2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

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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 Crosstrek Hybrid 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.

Compared to metal, the Golf SportWagen’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid has a metal gas tank.

Both the Golf SportWagen and the Crosstrek Hybrid 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.

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 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Crosstrek Hybrid 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (168 vs. 148) than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Golf SportWagen 4Motion’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Crosstrek Hybrid (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Tires and Wheels

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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

The Golf SportWagen 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 Crosstrek Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 650 pounds less than the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek Hybrid with its rear seat up (30.4 vs. 15.9 cubic feet). The Golf SportWagen has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek Hybrid with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 43.1 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s liftover is 30.7 inches.

Servicing Ease

The Golf SportWagen uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Crosstrek Hybrid 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 engine computer on the Golf SportWagen disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or 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 Crosstrek Hybrid 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Both the Golf SportWagen and the Crosstrek Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf SportWagen has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat 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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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

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

Recommendations

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

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

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

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