2019 Nissan Rogue vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Rogue are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Forward Emergency Braking optional in the Rogue as “Superior.” The Golf SportWagen scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Rogue SV/SL has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Rogue (except S) offers an optional Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Golf SportWagen only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Rogue 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Rogue is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

 

Rogue

Golf SportWagen

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

69

185

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

202 G’s

217 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

142

368

Spine Acceleration

51 G’s

63 G’s

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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Rogue the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf SportWagen was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The Rogue 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 Golf SportWagen.

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 Rogue’s warranty.

Reliability

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

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.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

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 Rogue’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 23 more horsepower (170 vs. 147) than the Golf SportWagen’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Rogue’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (170 vs. 168) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The Rogue Hybrid’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 8 more horsepower (176 vs. 168) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Rogue gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen:

 

 

 

MPG

Rogue

FWD

Auto

2.0 4 cyl. Hybrid

33 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 4 cyl. Hybrid

31 city/34 hwy

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

Golf SportWagen

FWD

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

AWD

Manual

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Rogue Hybrid’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 Rogue Hybrid’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 Rogue has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf SportWagen FWD’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

The Rogue has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Rogue

Rogue Hybrid

Golf SportWagen

Front Rotors

11.65 inches

11.8 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

11.7 inches

10.7 inches

The Rogue’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.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Rogue has larger tires than the Golf SportWagen (225/65R17 vs. 195/65R15).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rogue S/SV/Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf SportWagen S. The Rogue SL’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Golf SportWagen SE.

The Rogue 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 Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Rogue 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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Rogue’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Golf SportWagen (106.5 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rogue is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf SportWagen.

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Rogue has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Golf SportWagen uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

The Rogue has 11.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf SportWagen (105.8 vs. 94.3).

The Rogue has 3 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf SportWagen.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Rogue has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Golf SportWagen with its rear seat up (39.3 vs. 30.4 cubic feet). The Rogue has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Golf SportWagen with its rear seat folded (70 vs. 66.5 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Rogue SV/SL’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

The Rogue has a 1102 lbs. towing capacity. The Golf SportWagen has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Rogue SV/SL has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When different drivers share the Rogue (except S), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a memory system.

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Rogue’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Golf SportWagen’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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

On extremely cold winter days, the Rogue’s optional (except S) 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 Rogue SV/SL’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 Rogue SV/SL’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 Rogue (except S)’s available 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 Golf SportWagen’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Recommendations

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Rogue second among compact 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 Nissan Rogue outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by almost 10 to one during 2018.

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

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