Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen — The most useable Golf

By David Finkelstein
Special to MotorwayAmerica

AUSTIN, Texas — The newest rendition and perhaps the most useable of the award-winning version of the Volkswagen Golf is now reaching showrooms in the form of the Golf SportWagen with a starting base of $21,395. That price point reflects the model 1.8T S  equipped with a manual transmission and a direct-injection 1.8-liter engine.

Also included are 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels,  Bluetooth hands-free technology, a touchscreen radio; Sirius XM Satellite  Radio with a complementary  trial usage period, a Media Device Interface with smartphone integration, leatherette seating surfaces, power windows and  power door locks,  and air conditioning. An automatic transmission is available as  an $1,100 option.

The new  SportWagen is a great alternative to the handful of other models in this compact category. For example, VW has indicated that it's SportWagen is positioned against the  Subaru Outback and its sister product — the XV Crosstrek. Additionally, it competes with the Toyota Prius V model.

SportWagen in general is quite versatile plus it provides a sporty driving experience overall. Furthermore, the  SportWagen replaces the outgoing Jetta SportWagen and follows the winning  formula introduced with the new Golf line that won the recent 2015 Motor Trend Car  of the Year and the 2015 North American Car of the Year awards.  Being bigger yet weighing-in close to 140-poundss less while still offering more power and greater fuel efficient, the SportWagen improves upon its predecessor in every way possible.

From the factory, the car will be offered to consumers with two powertrain choices.The standard 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI  engine will be mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, VW offers up a 2.0-liter, 150-horsepower turbocharged direct-injection  four-cylinder TDI Clean Diesel engine. Its matched  with either a six-speed manual  or a six-speed dual-clutch smooth shifting automatic transmission. 

And under the heading of miles per gallon, the gasoline engine with the manual gearbox  has an EPA estimated highway fuel economy of 36 mpg. The diesel model matched with the manual transmission is rated at 43 highway mpg.  During a recent road test, my numbers actually where higher with the TDI set-up showing close to 50 mpg.  Both engine delivered more than adequate passing power throughout the Texas Hill Country drive during a recent media event.

In addition to a long list of standard amenities, several  new comfort and convenience optional features will be available. The ”short list” includes their Fender Premium Audio System, a 12-way  power driver’s seat and Climatronic automatic air conditioning.  Newly available driver assistance features include VW's advanced Automatic  Post-Collision Braking System, a Forward Collision Warning System,  and front and rear Park Distance Control.

Also available is an attractive  lighting  package which includes LED Daytime Running Lights and  adaptive front-lighting. If we “snap shot” the factory's product trim mix for '15, outside of the entry1.8T S model, you'll discover  the Golf SportWagen 1.8T SE is most popular. Its only available with the six-speed automatic transmission and has a price point of $26,995. The Golf SportWagen 1.8T SEL trim starts at $29,345.

Next is the SportWagen TDI S.  The base TDI S starts at $24,595.  From there, dealers can showcase the SportWagen TDI SE which has a starting price of $27,995. The Golf  SportWagen TDI SEL has a starting  price of $30,345.

The SportWagen is wrapped in  sheet metal that is totally modern yet unmistakably part of the Volkswagen  Golf DNA. The shape and design elements remain as defined and recognizable  as ever, although distinctive elements such as the D-pillar, the  roof rails and the unique rear design differentiates the SportWagen from the Golf hatchback.

The front end features a hood that slopes  down into the front fenders and sports angular horizontal design  cues and a slender radiator grille. At the back, the wide rear window,  geometric two-part tail lights and a wide, low tailgate that integrates the license plate area pay homage to the outgoing Jetta SportWagen and solidify the new car’s place in the Golf family.

The upscale interior environment of the SportWagen cabin  is largely shared with the Golf models as expected, but its interior volume is increased because of the wagon body style. The stamped steel body and chassis boasts a large  percentage of high-strength steel. Like the rest of the Golf line, the SportWagen provides a combination of both passive and active transparent  safety systems.

All variances are offered with Volkswagen’s standard five-year/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain  limited warranty.