2020 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/06/03

The Golf has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Impreza doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Golf and the Impreza 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

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

Golf

Impreza

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

34%

39%

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/169 lbs.

237/379 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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Golf is safer than the Subaru Impreza:

Golf

Impreza

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

217 G’s

293 G’s

Hip Force

310 lbs.

400 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

63 G’s

79 G’s

Hip Force

588 lbs.

715 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

45 G’s

49 G’s

Hip Force

674 lbs.

824 lbs.

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

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/06/03

The Golf comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Impreza’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Golf’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Impreza’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Golf for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Impreza.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Golf’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Golf gets better mileage than the Impreza 5-door:

MPG

Golf

Manual

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

Impreza 5-door

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Golf Auto’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 Impreza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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A six-speed manual is standard on the Volkswagen Golf, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Impreza.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Golf

Impreza

Front Rotors

11.3 inches

10.9 inches

The Golf stops much shorter than the Impreza:

Golf

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The Golf has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Golf flat and controlled during cornering. The Impreza base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Golf has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Impreza doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Golf TSI handles at .86 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Golf TSI executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Golf is 1 foot, 3.1 inches shorter than the Impreza Sedan, making the Golf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Impreza 5-door with its rear seat up (22.8 vs. 20.8 cubic feet).

The Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Impreza Sedan (22.8 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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The Golf uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Impreza uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Golf and the Impreza have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Golf is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Impreza prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Golf’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Impreza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Golf the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Impreza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Golf’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Impreza’s power window switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Golf’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Impreza’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

The Golf has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

The Golf’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Impreza Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the Golf and the Impreza offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Golf has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Impreza doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Golf owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Golf will cost $155 less than the Impreza over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Golf is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because typical repairs cost less on the Golf than the Impreza, including $17 less for fuel injection, $64 less for a fuel pump and $14 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/06/03

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen Golf and the Subaru Impreza, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 14 years. The Impreza has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Impreza has never been chosen.

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

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