Monday, April 22, 2024

Honda Civic Si Faces Jetta GLI In Sporty FWD Sedan Drag Race

The Honda is down on power, but can it pull off an upset against the DSG-equipped Jetta?

What do you think the number of Civic-versus-Jetta races has been over the years? These two front-wheel-drive adversaries have been at odds for 40 years, and the rivalry is still going strong in 2022. The current-generation Civic Si, like the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, is exclusively available in sedan configuration. Both have four-cylinder turbocharged engines. Only the front wheels are turned by both. Both are marketed as role models. Both are around $30,000 in price.

Is their performance comparable? A brief look at the numbers reveals that the Jetta has the upper hand. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces 228 horsepower (170 kilowatts), up from 200 horsepower (149 kilowatts) in the Civic. The torque differential is much higher, with the VeeDub producing 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) versus 192 lb-ft for the 192 lb-ft for the 192 lb-ft for the 192 lb-ft for the 192 lb-ft for the 192 lb-f (260 Nm). In addition, compared to the Honda’s six-speed manual transmission, the Jetta GLI for this race has a quick-shifting DSG transmission. The Civic Si’s lone on-paper advantage is its weight, which is around 200 pounds lighter.

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It doesn’t appear to be going well for the Honda, and this is usually how things go in real life. We say generally because the Civic Si puts up a good fight against the more powerful German sedan, taking tiny early leads in three races. The video shows two roll races, one from a standstill and the other from a rolling start, and in each case, the clutch-operated Honda manages to gain a little advantage. It’s unclear whether the Jetta GLI’s capabilities were fully utilised, but regardless of the cause, the tenacious Si didn’t go down without a fight.

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Make no mistake about that, though. Each race was won by the Honda. Even with the torque gain, a 200-pound advantage isn’t quite enough to compensate for a 28-hp penalty. And the DSG can shift gears at a rate that no human could ever aspire to achieve. That is, when you manually start a roll race with the gearbox. The only reason the Si took the lead on the last run was because the Jetta had to make a rapid downshift as soon as the race began. With the revs up, the Si was already in the appropriate gear.

But, in the end, it didn’t really matter. Volkswagen is solely responsible for this victory. When the new Civic Type R arrives, we expect that to change.

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