2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

The Sportage’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage and the Golf Alltrack have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf Alltrack was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Sportage comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Kia 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.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 4 years and 28000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Golf Alltrack. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Golf Alltrack ends after only 6 years or 72000 miles.

There are over 18 percent more Kia dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sportage’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sportage has a standard 600-amp battery. The Golf Alltrack’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small 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 Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 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 Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 11 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 13 more horsepower (181 vs. 168) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo AWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 69 more horsepower (237 vs. 168) and 61 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo FWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 72 more horsepower (240 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 Sportage SX Turbo is faster than the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack (automatics tested):

Sportage

Golf Alltrack

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

7.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

18.9 sec

22.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.5 sec

8.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

87 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

129 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Sportage has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf Alltrack (16.4 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Golf Alltrack

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.7 inches

The Sportage stops shorter than the Golf Alltrack:

Sportage

Golf Alltrack

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage has larger standard tires than the Golf Alltrack (225/60R17 vs. 205/55R17). The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf Alltrack (245/45R19 vs. 225/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage SX Turbo has standard 19-inch wheels. The Golf Alltrack’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sportage’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Golf Alltrack (105.1 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 4.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Golf Alltrack.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Golf Alltrack SEL pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Golf Alltrack SEL (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Golf Alltrack’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

The Sportage is 3.8 inches shorter than the Golf Alltrack, making the Sportage easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Sportage has 4.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf Alltrack (98.6 vs. 94.3).

The Sportage has .7 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 2.6 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf Alltrack.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a larger cargo volume than the Golf Alltrack with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 30.4 cubic feet).

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

Sportage

Golf Alltrack

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

33.4”/68.2”

41.5”/69.1”

Max Width

52.3”

50.2”

Min Width

41”

39.6”

Height

29.5”

29.2”

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sportage EX/SX Turbo’s power liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Sportage’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

The Sportage has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Golf Alltrack has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Sportage 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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Sportage 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.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Golf Alltrack’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Golf Alltrack’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) 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 Sportage’s optional (except S/LX) 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 Kia Sportage (except LX) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Sportage and the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Kia Sportage outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by almost two to one during 2018.

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

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