2020 Subaru WRX vs Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance Car Comparison in Shingle Springs, CA

The Volkswagen Golf GTI may be a sporty hatchback, but the Subaru WRX is on another level entirely. It's a rally-bred performance car with the amazing quality, comfort, and safety that set Subaru apart from the crowd. We believe that the Subaru WRX is the better all-around choice, whether you're driving around town, heading out to the track, or tearing up the backroads. To show you just how these two cars compare, we'll take an in-depth look below.

Subaru WRX on dirt road

Subaru WRX vs VW Golf GTI: Design

Though it's what's under the hood that makes a performance car, looks also matter. The 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI separates itself from the normal VW Golf in only minor ways. It adds a little red trim and an exclusive grille, but is otherwise much like the normal Golf. The Subaru WRX, on the other hand, has a bold design that separates it from the Subaru Impreza on which it was based. Most obvious is the hood scoop--a feature that the Golf GTI lacks. Underspoilers on the front and rear, as well as a rear bumper with an integrated diffuser, also add to the powerful design of the Subaru WRX.

Interior of a 2020 Subaru WRX with cargo

Subaru WRX vs VW Golf GTI: Interior Space & Features

While these are both performance cars, they're also suited to everyday driving. In this area, the Subaru WRX is the victor. Its 96.6 cubic feet of passenger space gives your passengers ample room to spread out, especially when you compare it to the more cramped VW Golf GTI. Automatic climate control comes standard on the Subaru WRX, making sure that everyone in the vehicle is comfortable. To get the same feature in the 2020 VW Golf GTI, you'll have to pay more. Available Subaru WRX features like aluminum-alloy pedal covers and Recaro® performance-design front seats further add to the sports-car look.

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2020 Subaru WRX driving

Subaru WRX vs VW Golf GTI: Performance Comparison

Though both of these cars come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, there's a world of difference between the two. Under the hood of the WRX is a SUBARU BOXER® engine, which provides improved balance and control on curves thanks to its flat layout and low placement. It's also more powerful than the engine in the VW Golf GTI.

Of course, the engine isn't the only difference between these two performance cars. The VW Golf GTI is a performance hatch that has two-wheel drive, but the Subaru WRX is inspired by legendary Subaru rally racers. It has Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, which gives you even better traction. This is great for racing down dirt trails or taking tight corners.

Close-up of 2020 Subaru WRX wheel

Subaru WRX vs VW Golf GTI: Safety Ratings

Your safety is a top priority for Subaru, and it shows. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives star ratings for Frontal Crash, Side Crash, Rollover, and Overall crashworthiness categories. In every category, the 2020 Subaru WRX earned a perfect five out of five stars. The 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI, by comparison, earned only four stars in both the Frontal Crash and Rollover categories.

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Subaru WRX vs VW Golf GTI: Value

The 2020 Subaru WRX has an MSRP that's $1,100 less than that of the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI! That's less money for better performance, more space, and increased safety. Of course, the best way to get a feel for the Subaru WRX is to take one for a drive yourself, so we invite you to head to Shingle Springs Subaru for a test drive.

2020 Subaru WRX 2020 VW Golf GTI
$27,495 Starting MSRP* $28,595
268 Horsepower 228
258 lb-ft Torque 258 lb-ft
21 City MPG / 37 Highway MPG Gas Mileage 24 City MPG / 32 Highway MPG
Standard All-Wheel Drive Not Available
Sedan Body Style Hatchback
Available Brembo® Brakes Performance Braking System Not Available
96.6 cu. ft. Passenger Volume 93.5 cu. ft.
5 Stars NHTSA Frontal Crash Rating 4 Stars
Standard Automatic Climate Control Available

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.