IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The Golf SportWagen builds on the inherent goodness of the redesigned-for-2015 Volkswagen Golf by delivering substantially upgraded passenger- and cargo versatility at very reasonable prices—and with little penalty to fuel-economy numbers.
All-wheel drive isn’t available (at least not yet), the touchscreen display isn’t as large or feature-rich as some competitors, and VW’s diesel-emissions cheating scandal sullies the brand’s reputation.
Even in base S form, the Golf Sportwagon boasts one of the classiest interiors in the compact-car class.
WHAT IS IT?
The Golf SportWagen is a four-door station-wagon variant of Volkswagen’s Golf hatchback; it essentially replaced the previous Jetta SportWagen In VW’s U.S. model lineup. The SportWagen shares its powertrains with the Golf hatchback—the 1.8-liter gasoline 4-cylinder offers the choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Volkswagen’s 150-hp, 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder (which could be equipped with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automated manual) was previously available, but it has been discontinued (at least temporarily) in the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel-emissions cheating scandal. It’s doubtful that the diesel engine will be offered again within the 2016 model year. The SportWagen is 11.6 inches longer overall than its hatchback sibling; this translates to significantly improved cargo capacity (30.4 cubic feet vs. 22.8 with all seats in place), and rear-seat headroom is improved as well. Like the hatchback, the Golf Sportwagen’s model lineup ascends through S, SE, and SEL trim levels.
The SportWagen joined the Volkswagen Golf lineup as a mid-2015 model. For 2016, it gets updated available infotainment systems with a USB port and VW’s Car-Net App-Connect when equipped with the 6.5-inch touchscreen. App-Connect includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The Driver Assistance packages gains lane departure warning, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and an automated park assist system.
SportWagens with the 1.8-liter gasoline engine are rated at 25 mpg city/ 36 highway with the manual transmission and 25/35 with the automatic. VW had estimated that the 2.0 turbodiesel engine achieved 31/43 with the manual and 32/44 with the automated manual; it’s unclear at this point if fuel-economy numbers will be affected if and when VW updates this engine to be EPA-emissions compliant. In Consumer Guide® testing, a manual-transmission SportWagen with the 1.8 engine averaged 28.2 mpg in a 310-mile test consisted of 65-percent city/35-percent highway driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Golf SportWagen takes an already appealing compact car and makes it better by adding more interior room. With 66.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded, the Golf SportWagen’s cargo capacity rivals many compact SUVs; among its class competitors, only the tall-wagon Fiat 500L tops it. Plus, the SportWagen offers a comfortable ride, an upscale cabin with a refreshingly straightforward control layout, and competitive pricing—base models start at around $23,500 with automatic transmission and destination charge.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$21,625 – $29,385|
|BODY STYLES||4-DOOR WAGON|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||TURBOCHARGED 170-HP, 1.8-LITER 4-CYL.|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||25-36 MPG|
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