while the Honda Civic has preferred to stand out and create a very striking and differentiating product. In addition to this, the main difference between the two cars is their size, with almost 30 centimeters in length between one and the other.

Image Gallery Volkswagen Golf

Image Gallery Honda Civic

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