The Volkswagen Jetta GLI is upset after losing badly to a Hyundai Elantra N in a drag race last week. It wanted to puck on the N-Line but couldn’t find it, so instead, a 2022 Honda Civic Si is getting bullied. But can the outgunned Si fight back?
There are lots of cheap sports cars available right now, and the Civic Si sits right at the bottom of the market. It’s got a solid reputation but lacks the power to compete with 2.0-liter turbo hot hatchbacks.
The all-new 2022 Honda Civic Si is based on the 11th-generation car. It’s only available as a 4-doors sedan, unlike its predecessors, which were famous for their 2-door bodies. Under the hood, there aren’t any major surprises; this still uses a 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo engine, similar to the one in the normal Civic, but upgraded in a few ways.
The 2022 power rating sits at 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. That’s not really an upgrade over the 2.4-liter Civic Si making 201 hp and 170 lb-ft a decade ago. But at least the interior is nice now.
Unlike the Civic, the Jetta GLI has kept its engine layout largely the same over the past decade. The current 2.0 TSI turbocharged four-cylinder has a disappointingly low output for a sports model: 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Making things even more unfair, it’s available with a DSG gearbox.
1.5 vs. 2.0 Gap Is Real
So the GLI makes 28 hp and 66 lb-ft more with 0.5 liters of extra displacement. However, it’s also heavier by over 300 lbs, and the Si is fitted as standard with a limited-slip differential.
YouTuber Sam CarLegion appears to be the first to ever race the GLI against the new Si. It’s fitting to have him racing these rivals because he essentially made the Accord 2.0t and Civic famous with dozens of cool races.
So anyway, what happens, which is the fastest? Well, both cars are set to their ideal configuration, and we get a little surprise from the 2022 Civic Si. It pulls ahead by about a car’s length in the drag race, probably due to the LSD in combination with short 1-2 gears. But after that, the extra power of the Jetta GLI begins to have an impact.
Two drag races are followed by a rolling race from 31 mph or 50 kph. The Civic once again pulls ahead first but gets gapped by the Jetta. The price gap between the two is about $3,000 or 10%, and that’s not a lot. But I think the Honda is still worth it. It’s engaging and cool with probably the best interior in a compact. And if you really need an automatic, get the Acura Integra with the same 1.5 turbo.