As crossovers continue to take over here in the U-S of A, its companies like Volkswagen that carry no shame in the wagonism concept. The Golf SportWagen makes a continuance in a segment marked for one; however, while things may seem the same, some big changes have been made.
When the diesel debacle hit VW back in 2015, it was just a matter of time before they engineered a new form of performance that could achieve upwards to 40 miles to the gallon. In both the Golf hatchback and Golf SportWagen the standard 1.8T engine gets replaced with a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 1.8-liter with 170-horsepower will still be around, but only available on the SportWagen’s equipped with 4Motion All-Wheel Drive.
At 147-horsepower for the new 1.4T, the Golf isn’t one to be rushed or hurried anywhere. Taking over 8-seconds to 60 mph, it moves along gracefully without drama. Volkswagen is one of the few car companies to offer their cars in a manual transmission and our entry level Golf SportWagen ‘S’ starting at $21,895 happily supported that third pedal. Even in base formality, the Golf & Golf SportWagen have always carried a level of spirted driving technique to their chassis. That’s still the case here – despite its slow-poke demeanor, the Golf SportWagen carries itself well with exceptional balanced steering, well control body motions and poise, receptive handling. Who knew driving in the city could ever be more entertaining.
With its new found engine, the Golf SportWagen is capable of seeing 37 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined with mixed city driving. And depending on one’s manual driving skills, it could even been seen higher than that. Through a friendly clutch and smooth gestures from the gear shift, the manual driving experience in the SportWagen is unlike no other when it comes to entry-level manual vehicles. There’s a certain balance of comfort and engagement behind each shift that makes it enjoyable to drive every day, even if we are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
More slight updates have been made to the SportWagen with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist and Light Assist being standard on SE trim while it’s a $450 Driver Assistance Package that also incorporates Blind Spot Monitoring on the entry-level ‘S’. Additionally, LED daytime running lights are now standard with LED headlights standard on the SE model.
In its base form, the interior continues to offer the incomparable German taste, with soft touch materials nearly on every surface and the minimalist use of aluminum trim throughout. Even the seats are relaxed and carry a premium cloth fabric to them. With it being the wagon, rear seat occupants will enjoy commodious leg and head room and fold flat for extra cargo space. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there’s no reason to upgrade for navigation as keeping in touch with the world is just a tap away.
The idea of wagons have gotten lost somewhere – with the same capacity of a crossover, better fuel efficiency, easier in-and-out access, and being much cheaper, what is there to not like about them? While the engine may be smaller, the 2019 Golf SportWagen still continues to offer a huge value.
Model: 2019 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SPORTWAGEN
Starting Price: $21,895
As Tested: $23,240 – ‘S’ TRIM
Engine: 1.4-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 147-HORSEPOWER / 184 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED MANUAL
Drivetrain: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 29-CITY / 37-HWY / 32-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 27.4 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 400 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±8.0 SECONDS