2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Volkswagen e-Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Leaf SL has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The e-Golf only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Leaf SL’s 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 e-Golf doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Leaf and the e-Golf 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Leaf comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Nissan 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 e-Golf.

There are over 66 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Leaf’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 2 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Leaf’s standard electric motor produces 13 more horsepower (147 vs. 134) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 214) than the e-Golf’s electric motor. The Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor produces 81 more horsepower (215 vs. 134) and 36 lbs.-ft. more torque (250 vs. 214) than the e-Golf’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Leaf’s standard maximum EPA estimated driving range is 151 miles on a full charge. The Leaf PLUS’ maximum EPA estimated driving range is 226 miles on a full charge, 81% further than the e-Golf’s 125-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Leaf SV/SL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the e-Golf (215/50R17 vs. 205/55R16).

The Leaf SV/SL’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the e-Golf’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Leaf SV/SL has standard 17-inch wheels. The e-Golf’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The e-Golf doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Leaf’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the e-Golf (106.3 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Leaf is 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the e-Golf.

For better maneuverability, the Leaf S’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the e-Golf’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Leaf a Mid-size car, while the e-Golf is rated a Compact.

The Leaf has 2.8 inches more front headroom and .9 inches more front legroom than the e-Golf.

Cargo Capacity

The Leaf has a larger trunk than the e-Golf with its rear seat up (23.6 vs. 22.8 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the e-Golf only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Leaf has standard extendable sun visors. The e-Golf doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Leaf and the e-Golf offer available heated front seats. The Leaf SL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the e-Golf.

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

The Leaf SV/SL’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The e-Golf’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Leaf, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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