2019 Volkswagen e-Golf vs. 2019 Toyota Prius c

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen e-Golf are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Toyota Prius c doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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 Prius c 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The e-Golf SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Prius c doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The e-Golf’s optional 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 Prius c doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c 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 Prius c have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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 and rear parking sensors.

The Volkswagen e-Golf weighs 929 pounds more than the Toyota Prius c. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.


The e-Golf’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Prius c’s (12 vs. 5 years).


The e-Golf’s electric motor produces 35 more horsepower (134 vs. 99) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (214 vs. 125) than the Prius c’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the e-Golf gets better fuel mileage than the Prius c (126 city/111 hwy MPGe vs. 48 city/43 hwy).

The e-Golf’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 125 miles on a full charge. The Prius c can only travel about .8 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the e-Golf’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Prius c:


Prius c

Front Rotors

11.3 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

9” drums

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

The e-Golf stops shorter than the Prius c:


Prius c

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the e-Golf has larger tires than the Prius c (205/55R16 vs. 175/65R15).

The e-Golf’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Prius c’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the e-Golf has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius c.

The Volkswagen e-Golf’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Prius c only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen e-Golf 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 Toyota Prius c has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The e-Golf has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the e-Golf flat and controlled during cornering. The Prius c’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The e-Golf has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Prius c doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the e-Golf’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Prius c (103.5 inches vs. 100.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the e-Golf is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Prius c.

The e-Golf SE handles at .86 G’s, while the Prius c pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The e-Golf executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Prius c (27.9 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 29.5 seconds @ .54 average G’s).


The design of the Volkswagen e-Golf amounts to more than styling. The e-Golf has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Prius c (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the e-Golf get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The e-Golf has 6.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Prius c (93.5 vs. 87.4).

The e-Golf has 3.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom and 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius c.

Cargo Capacity

The e-Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Prius c (22.8 vs. 17.1 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the e-Golf to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for tire rotation and brake pad replacement, vehicle inspection based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Prius c.


The e-Golf 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 Prius c doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

The e-Golf’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 Prius c’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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 Prius c 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 Prius c’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 Prius c’s optional manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Prius c doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The e-Golf’s power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The Prius c’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

The e-Golf SEL Premium’s standard rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Prius c doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The e-Golf has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Prius c doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The e-Golf’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 Prius c doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the e-Golf and the Prius c offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the e-Golf has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Prius c doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The e-Golf SEL Premium’s Parking Steering Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Prius c doesn’t offer an automated parking system.


The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Prius hasn’t been picked since 2004.

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

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

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