2019 BMW X1 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X1’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X1 and the Golf SportWagen have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X1 is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

 

X1

Golf SportWagen

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

187

256

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

31%

43%

Neck Stress

175 lbs.

210 lbs.

Neck Compression

68 lbs.

91 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 BMW X1 is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

 

X1

Golf SportWagen

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

143

185

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

154 G’s

217 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

193

368

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

45 G’s

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

Warranty

The X1 comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf SportWagen.

The X1’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf SportWagen’s (12 vs. 10 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X1 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Golf SportWagen.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the X1’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Golf SportWagen FWD’s camshafts. If the Golf SportWagen’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X1 first among small premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Golf SportWagen isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 81 more horsepower (228 vs. 147) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the Golf SportWagen’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 60 more horsepower (228 vs. 168) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 199) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW X1 is faster than the Golf SportWagen 4MOTION (automatics tested):

 

X1

Golf

Zero to 30 MPH

2.4 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.1 sec

21.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

3.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

129 MPH

126 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X1 xDrive28i gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION Auto (22 city/31 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X1’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X1’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The X1 has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf SportWagen FWD’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The X1 has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf SportWagen 4Motion’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 14.5 gallons).

Transmission

The BMW X1 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf SportWagen.

The X1’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X1’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf SportWagen:

 

X1

Golf SportWagen

Front Rotors

13 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

10.7 inches

The X1’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Golf SportWagen are solid, not vented.

The X1 stops shorter than the Golf SportWagen:

 

X1

Golf SportWagen

 

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X1 has larger tires than the Golf SportWagen (225/50R18 vs. 195/65R15).

The X1’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf SportWagen S’ standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X1 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf SportWagen S. The X1’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Golf SportWagen SE.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X1 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The X1 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Golf SportWagen’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X1’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Golf SportWagen (105.1 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X1 is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf SportWagen.

The X1 xDrive28i handles at .87 G’s, while the Golf SportWagen SE pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The X1 xDrive28i executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Golf SportWagen S (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

The X1 is 4.2 inches shorter than the Golf SportWagen, making the X1 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the X1 xDrive28i is quieter than the Golf SportWagen SE (70 vs. 71 dB).

Passenger Space

The X1 has 6.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf SportWagen (101.2 vs. 94.3).

The X1 has 3.3 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.4 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf SportWagen.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the X1’s available rear seats recline. The Golf SportWagen’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the X1. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the X1 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 29% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the X1, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a memory system.

The X1 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the X1 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Golf SportWagen can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the X1 has a standard extendable sun visor. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the X1 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Golf SportWagen’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X1 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf SportWagen offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

On extremely cold winter days, the X1’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The X1’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 Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The X1’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The X1’s standard GPS navigation system offers an optional real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Golf SportWagen’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

The X1’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X1 first among small premium SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Golf SportWagen isn’t in the top three.

The X1 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 3 years. The Golf has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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