• Nov 1, 2005

TSX versus GLIThis is the match up we've been waiting for since the Jetta was introduced. VW's pricing structure made the new VW Jetta seem rather expensive especially compared to products from Japanese and American manufacturers. The Jetta's price tag meant that it didn't fair well in the numbers game against similarly sized competition, despite its European character and relatively high level of luxury. Well, we've always thought that the Acura TSX made an excellent competitor to VW's new 'grown up' Jetta. In Europe, where the Acura is badged as a Honda Accord, the VW and the TSX would be competitors. Now that the GLI is available, Edmunds put these two sport sedans head to head. The end result is not all that surprising to us, with the VW beating the TSX by a slim margin. These two vehicles are remarkably similar on paper, but they have totally different approaches. The VW GLI is involving and powerful, while requiring more skill to push to the limit. The TSX on the other hand may feel down on power, but it's a touch more confidence inspiring. That's not to say the GLI is inferior, but based on our experience with the new Jetta, it does take longer to figure out. Actually, you can feel that the classic German and Japanese automotive philosophies coming into play. When it all comes together, however the VW is more enjoyable to drive. We suspect the VW's turbo four has a lot to do with the win over the Acura, it offers V6-like power compared to the Acura's high strung 4-cylinder. Even in the 2.0T version of the VW Jetta would have faired well in the competition, although it is decidedly less 'sport' oriented. To us, the greatest injustice in all of this is VW's humble beginnings and how many consumers may fail to see the value-luxury equation that this new VW GLI offers. Many may be more likely to drop close to $30K on an Acura versus the same amount on a VW, which is a shame.



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  • 31 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Posted Nov 2, 2005, 7:46 AM ET by djSyndrome "The Jetta 5 also sits on a completely new platform that's built like a tank." Meaningful, since most Mexican-built VW problems are electrical or engine related ............................................. VW has spent millions on there mexico plant to help improve quality...This can already been seen in CR reviews buy customers in the first 6-8 months since the car has been released. The jetta has few complaints while all you hear from TSX owners are complaints of mysterious noises,vibrations and rattles... VW has changed to the same electrical supplier as toyota now (so that may help) and the new 2.0T is rated #1 in the world in its litre category ousting the honda s2000 engine... http://www.ukintpress.com/engineoftheyear/winners/18_2.html I see most acura owners think there cars are in the BMW, MB, LEXUS etc category so I can see when a little ole jetta sneaks up on it and beats it how people could get upset. Every vw our family has every owned has been just as reliable as the toyota's we have had....except the VW's have the sportier fun to drive factor.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well I have a 2001 Passat that is a dream. Rides and drives awesome. No problems at all. And then it was hit by a Toyota that couldn't handle the snow. Oh well, the Toyota was totaled and I drove away with two dents in my door. $1500 auto body bill paid by insurance, and i'm on my way again. No rattles, just silence at 80+ MPH. I'll stay will my VW, better yet, I plan on getting the new Passat next summer. VW has been improving, Audi dramatically. It will be interesting seeing what comments will be said in a few years when start the climb to the top of the lists.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "The Jetta 5 also sits on a completely new platform that's built like a tank." Meaningful, since most Mexican-built VW problems are electrical or engine related.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm generally a fan of Honda's philosophy (their suspensions, their revvy engines), but my family has VW in our past (back when they were for poor people, and they were reliable). So I can smile at this result. It did surprise me though. First of all, my autocrossing friends tend to hold the TSX in VERY high esteem, from an autocrossing perspective. Not with the stock tires though, and that showed in this comparo. Honda's stock tires always lead to magazine-test disappointment. (I'm not saying they'd be perfect otherwise; but it's a negative that's pretty easy to fix.) Second, the reliability thing. I know there lots of VW owners who haven't had problems - even the worst car manufacturer must make more good ones than bad ones - but the numbers are pretty bad. As long as we're throwing anecdotes out there... the majority of VW owners that I know have also had many problems (something I consider worse than one big one). Third, I disagree that the TSX looks boring. Especially next to the Jetta, which is only interesting at the front and at the lights. But that's personal, just like I like high-revving engines and dislike cars that are described as "solid" and "vault-like."
