2015 VW Golf Sportwagen
by Jim Corbran
2015 VW Golf Sportwagen
Yes, I found myself constantly checking the rearview mirror of this week’s test car to verify it was a family car. A station wagon. No, really. Yet it drives somewhat like a sporty sedan.
I picked up my Sportwagen test car one recent rain-soaked afternoon at Basil VW in Lockport, where General Sales Manager Adam Beck introduced me to Ryan Lovitz, who gave me a thorough intro to the car before I set off.
The new Golf Sportwagen replaces the Jetta Sportwagen in VW’s lineup. It’s nearly identical in size to the outgoing Jetta, but is instead based on the all new Mark 7 Golf, and is indeed almost a foot longer than the Golf hatchback.
The extra length doesn’t in any way diminish the car’s handling. It’s nimble in the turns without a lot of lean, steering is precise, and it still has VW’s amazing seats to hold you snuggly in place—just about the most comfortable front seats at any price. The interior of the Sportwagen is roomy; the tall roof and large door openings make it easy to get in and out of both the front and the back seats. With the rear seats folded down there’s over 66 cu. ft. of storage back there. And that rear seat isn’t just your usual 60/40 split; there’s also a center pass-thru which you can fold down and still carry two passengers. Folding down the rear seats is a snap, with two levers also located in the cargo area right near the hatch opening. All four windows are one-touch up and down, a departure from most cars in which only the driver’s door is so-equipped.
One neat feature of the cargo area was the optional HD trunk liner with CarGo blocks. The blocks are a set of moveable interlocking plastic blocks which stick to the floormat via Velcro-like tabs. They can be positioned anywhere to keep small cargo from rolling around on the floor. I may inquire as to the availability of this system to put in our car.
The test car was a sea of black—the exterior was Black (just plain black) while the interior was (I guess) a different shade called Titan Black. But the exterior styling makes it (I think) one of the nicest-looking wagons available right now. The interior is luckily also available in Beige, and a Quartz (gray)-and Black two-tone combination.
The test car was the Sportwagen 1.8T S, which translates to the base model (SE and SEL trim levels are also available) while the TSI designation lets you know that under the hood sits VW’s 1.8L 170 hp turbocharged direct-injection four. The TDI model would come with a 2.0L turbo diesel. Standard transmission is a six-speed stick, while a six-speed automatic was the option in the test car. And although 1.8 liters sounds dinky, it moved the Sportwagen along at a lively pace, with the automatic shifting smoothly. The 1.8 automatic is EPA-rated at 25/35 city/highway, while the diesel will get you up to 43 mpg.
The 1.8T S is the only gasoline-powered Sportwagen available with the manual transmission. It also comes standard with 15-inch alloys, a touchscreen audio system, power windows & locks, SiriusXM satellite radio and a glovebox-mounted CD player, and a glovebox cooling system(!). The starting price is $22,495 and the test car, with optional automatic, mud guards, first aid kit, and the CarGo cargo system stickered-out at $23,805 with delivery.
For now all Sportwagens are front-wheel drive, but rumor has it that an all-wheel drive version will be available at a later date. I inquired about a GTI version—the ideal car in my mind. I was told there were no plans for that, but if I headed to Europe I could have have the super-hot R version of the Sportwagen (called a Variant in Germany) for about twice the cost of the regular wagon. As we speak I’m submitting my travel proposal to Artvoice’s publisher.
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