2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2018 BMW X1

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X1 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Golf SportWagen has standard whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The X1 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Golf SportWagen has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The X1 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Golf SportWagen SE/SEL’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X1 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Golf SportWagen SE/SEL’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X1 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Golf SportWagen and the X1 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.


The Golf SportWagen comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The X1’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are almost 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Golf SportWagen’s warranty.


The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the X1’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Golf SportWagen FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the X1 sDrive28i FWD (24 city/33 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).


The Golf SportWagen offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The X1 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf SportWagen stops much shorter than the X1:





70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Golf SportWagen’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the X1’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).


The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the BMW X1.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Golf SportWagen SE is quieter than the X1 xDrive28i (73 vs. 75 dB).

Passenger Space

The Golf SportWagen has .8 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more front shoulder room than the X1.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X1 with its rear seat up (30.4 vs. 27.1 cubic feet). The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X1 with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 58.7 cubic feet).


The Golf SportWagen’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The X1’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Golf SportWagen 4Motion/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X1 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Golf SportWagen SE/SEL has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X1 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the BMW X1 isn’t available as a four door.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Golf SportWagen owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Golf SportWagen will cost $362 to $2078 less than the X1 over a five-year period.

The Golf SportWagen will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Golf SportWagen will retain 47.51% to 52.5% of its original price after five years, while the X1 only retains 45.09% to 45.24%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen will be $6512 to $11635 less than for the BMW X1.


The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 11 of the last 11 years. The X1 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The X1 has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the BMW X1 by 69% during the 2017 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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