Compared: 2023 Honda Civic Hatchback vs. 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI

In this matchup, frugal fun competes against high-tech sport.

Volkswagen | Honda

Article QuickTakes:

Although the U.S. market has lost a couple sporty hatchbacks in recent years, there are still some good options, including the 2023 Honda Civic hatchback and the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Both keep the manual transmission alive and offer fun driving dynamics. Let’s take a look at how they differ in three important areas: price, features, and fuel economy.


2023 Honda Civic Hatchback vs. 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Price

Base to base, you’re looking at a $5,000 difference between these two models, with the Civic starting at around $27,000 and the Golf GTI, at around $32,000. Helping to justify the VW’s premium is its powerful engine: Every GTI fields a 241-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, whereas Honda equips the base Civic hatch with a 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and pairs the other two trim levels with a 180-hp turbo 1.5-liter four. If you want a boosted version, you’ll need to come up with about $29,000.


In the Honda lineup, the mid-level model comes exclusively with a continuously variable transmission, but the two Sport trims offer a choice between that automatic and a six-speed manual — neither of which will impact the price. Volkswagen, on the other hand, charges GTI buyers an extra $800 to swap the standard stick shift for a seven-speed automatic.

2023 Honda Civic Hatchback vs. 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Features

Though the Golf GTI has a higher base price, it comes standard with a few premium features — heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, a charging pad for your smartphone — that Honda reserves for its upper trims. It also offers several amenities that simply aren’t available on the Civic, such as a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, summer performance tires, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a tri-zone automatic climate control.

Plus, VW has the edge in infotainment, giving the base GTI an 8.0-inch touchscreen and the other trims a 10.0-inch display. Honda provides a 7.0-inch unit in all but the top Civic, which receives a 9.0-inch screen.


Both models come with the usual driver-assistance tech: adaptive cruise, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping. Honda earns a point for making automatic high-beams standard, and VW evens the score by fitting all GTIs with blind-spot monitoring.

2023 Honda Civic Hatchback vs. 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy

As you might expect from its lower-power engines, the Civic gets better fuel-economy ratings than the Golf GTI. The mid-level, turbocharged Civic EX-L with a continuously variable automatic transmission is the most efficient of the lot, with a combined rating of 35 mpg. The other two trims aren’t far behind. The top Sport trim sees 33 or 31 mpg, depending on the transmission, and the unboosted base model, 32 or 29 mpg. In both cases, the automatic-equipped car claims the higher rating. Meanwhile, the best the GTI can do is 28 mpg. Knock off a point for the manual version.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
author photo
Jill Ciminillo
Jill Ciminillo is a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality, and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on cars for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization.