2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2019 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf SportWagen 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 500X 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.

Both the Golf SportWagen and the 500X 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 cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Golf SportWagen comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The 500X’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Golf SportWagen’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the 500X’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 55 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Golf SportWagen’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Golf SportWagen’s reliability 42 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 118 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500X requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Golf SportWagen 4Motion’s standard fuel tank has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (14.5 vs. 12.7 gallons).

Transmission

The Golf SportWagen offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The 500X doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf SportWagen stops shorter than the 500X:

Golf

500X

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Golf SportWagen SE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500X (225/45R17 vs. 215/60R17).

The Golf SportWagen SE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X AWD Trekking/Trekking Plus’ optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Golf SportWagen’s wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer than on the 500X (103.5 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The Golf SportWagen’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56.9% to 43.1%) than the 500X’s (60.3% to 39.7%). This gives the Golf SportWagen more stable handling and braking.

The Golf SportWagen 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the 500X pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Golf SportWagen S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the 500X Trekking (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Fiat 500X.

The design of the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen amounts to more than styling. The Golf SportWagen has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is significantly lower than the 500X (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Golf SportWagen get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Golf SportWagen has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500X (94.3 vs. 91.7).

The Golf SportWagen has 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500X.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (30.4 vs. 12.2 cubic feet). The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Golf SportWagen easier. The Golf SportWagen’s trunk lift-over height is 24.8 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

Servicing Ease

The Golf SportWagen uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 500X uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The Golf SportWagen’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 500X’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Golf SportWagen the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the 500X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Golf SportWagen’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 500X’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The 500X Trekking/Trekking Plus’ cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Golf SportWagen SE’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The Golf SportWagen has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf SportWagen has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

The Golf SportWagen SE has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 500X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Fiat 500X isn’t available as a four door.

The Golf SportWagen is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Golf SportWagen second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 500X isn’t in the top three.

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The 500X has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The 500X has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Fiat 500X by over 8 to one during 2018.

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

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