America’s Love Affair with the Wagon Isn’t Over, Yet
The popularity of crossover and SUVs has almost killed the wagon in the U.S., but there is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen for those who appreciate the benefits and not bothered with keeping up appearances. The latest generation Golf Mk VII expands the family line-up to include the Golf SportWagen and replaces the old Jetta SportWagen. My time with the 2015 VW Golf SportWagen confirms that they are as solid and enjoyable as any other seventh generation Golf.
The 2015 Golf SportWagen is offered with six trim levels, two engines and two transmission combinations. Your choice of powerplants are either a 170 horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder TSI engine or a 150 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder TDI diesel. Both engines can be paired with either a manual or automatic transmission. MSRP for the 1.8T in base level S trim with a 5-speed manual is $21,395. The MSRP for the TDI and 6-speed manual starts at $25,595 for the S trim–almost $2,000 less than the 2014 price. Prepare to pay an additional $1,100 for both the torque-converter automatic on the 1.8T or the dual-clutch DSG on the TDI model.
|2015 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SPORTWAGEN 1.8T|
|1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder, TSI||170 bhp @ 4,500 rpm||199 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm||5-speed manual||25 / 36 / 29 mpg|
|6-speed automatic||25 / 35 / 29 mpg|
|$21,395||1.8T manual||$22,495||1.8T automatic||2015 VW Golf SportWagen S|
|$26,995||1.8T automatic||2015 VW Golf SportWagen SE|
|$29,345||1.8T automatic||2015 VW Golf SportWagen SEL|
|2015 VW GOLF SPORTWAGEN 2.0 TDI (Diesel)|
|2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, TDI||150 hp @ 3,500 rpm||236 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm||6-speed manual||31 / 43 / 35 mpg (city/hwy)|
|6-speed automatic||31 / 42 / 35 mpg (city/hwy)|
|$24,595||2.0T manual||$25,695||2.0T automatic||2015 VW Golf SportWagen TDI S|
|$27,995||2.0T manual||$29,995||2.0T automatic||2015 VW Golf SportWagen TDI SE|
|$30,345||2.0T manual||$31,445||2.0T automatic||2015 VW Golf SportWagen TDI SEL|
For those who emphasize the driving experience, the Golf’s strong foundation returns a lively feel. On a twisty road, the SportWagen won’t rail like a GTI, but it was a lot more fun than many crossover SUVs I’ve driven. Both engines have loads of low-end torque and can hustle in the low rpms when called upon. The suspension and chassis absorb potholes, broken pavement, and poorly maintained city streets with poise and composure better than a Civic or Elantra can ever manage, yet the handling is still responsive with just the right amount of firmness.
The interior of the Mk VII Golf received unanimous praise from the media, and it is well deserved because the quality of the materials is closer to an entry-level luxury car than a $20,000 compact. I really liked the clean, uncluttered interior design that is neat, functional, and intuitive. The seats were supportive and had enough adjustments to be comfortable, and the 60/40 folding back seats folded flat for easy cargo loading.
With the back seats upright, the Golf SportWagen has more than 30 cubic feet of cargo space. Dropping the rear seats extends the cargo space to a whopping 66.5 cubic–comparable to a 2015 Ford Escape which has a maximum of 67.8 cubic feet cargo space behind the first row of seats. If you still need more storage space, smaller items can be slipped underneath the cargo floor on top of the spare tire.
While a crossover has comparable cargo space to a SportWagen, they also have a higher loading height and an even higher roof height. The SportWagen’s low roof height and low load height make it easy to pack large items from the rear compared to a Honda CR-V or almost any other crossover on the market today.
If you are on the fence about owning a wagon instead of a crossover, maybe the fuel economy of the TDI will nudge you in the right direction. The 2.0-liter TDI Golf SportWagen is EPA estimated to get 31 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway (42 mpg with the DSG automatic), and an estimated combined city/highway 35 mpg. That is getting close to hybrid territory and it has a single-tank range of over 500 miles.
On the TFL Car scale from FORGET IT to BUY IT, I give the 2015 VW Golf SportWagen a “BUY IT!” rating.
The Golf SportWagen is the last affordable wagon with excellent fuel economy on the market today. I also like the SportWagen’s well-mannered driving dynamics, all-around utility, and smart looking cabin that is comfortable as well as functional. Quite the littler performer, this might be the perfect compact family car.
Does Roman Mica agree with my assessment of the 2015 VW Golf SportWagen? Watch the video below to find the answer:
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 VW GOLF SPORTWAGEN SE 1.8T (automatic)
- MSRP Base Price: $23,315
- Price as Tested (includes destination charge): $29,505
- Options: Lighting package, Driver Assistance package
- Engine: 1.8L turbocharged and intercooled direct-injection 4 cylinder
- Power: 170 hp @ 4,500 rpm
- Torque: 199lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG)
- EPA Estimated Fuel Economy (MPG): 25 city / 36 hwy
- Fuel tank size: 13.2 gallons
- Drivetrain Layout: FWD
- Front Suspension: Independent strut
- Rear Suspension: Independent multi-link
- Length / Width / Height: 179.6 in. / 70.8 in. / 58.3 in.
- Wheelbase: 103.5 in.
- Curb Weight: 3,063 lb. (manual) / 3,120 lb. (automatic)
- Cargo Capacity: 30.4 ft3 (rear seats up) | 66.5 ft3 (rear seats folded)
For all-weather capability, the SportWagen Alltrack model packs VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. The Golf SportWagen Alltrack is confirmed for 2016 as 2017 model.
Other cars in its class:
Subaru Outback, Toyota Prius V, Ford C-Max, Volvo V60, Volvo XC70, Audi Allroad