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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by petrol engines and utilizing the 4-door sedan body style within the same 'Small family car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (4 x 4 for the Subaru and front in the case of the Volkswagen). The first one has a Subaru-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 95hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 105hp engine designed by Volkswagen.Safety
Unfortunatelly, neither of the two vehicles was submitted to the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) testing. This makes it virtually impossible for me to pick one over the other and I'm generally against buying such cars as the safety should really always come first. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the small family car segment, which is generally classifying them somewhere in the middle safety-wise, still it doesn't help us solve our dilemma, does it? Furthermore, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, the Japanese car offers a marginal difference of 8% more metal.Reliability
Manufacturers have been building their reliability reputation for decades now and, generally speaking, it appears that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, when all the models are taken into account. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of Subaru with an average rating of 4.3, and models under the Volkswagen badge with 4.2 out of 5. Unfortunatelly, I don't have enough insight that would allow me to comment in more details on the specific models level. We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as the Japanese car rank it on average as 4.0, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.5 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Volkswagen is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 1.1 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 188 kilometers per hour, 14km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the German car, averaging around 7.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (38 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 9% difference compared to the Japanese car.
Volkswagen appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, the Japanese car offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. From there things take a different direction, with Volkswagen being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but Volkswagen. In any case that's my personal view, built upon all the data available to me. What should decide here though is the way you feel about the two vehicles, and I hope you'll find my guidelines useful in the process. I suggest you spend two more minutes in order to find out which car, based on your needs and budget, would be picked by the virtual adviser™, among thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.