2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2018 Nissan Versa Note

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 0Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 1Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 2Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 3Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 4Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 5Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 6Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 7Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 8Volkswagen Golf SportWagen image 9

2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Available Now!

Safety

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 Versa Note doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Golf SportWagen SE/SEL has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Versa Note doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

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 Versa Note 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 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Versa Note doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Versa Note doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Golf SportWagen SEL’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Versa Note doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 Versa Note 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 Versa Note doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Golf SportWagen SE/SEL has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Versa Note doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Golf SportWagen and the Versa Note have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available rear parking sensors.

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen weighs 519 to 864 pounds more than the Nissan Versa Note. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is safer than the Nissan Versa Note:

 

Golf SportWagen

Versa Note

OVERALL STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

286

333

Neck Injury Risk

34%

47%

Neck Stress

336 lbs.

363 lbs.

Neck Compression

61 lbs.

140 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/169 lbs.

807/1020 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

2 Stars

HIC

256

404

Neck Injury Risk

43%

68%

Neck Stress

210 lbs.

248 lbs.

Neck Compression

91 lbs.

141 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

169/97 lbs.

428/846 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is safer than the Nissan Versa Note:

 

Golf SportWagen

Versa Note

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.2 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

217 G’s

225 G’s

Hip Force

310 lbs.

403 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

63 G’s

67 G’s

Hip Force

588 lbs.

842 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

17 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Golf SportWagen the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 136 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Versa Note was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Golf SportWagen comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Versa Note’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Golf SportWagen’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Versa Note’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Golf SportWagen has a standard 480-amp battery. The Versa Note’s 470-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 25th in reliability. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 27th.

Engine

The Golf SportWagen’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 61 more horsepower (170 vs. 109) and 92 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 107) than the Versa Note’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Golf SportWagen FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Versa Note (13.2 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Golf SportWagen 4Motion’s standard fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Versa Note (14.5 vs. 10.8 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Golf SportWagen’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Versa Note:

 

Golf

Versa

Front Rotors

11.3 inches

10.02 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

8” drums

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Versa Note. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes which work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Golf SportWagen stops shorter than the Versa Note:

 

Golf

Versa

 

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Golf SportWagen has larger standard tires than the Versa Note (195/65R15 vs. 185/65R15). The Golf SportWagen SEL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Versa Note (225/45R17 vs. 195/55R16).

The Golf SportWagen SEL’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Versa Note SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Golf SportWagen SEL has standard 17-inch wheels. The Versa Note’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Versa Note only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Versa Note has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Golf SportWagen’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Versa Note (103.5 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Golf SportWagen is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Versa Note.

The Golf SportWagen’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56.9% to 43.1%) than the Versa Note’s (59.9% to 40.1%). This gives the Golf SportWagen more stable handling and braking.

The Golf SportWagen S handles at .80 G’s, while the Versa Note SR pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Golf SportWagen S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Versa Note SR (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Golf SportWagen has 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Versa Note.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Versa Note with its rear seat up (30.4 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Golf SportWagen has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Versa Note with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 38.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Golf SportWagen uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Versa Note uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The Golf SportWagen has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Versa Note doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Golf SportWagen has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Versa Note doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Golf SportWagen’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Versa Note SV/SR.

The power windows standard on both the Golf SportWagen and the Versa Note have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Golf SportWagen is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Versa Note prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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

If the windows are left open on the Golf SportWagen the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Versa Note can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Golf SportWagen’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks are only available on the Versa Note SV/SR.

The Golf SportWagen’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Versa Note S/SV’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Versa Note’s optional manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Versa Note doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Golf SportWagen has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Versa Note doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Golf SportWagen SEL detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Versa Note doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Golf SportWagen SE/SEL has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Versa Note doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Golf SportWagen SEL also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Golf SportWagen’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Versa Note SL.

The Golf SportWagen’s power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The Versa Note’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The Golf SportWagen SEL’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Versa Note doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Golf SportWagen SEL’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Versa Note doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf SportWagen has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Versa Note doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Golf SportWagen SEL has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Versa Note doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard App-Connect for the Golf SportWagen allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Versa Note doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The Golf SportWagen SEL’s optional Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Versa Note doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

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

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

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos