2020 Chevrolet Spark vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Spark and the Golf 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 and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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 Spark’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Spark’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Golf’s camshafts. If the Golf’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Spark

Manual

1.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/38 hwy

ACTIV 1.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

Auto

1.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

ACTIV 1.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/37 hwy

Golf

Manual

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

Transmission

The Spark offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Golf doesn’t offer a CVT.

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Spark has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Golf doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Tires and Wheels

The Spark’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf S’ standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Spark’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Golf’s (33.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Spark may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 pounds less than the Volkswagen Golf.

The Spark is 2 feet shorter than the Golf, making the Spark easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Spark is 8 inches narrower than the Golf, making the Spark easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The Spark has .6 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more front legroom than the Golf.

Ergonomics

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Spark is less expensive to operate than the Golf because it costs $555 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Spark than the Golf, including $40 less for a water pump, $14 less for a muffler, $448 less for a starter, $53 less for fuel injection and $240 less for front struts.

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

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