2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack vs. 2019 Toyota Rav4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf Alltrack 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 Rav4 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Golf Alltrack 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 Rav4 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 provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Golf Alltrack. But it costs extra on the Rav4.

Both the Golf Alltrack and the Rav4 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The Golf Alltrack comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Rav4’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Golf Alltrack’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Rav4’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Rav4’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

The Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is faster than the Toyota Rav4 (automatics tested):

Golf

Rav4

Zero to 60 MPH

7.1 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

16.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87.8 MPH

83.8 MPH

Transmission

The Golf Alltrack offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Golf Alltrack offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Rav4 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf Alltrack stops much shorter than the Rav4:

Golf

Rav4

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Golf Alltrack’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The Golf Alltrack’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Golf Alltrack 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 Rav4 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Golf Alltrack SEL handles at .85 G’s, while the Rav4 Limited pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Golf Alltrack SEL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Rav4 Limited (27 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Golf Alltrack’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s (35.8 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The Golf Alltrack’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

The Golf Alltrack is 7.3 inches shorter in height than the Rav4, making the Golf Alltrack much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Cargo Capacity

The Golf Alltrack’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Rav4’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

Ergonomics

The Golf Alltrack’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 Rav4 LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Golf Alltrack SE/SEL has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Rav4 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Golf Alltrack (except S) also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Golf Alltrack (except S)’s optional Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Rav4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Toyota Rav4 isn’t available as a four door.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the Toyota Rav4, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Golf Alltrack second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Rav4 isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Rav4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Rav4 has never been chosen.

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

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