The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TSI S W/4Motion Review By Steve Purdy

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Review by Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

While traditional station wagons as a genre mostly live in the past we’re blessed now with a variety of great “sport wagons” like this week’s test car, the VW Golf SportWagon TSI - a compact, entry-level hauler that will suit a variety of customers who want a stylish and efficient small transport without the height and bulk of a CUV, and without stretching the family finances.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Golf Sport Wagon can be had with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive called 4-Motion, controlled by an electronic coupler that sends up to 50% of torque to the rear wheels when needed. Rock climbing or mud bogging should be left to more rugged off-roaders. Though it’s a wisp higher off the ground than the regular Golf Wagon, the SportWagen doesn’t have enough ground clearance for the rough stuff.

Exterior styling is nothing to write home about though is competent without flourishes of style. VW’s entire lineup does not show much design eloquence though we can certainly say it will probably put no one off. Usually we say: if a design is not polarizing it’s probably not very good. In this case, we find it conservatively attractive inspiring calm admiration.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The VW Golf interior sports surprisingly good materials for an entry level car. Fit, finish and overall design leave us little to complain about. Controls are mostly simple with good ergonomics throughout. The cool multi-function screen senses the proximity of your approaching finger and comes to life before it gets there, like many more upscale systems. Unlike some other German cars, I did not find the functions and controls odd or difficult to manage.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Seats are generous enough even for this big guy; firm, comfortable and adjustable. Rear seatbacks fold, of course, for a nearly flat cargo floor. Cargo volume is 30.4 cubic-feet with the rear seat backs in place and an impressive 66.5 cubic feet with seatbacks folded. A sturdy security shelf and handy underfloor storage make this a thoughtfully designed rear compartment.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Under the hood resides a trusty gasoline 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder making a modest 170 horsepower and a good 199 pound-feet of torque mated to a tough 6-speed automatic transmission. The TDI diesel was the more popular power plant until the emissions cheating debacle of 2014. We now have no diesel option. A zero to 60 mph time of just 7.8 seconds means it should satisfy most customers in terms of acceleration, though is unlikely to trigger much adrenalin. The all-wheel drive version will get you to 60 mph in just 7 seconds because of much better traction. Top speed is governed at 125 mph. The EPA contends we can get 30 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. We have no reason to doubt those numbers as we managed just over 26 mpg this week driving in many conditions. And, I don’t generally drive with fuel mileage in mind.

The synergies between Audi and VW benefit both. VW gets a sort of everyman’s version of design and engineering often shared with the more premium brand.

Base price for the Golf Sport Wagon is $22,445 without all-wheel drive and $24,930 with. The basic car is well equipped and our AWD test car has no listed options.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Volkswagen’s new car warranty covers the whole car for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Volkswagen loyalists are not likely to be disappointed in this one. The German pedigree is important and, in spite of a few years of difficulties some time ago, VW sustains an earned reputation of solid, simple competence with a bit of enthusiast under the skin.

Too bad the turbo-diesel had to go away.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

The Most Helpful Volkswagen Research Information; Anywhere!

READY TO SHOP? - Get a Better Deal As A "Free-To-The-Dealer" Unencumbered Car Buyer