      • 9 Years Ago
      Having just finished the VW gauntlet, I would never buy from them again. As stated above, a car is more than just a good drive. First, it must drive reliably. Second, when there is a problem, it must be fixed without having to get a lawyer. Third, you shouldnt have to show the dealer the correct setting for anything from the manual. 98 Civic: 160k miles; add oil, gas, drive, repeat. 04 Touareg: 30k miles; bought back by VW.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Also the TSX has been out for something like 6 years (Japan first, then U.S.) so you are comparing a six year old design with a new design." Congratulations for having absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The TSX is based on (read: nearly identical to) the newest JDM Accord. It was released in summer 2002. Which, unless my math is seriously off, is a lot less than a "six year old" design. And FWIW, the Jetta is nothing more than a trunked Golf V, which has been on sale in Europe for almost two years now.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Just for comparison, 2005 Acura TSXs are selling for ~$25800 (without navigation) at the dealers right now. A comparable GLI, with leather, sunroof, XM, heated seats, etc. is going for about ~$1500 more. Can we say that the two cars are competing in the same price bracket?
      • 9 Years Ago
      I have had a GLI for about 3 months, and I think it compares quite favorably against the TSX as far as driving experience, which is what Edmunds was testing. I do admit that Honda (along with Toyota) sets the benchmark for reliability. I've had 3 minor initial quality issues (broken cupholder, missing headlamp washer nozzle, compass that loses its calibration), and will likely buy an extension to the 4yr/50k warranty that came with my GLI given my experience with my 1998 Passat. Having said all that, I do agree that tbe "econobox" image of VW is unfortunate. MB, BMW, and Volvo fare equally poorly in the Consumer Reports reliability surveys as VW, yet I doubt we would be seeing as many flame-type posts if this were a comparison between the TSX and a C-Class, 3-series, or S40. The VW is a well-appointed, sporty car. If VW's new management can improve its reliability over the next few years, it could regain its former lustre.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The problems with VW are not just reliability...it's the whole dealer experience... 1995 Acura Integra LS-owned 5 years; Required new tires, new brakes, new distributor. TIme out of service (excluding oil changes): 1 week; Mileage: 55,000 2000 VW New Beetle GLS-Owned 3 years: Required: Mass Airflow sensor; 3 new ECU's; New Instrument Cluster; New Brakes; New Tires; Time out of service: 2 Months; Mileage 34,000 2003 Acura TL Type-S 2003-Present (28 months): New Rear Brakes; Mileage 30,000; (needs new fronts on this trip); New Transmission (beyond recall): Time out of service: 3 days With VW the dealers were pathetic; I had to invoke NY Lemon Law to get proper service; I spent more time with loaner cars (something that i had to wait 1 full day of servicing to get from the original dealer where I purchased the car). They never had parts and they tried to charge me for warranty items. With a pathetic dealer network (wonder why the Phaeton is so discounted and why it never took off, even after the so-called VW dealership overhaul and extension of the warranty from 24 Mo./24,000 miles to 48/50,000 miles). I read of the person with 5 bad VW electricals and I know of 10 people at my office who had bad VW problems, one person having her Passat towed off our parking lot twice; and then there is Audi...
      • 9 Years Ago
      Having just finished the VW gauntlet, I would never buy from them again. As stated above, a car is more than just a good drive. First, it must drive reliably. Second, when there is a problem, it must be fixed without having to get a lawyer. Third, you shouldnt have to show the dealer the correct setting for anything from the manual. 98 Civic: 160k miles; add oil, gas, drive, repeat. 04 Touareg: 30k miles; bought back by VW.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Many may be more likely to drop close to $30K on an Acura versus the same amount on a VW, which is a shame." No, that is a sign of hope. People are becoming interested in buying stuff that actually works instead of half-engineered pieces of crap. Praise your diety! If this trend continues all our lives will improve!
      • 9 Years Ago
      I've had a string of VW's and have had nothing but trouble free motoring from them. Add in their fun to drive nature and voila, winning formula to me! Good to see the article as the jap lovers were much too fast to point out the TSX would win, but DIDN'T!!!!
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