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Fore! Volkswagen's Golf Sportwagen more spacious and solid
Published Sunday, July 15, 2018 8:05 am
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

How do you make Volkswagen’s Golf more functional? Easy, you turn it into a Golf SportWagen.

Anyone else would call this a station wagon, but hey, let Volkswagen (www.vw.com) have its fun. The Golf SportWagen is very functional, well-built and offers a good bit of practicality.

Volkswagen has added a foot of space behind the Golf’s backseat to come up with this wagon. There’s nearly 65 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded, offering as much space as many compact SUVs. The Golf is a lot lighter, but not as equipped to take on the Outback. There is an option for all-wheel drive, but if that’s what you need, look at the Golf Allroad.

The SportWagen is powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder turbo-charged engine that makes 170 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. It also helps the SportWagen to get 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

This engine output doesn’t make the SporWagen, well, sporty. Volkswagen gets all it can from this engine but the steering handling and braking don’t raise the hair on the back of your neck. Instead, you get a feeling that you are driving something that’s solidly built and comfortable to drive. This is not a bad thing, just not sporty.

This Golf variant is a pleasant drive, however. The suspension soaks up most bumps but you do feel a classic, taught German ride quality.

An unusual feature was the six-speed manual transmission, which is becoming a rarity. It shifts smooth enough, but I had trouble with the clutch engagement. The car would lurch from time to time while engaging the next gear. It was probably more driver’s error than anything else.

There is certainly a lot of utility in this wagon. Lower the backseat and you have enough room to carry a lot of stuff. The wagon’s low lift height makes it easy to fill and empty. The lift gate swings up and out of the way.

The car’s interior certainly doesn’t look or feel like the base model that this is. Volkswagen’s choice of materials and its modern layout give this Golf an upscale feel. The cloth seats are comfortable, with standard power adjustment for front passengers. The rear seat is a 60/40 split and a pass-through. A rear-view camera is standard, as is an eight-speaker entertainment system with Sirius XM.

My SportWagen was an S model. It came standard with single-zone climate system, rain-sensing wipers, ABS, traction and stability control, foldable side mirrors with built in turn signals, power door locks and windows, backup camera, cruise control, front-wheel drive and 6.5-inch touch screen. No options were listed.

With destination, the as-tested price came to $22,535. That seems a fair price for a German-made station wagon. You have lots of other options to choose from in the small SUV category and maybe one or two more in the small wagon area. This deserves a good, long look.

Email Winfred Cross at: cross@alldaytech.com


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