2020 Chevrolet Trax vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

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Safety

Both the Trax and the Golf SportWagen 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 all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors 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 Chevrolet Trax is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

Trax

Golf SportWagen

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

122

286

Neck Injury Risk

26%

34%

Neck Stress

298 lbs.

336 lbs.

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

61 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

207

256

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

38%

43%

Neck Stress

122 lbs.

210 lbs.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Trax is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

Trax

Golf SportWagen

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

185

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

217 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

368

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

63 G’s

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

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 Trax’s warranty.

Reliability

The Chevrolet Trax’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Golf SportWagen’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Trax has a standard 525-amp battery. The Golf SportWagen’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Trax AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen 4MOTION (24 city/29 hwy vs. 22 city/29 hwy).

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Trax’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf SportWagen:

Trax

Golf SportWagen

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.3 inches

The Trax stops shorter than the Golf SportWagen:

Trax

Golf SportWagen

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Trax has larger standard tires than the Golf SportWagen (205/70R16 vs. 195/65R15).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Trax has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf SportWagen S. The Trax’s optional 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Golf SportWagen SE.

Suspension and Handling

The Trax has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Golf SportWagen’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

Chassis

The Chevrolet Trax may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 250 pounds less than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

The Trax is 12 inches shorter than the Golf SportWagen, making the Trax easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Trax has 1 inch more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear legroom than the Golf SportWagen.

Ergonomics

The Trax LT/Premier has a standard 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 Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Trax outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by over two to one during 2018.

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

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