Volkswagen Golf vs Competitors

 

 

Overview

There’s a strong market for subcompact hatchbacks, and it’s not surprising why. By blending the utility of a crossover with the drive feel of a mid-sized sedan, they give their drivers the best of both worlds. Most vehicle manufacturers understand the growing popularity and have effectively taken it upon themselves to deliver what the people want. On that note, the hatchback segment is the most likely to offer something to manual-shift purists who prefer to control their car’s shifting, and the Golf does indeed come standard with a stick.

Volkswagen has built its 2019 Golf to be a practical, affordable, and downright fun-to-drive hatchback. The Golf is not without its competition, though. It goes head-to-head against the Honda Civic Hatchback, Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda3 Hatchback, and Subaru Impreza Hatchback models. Despite the healthy rivalry, the Golf holds its own and manages to captivate the hearts of its fan base while also converting new enthusiasts every model year.

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Golf versus Civic and Corolla Hatchbacks

The reason a lot of buyers choose a hatchback is for the greater ease of carrying stuff compared to a sedan, and the Golf surpasses both the Civic and Corolla hatches in cargo capacity. The Golf nets a noteworthy 53.7 cubic feet of cargo space, whereas the Civic and Corolla hatchbacks only provide 46.2 cu.-ft. and 23.3 cu.-ft., respectively.

Technology is also a strong point for the Golf, as even the base model gets standard VW Car-Net App-Connect, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a six-speaker sound system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. In contrast, the base Civic Hatchback has a smaller 5-inch button-controlled infotainment system, only four speakers on its audio system, and no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity (the Corolla also neglects Apple CarPlay on its base trim and leaves out Android Auto across all trims). In order to get what the Golf provides on the base, Corolla Hatchback buyers will need to upgrade to a more costly trim level.


Golf versus Elantra GT and Mazda3 Hatchback

Fuel economy for the Golf is pretty solid as well, with its EPA-estimated 29 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. Compared to the Elantra GT, which is rated for just 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, you’ll find yourself filling up less often with the Golf. Even the Mazda3 Hatchback has a slightly lower fuel economy, only getting you 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. On top of that, the Golf has a more attractive starting MSRP at $21,845, next to the Mazda3’s $23,600.


Golf versus Impreza Hatchback

Despite the Impreza’s more favorable horsepower churn, it falls short on its torque output. With the Golf’s turbocharged engine, you’ll experience a respectable 184 pounds-feet kick. While many people assume that horsepower is the sole indicator of a powerful engine, torque is equally important and is an even better indicator of a vehicle’s power right out of the gate. With that in mind, the Golf makes 40 more lb.-ft. of torque than the Impreza, meaning you’ll have a more responsive drive overall. On top of this, the Golf’s shorter wheelbase and balanced chassis give you nimbler maneuverability than that of the Impreza, which is something almost always desired by enthusiasts of the hatchback segment.