2019 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Golf offers optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Golf’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Golf’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Golf and the Corolla Hybrid 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

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 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Corolla Hybrid has not been tested, yet.


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

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


The Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 26 more horsepower (147 vs. 121) and 78 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 106) than the Corolla Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Golf has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Corolla Hybrid (13.2 vs. 11.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Volkswagen Golf as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Golf’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Corolla Hybrid:



Front Rotors

11.3 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

10.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Golf SE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Corolla Hybrid (225/45R17 vs. 195/65R15).

The Golf SE’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Corolla Hybrid’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Golf SE offers optional 17-inch wheels. The Corolla Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.


The Golf is 1 foot, 2.7 inches shorter than the Corolla Hybrid, making the Golf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Golf has 4.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Corolla Hybrid (93.5 vs. 88.6).

The Golf has .1 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom and .8 inches more rear legroom than the Corolla Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Corolla Hybrid (22.8 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Golf’s hatch uses gas-strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Corolla Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

The Golf uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Corolla 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.


The Golf’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 Corolla Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Golf has a standard rear wiper. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Golf SE’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

Both the Golf and the Corolla Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Golf SE/SEL’s optional Parking Steering Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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


Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Golf, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Golf second among compact cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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

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