2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs. 2020 Kia Sportage

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 Sportage doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Sportage 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 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 Sportage 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 Golf SportWagen and the Sportage 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, plastic fuel tanks, 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.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is safer than the Kia Sportage:

Golf

Sportage

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Golf SportWagen comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Sportage’s 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 12000 miles sooner.

The Golf SportWagen’s corrosion warranty is 5 years and unlimited miles longer than the Sportage’s (10/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Golf SportWagen

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/31 hwy

Auto

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

Sportage

FWD

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/26 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf SportWagen stops shorter than the Sportage:

Golf

Sportage

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

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 Sportage doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Golf SportWagen 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the Sportage SX Turbo AWD pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Golf SportWagen S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Sportage LX (27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Kia Sportage.

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 lower than the Sportage (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Golf SportWagen get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf SportWagen has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Sportage with its rear seat folded (66.5 vs. 60.1 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 Sportage’s liftover is 29.8 inches.

Servicing Ease

The Golf SportWagen uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Sportage 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 Sportage’s standard 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 Sportage 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 Sportage’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Sportage 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 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 Sportage doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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

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 Sportage was rated third in its category.

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

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

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

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