2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Automatic Emergency Braking optional in the Equinox as “Superior.” The Golf Alltrack scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Golf Alltrack only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Equinox and the Golf Alltrack have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Equinox comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Chevrolet will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf Alltrack.

There are almost 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Equinox has a standard 700-amp battery. The Golf Alltrack’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Golf Alltrack isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

Engine

The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 84 more horsepower (252 vs. 168) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack (automatics tested):

Equinox

Golf Alltrack

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.1 sec

22.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

87 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

129 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Equinox AWD with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Golf Alltrack Auto (25 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Equinox’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf Alltrack (15.6 vs. 14.5 gallons).

The Equinox has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf Alltrack.

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Golf Alltrack.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Equinox 1.5T

Equinox 2.0T

Golf Alltrack

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

10.7 inches

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Golf Alltrack:

Equinox

Golf Alltrack

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

173 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Equinox has larger standard tires than the Golf Alltrack (225/65R17 vs. 205/55R17). The Equinox Premier’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf Alltrack (235/50R19 vs. 225/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Equinox Premier offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Golf Alltrack’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Equinox has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Equinox’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Golf Alltrack (107.3 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Equinox is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Golf Alltrack.

The Equinox Premier AWD handles at .86 G’s, while the Golf Alltrack SEL pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Equinox has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Golf Alltrack (7.9 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Equinox to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Equinox uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Equinox has 8.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf Alltrack (103.2 vs. 94.3).

The Equinox has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf Alltrack.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Equinox’s rear seats recline. The Golf Alltrack’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Equinox’s cargo area is larger than the Golf Alltrack’s in almost every dimension:

Equinox

Golf Alltrack

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/67.4”

41.5”/69.1”

Max Width

53.7”

50.2”

Min Width

40.7”

39.6”

Height

31”

29.2”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Equinox LT/Premier’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Equinox (except L/LS) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Equinox Premier, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Equinox has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Golf Alltrack has no towing capacity. The Equinox offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Equinox offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Equinox (except L/LS), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Equinox’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Golf Alltrack does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Golf Alltrack can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Equinox has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Golf Alltrack only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

When the Equinox with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Golf Alltrack’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Equinox offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf Alltrack offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Equinox and the Golf Alltrack offer available heated front seats. The Equinox Premier also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Golf Alltrack.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Equinox Premier keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Equinox Premier’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Equinox Premier has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The Equinox is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Golf Alltrack was rated second in its category.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by almost 8 to one during 2018.

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

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