2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2019 Ford EcoSport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf SportWagen 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Golf SportWagen offers optional Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The EcoSport doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

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

The Golf SportWagen SE’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The EcoSport doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Golf SportWagen and the EcoSport 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Golf SportWagen the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The EcoSport has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

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

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 2 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Golf SportWagen’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 24 more horsepower (147 vs. 123) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 125) than the EcoSport’s standard 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. The Golf SportWagen’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 149) than the EcoSport’s optional 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (168 vs. 166) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 149) than the EcoSport’s optional 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Golf SportWagen 1.8T is faster than the Ford EcoSport turbo 3 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

Golf

EcoSport

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

10.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

17.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Golf

 

 

 

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

EcoSport

 

 

 

FWD

Auto

1.0 turbo 3 cyl.

27 city/29 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen uses regular unleaded gasoline. The EcoSport with the 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Golf SportWagen 4Motion’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the EcoSport (14.5 vs. 13.6 gallons).

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is optional on the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.4 turbo 4 cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the EcoSport.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf SportWagen stops much shorter than the EcoSport:

 

Golf SportWagen

EcoSport

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Golf SportWagen SE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the EcoSport (225/45R17 vs. 205/60R16).

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 EcoSport’s optional 50 series tires.

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford EcoSport only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 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 EcoSport 4x2 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Golf SportWagen has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Golf SportWagen flat and controlled during cornering. The EcoSport 4x2 suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Golf SportWagen 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Golf SportWagen’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the EcoSport (103.5 inches vs. 99.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Golf SportWagen is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .1 inches wider in the rear than on the EcoSport.

The Golf SportWagen 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the EcoSport Titanium pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Golf SportWagen has 3.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the EcoSport (94.3 vs. 91.1).

The Golf SportWagen has 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the EcoSport.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the EcoSport with its rear seat up (30.4 vs. 20.9 cubic feet). The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the EcoSport with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 50 cubic feet).

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

Servicing Ease

The Golf SportWagen uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The EcoSport 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 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 EcoSport’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

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 EcoSport can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Golf SportWagen has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The EcoSport doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 EcoSport’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Golf SportWagen 4Motion/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The EcoSport doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Golf SportWagen SE detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The EcoSport doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Golf SportWagen SE has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The EcoSport doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Golf SportWagen SE also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Golf SportWagen’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the EcoSport Titanium/SES.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Golf SportWagen SE has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The EcoSport doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 12 of the last 12 years. The EcoSport has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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

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