2019 Volkswagen e-Golf vs. 2019 Tesla Model 3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The e-Golf 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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The e-Golf has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Model 3 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.

To help make backing safer, the e-Golf’s optional 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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The e-Golf 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 Model 3 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 e-Golf and the Model 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The e-Golf’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model 3’s (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are over 10 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the e-Golf’s warranty.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 11 places higher in reliability than Tesla.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The e-Golf has a standard Hydraulic Brake Assist to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The e-Golf stops shorter than the Model 3:

e-Golf

Model 3

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The e-Golf has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model 3; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The e-Golf SE handles at .86 G’s, while the Model 3 pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the e-Golf’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen e-Golf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 650 pounds less than the Tesla Model 3.

The e-Golf is 1 foot, 4.7 inches shorter than the Model 3, making the e-Golf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The e-Golf is 5.3 inches narrower than the Model 3, making the e-Golf easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The e-Golf has .4 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear legroom than the Model 3.

Cargo Capacity

The e-Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Model 3 (22.8 vs. 15 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the e-Golf the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Model 3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The e-Golf’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 Model 3’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the e-Golf has a standard rear wiper. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the e-Golf SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Model 3 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The e-Golf’s power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The Model 3’s power mirror controls are embedded in the infotainment system, seriously distracting drivers who have to adjust them while driving.

Recommendations

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Model 3 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Model 3 has never been chosen.

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

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