2020 Lexus NX Series vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The NX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Golf SportWagen only offers a rear monitor.

The NX Series’ 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 SportWagen doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the NX Series and the Golf SportWagen have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Lexus NX Series weighs 615 to 1127 pounds more than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

NX Series

Golf SportWagen

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

42%

43%

Neck Compression

70 lbs.

91 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 Lexus NX Series is safer than the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen:

NX Series

Golf SportWagen

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

148 G’s

217 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

317

368

Spine Acceleration

49 G’s

63 G’s

Hip Force

303 lbs.

588 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf SportWagen was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the NX Series has a standard 580-amp battery. The Golf SportWagen’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the NX Series’ reliability 36 points higher than the Golf SportWagen.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

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The NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 47 more horsepower (194 vs. 147) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 184) than the Golf SportWagen’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The NX 300h’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 26 more horsepower (194 vs. 168) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4-cylinder. The NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 67 more horsepower (235 vs. 168) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 199) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the NX 300 is faster than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION (automatics tested):

NX Series

Golf

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.1 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

20.5 sec

21.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.7 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.8 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

15.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the NX 300h gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen 4Motion Auto (33 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/29 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the NX Series 300h’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the NX Series 300h’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 SportWagen doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The NX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf SportWagen FWD’s standard fuel tank (14.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The NX Series’ standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf SportWagen 4Motion’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 14.5 gallons).

Transmission

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

The NX 300h has a standard 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 SportWagen doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the NX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf SportWagen:

NX Series

Golf

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.7 inches

The NX Series stops shorter than the Golf SportWagen:

NX Series

Golf

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the NX Series has larger standard tires than the Golf SportWagen (225/65R17 vs. 195/65R15). The NX Series F Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf SportWagen (235/55R18 vs. 225/45R17).

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

Suspension and Handling

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The NX Series 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.

The NX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Golf SportWagen’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the NX Series’ wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Golf SportWagen (104.7 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the NX Series is 1 inch wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Golf SportWagen.

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the NX 300 F Sport AWD is quieter than the Golf SportWagen SE:

NX Series

Golf SportWagen

At idle

37 dB

40 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

The NX Series has 1.6 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf SportWagen.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the NX Series’ rear seats recline. The Golf SportWagen’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the NX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the NX Series. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the NX Series’ power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

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Standard trailer towing in the NX 300 is 2000 pounds. The NX 300h offers up to a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Golf SportWagen has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 50% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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The NX Series 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the NX Series, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a memory system.

The NX Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and 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 SportWagen doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The NX Series’ 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 SportWagen does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The NX Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Golf SportWagen has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

If the windows are left open on the NX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Lexus service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Golf SportWagen can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the NX Series 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.

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 NX Series’ standard headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Golf SportWagen’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the NX Series has standard extendable sun visors. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the NX Series 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 SportWagen’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The NX Series 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 SportWagen offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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

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

The NX Series’ standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The NX Series’ standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The NX Series’ available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Golf SportWagen’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages

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The NX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the NX Series will retain 50.95% to 51.77% of its original price after five years, while the Golf SportWagen only retains 38.88% to 42.79%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus NX Series outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by 47% during 2018.

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

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