2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Review

VERSATILE, AGILE, REASONABLY-PRICED FAMILY WAGON

2015 VW sport wagen BODY
Base price: $21,625

The SportWagen is an all-new wagon version of the Golf hatchback, and one of the outstanding makeovers in its genre. While priced in the low 20s, its tight, efficient flavor’s reminiscent of the best of German vehicles costing much more, and it’s fun to drive.

Some quick background:  the SportWagen model joined the Golf family in 2015, shedding its Jetta nameplate to reflect its seventh-generation Golf underpinnings.

Good. I never liked the name “Jetta,” anyway. Too much like “Jabba,” as in Jabba The Hut.  Jabba_the_Hutt

After a ground-up redesign for 2015, the Golf SportWagen presented the buying public with tasteful, artsy combination of everything anyone likes about Volkswagens, plus the latest, greatest technology at your distracted fingertips to keep you both entertained and fender-bender free.

Like the rest of the seventh-generation Golf family, the Golf SportWagen features compact turbocharged and direct-injection engines. The TSI gasoline unit rocks a 170 horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine mated to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission, mileage is somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 miles per gallon.  The TDI Clean Diesel model’s powered by the new EA288 150 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine, driving the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission. Mileage with the diesel comes in at around 44 mpg average.

Take that, Prius!

While not especially fierce drive-wise, the car’s handsome. The front end features a hood that slopes down into the front fenders and sports angular horizontal design cues and a slender radiator grille. A wide rear window, geometric two-part taillights and a low tailgate integrates the license plate area into an artful, handsome countentance.

You want the bells and whistles, though, you got ’em.

ag_15vwgolfsw_intThe new MIB II system offers USB and VW-Car Net® App-Connect, allowing owners with these systems to access select apps from their smartphones directly through the vehicle’s head unit. VW Car-Net’s connected vehicle services umbrella also includes connected car services, advanced telematics, and enhanced navigation available by subscription. A rearview camera now comes standard all models. The Driver Assistance Package (available on SE and SEL models) has been updated to include a number of new technologies including Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist.)

At 179.6 inches long and 70.8 inches wide, the Golf SportWagen is larger than the previous Jetta SportWagen, although overall vehicle height was reduced. These changes help improve the aerodynamics and the fuel efficiency, while accenting the sporty aspects of this economical wagon. Sorry, “wagen.”

It comes equipped with 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while a base Diesel S gets 16-inchers. (The SE trimline has 17-inch wheels for both TSI and TDI models, while the topline SEL trims have 18-inch alloys.) A panoramic sunroof is standard equipment on all trim models except the S, and the SEL has silver roof rails to set it apart from its S and SE brethren.

Inside, it’s upscale and is similar to the Golf it’s based on, but there’s 94.3 cubic feet more room. Rear seat leg and shoulder room are plentiful, and the trunk is spacious with 30.4 cubic feet of space for your junque with the rear seat up. When the 60:40 split rear seat is fully folded, that figure rises to an enormous 66.5 cu ft of storage.

Safety features are impressive, too. Along with Electronic Stability Control, there’s something called Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, built on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System applies brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors. There’s also Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.

The Golf SportWagen is exactly what it says it is – a roomy, economical, stylish ride worth the money.

-Auto Gigolo

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