2020 Nissan Versa vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Versa SV/SR are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Golf doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Versa SV/SR’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 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Versa 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Versa comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Nissan 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.

There are over 66 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Versa’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Versa’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 Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 2 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Versa

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

32 city/40 hwy

Golf

1.4 Turbo 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

Transmission

The Versa 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.

Tires and Wheels

The Versa 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 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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

Chassis

The Nissan Versa may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Volkswagen Golf.

Passenger Space

The Versa has 1.1 inches more front headroom and 3.3 inches more front legroom than the Golf.

Ergonomics

The Versa SR 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 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

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

Recommendations

The Nissan Versa outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by 79% during 2018.

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

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