SUVs are certainly in fashion right now, but there are plenty of folks out there that simply don’t want or can’t see themselves in a crossover. Enter the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. It offers crisp handling, a comfortable ride, and all the cargo benefits of a compact SUV, but without the bulk or average fuel economy.
Wagons get a bad rap for being sluggish and uninspired, especially at highway speeds. The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen addresses that negative preconception with a lively engine that will leave you feeling satisfied the moment you step on the gas.
That’s because the Golf SportWagen is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 170 horsepower. When paired to the base five-speed manual transmission, the Golf SportWagen’s engine serves up 184 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the available six-speed automatic and that number jumps to 199 lb-ft.
Regardless of transmission, though, the Golf SportWagen delivers impressive fuel economy, earning an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined.*
That’s a good thing because out on the road, the Golf SportWagen is a pleasure to drive. VW ensured that it retain the rigidity and handling of its smaller sibling, the regular Golf, meaning bumps and imperfections in the road are soaked up and dealt with, allowing drivers to enjoy a smooth and supple ride.
If you’ve driven a regular Golf, you’ll noticed the extra foot of length when parallel parking. But the Golf SportWagen remains small enough to be an asset in tight urban spaces.
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is available in S, SE, and SEL trims, with pricing starting at $21,625.**
Despite its attractive price point, the Golf SportWagen S comes with a long list of standard features. In addition to 15-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and black roof rails, S models also come with air-conditioning, cruise-control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A rearview camera, cooled glovebox, and 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through are also standard.
The Golf SportWagen also incorporates a number of in-demand technologies that are designed to make driving more enjoyable and convenient. The list begins with VW’s Car-Net® emergency telematics system, and continues with Bluetooth® phone and audio connectivity, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, and an eight-speaker audio system, complete with HD Radio®, USB ports, and satellite radio.
Step up to the SE and the Golf SportWagen becomes even more compelling, thanks to 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a panoramic sunroof, and other premium features such as keyless entry/ignition, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and an upgraded nine-speaker Fender® audio system.
If you simply must have it all, we recommend the SEL. 18-inch wheels, silver roof rails, LED interior ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a navigation system are but a few of its added features.
Both the SE and SEL trims can be further enhanced with two additional options packages. There’s a Lighting package that adds xenon headlights, LED running lights, and interior ambient lighting, and a Driver Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning and mitigation system, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system, blind-spot monitoring, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen isn’t a flashy car. Its design is more focused on fulfilling a specific role (carrying lots of stuff) than showing off fancy new threads.
That doesn’t mean the Golf SportWagen isn’t attractive, far from it. From head-on, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it from the standard Golf. It’s a different story from the side, where its long roof and upright hatch show off its more utilitarian focus. It’s a clean look to be sure, and one that VW fans will appreciate.
Like the rest of the current-generation Golf family, the 2016 Golf SportWagen gets high marks for its interior.
Materials use and fit and finish all look like they're from a higher class of car. Comfortable seating includes the rear seats, which offer decent legroom and headroom, even for taller passengers. And the generous cargo area doesn't result in any additional road noise, as is often the case with wagons.
The Golf SportWagen also benefits from a smartly designed interface, with buttons arranged in a way that make sense and are easy to use. The new larger 6.5-inch touch-screen display, which now supports Apple Carplay® and Android Auto™, is also a nice upgrade.
Standard safety features on the 2016 VW Golf SportWagen include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is a post-collision braking system that automatically applies the brakes after an impact.
As previously mentioned, the Golf SportWagen can also be outfitted with an optional Driver Assistance package (SE and SEL models only).
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a unique vehicle that satisfies the needs of drivers who want additional versatility and cargo space, but who don't want to drive an SUV.
*25 city/36 highway mpg (2016 Golf SportWagen 1.8T, 5-speed manual transmission). EPA estimates. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Starting MSRP of $21,625 for a 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen S 1.8T TSI® with 5-speed manual transmission. Prices exclude transportation, taxes, title, other options and dealer charges.
Image Credit: Volkswagen