By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos VW US Media Newsroom
For 2017, the Golf SportWagen is a more attractive value proposition across all trim-lines. The most important change is the availability of the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system on the S trim-line, with both six-speed manual and six-speed DSG automatic transmissions.
The Golf SportWagen is wrapped in sheet-metal that is modern, yet unmistakably part of the Volkswagen Golf DNA. The shape and design elements remain as defined and recognizable as ever, although distinctive elements such as the D-pillar, the roof rails and the unique rear design differentiate the SportWagen from the Golf hatchback.
The front end features a hood that slopes down into the front fenders and sports angular horizontal design cues and a slender radiator grille. At the back, the wide rear window, geometric two-part taillights and a wide, low tailgate that integrates the license plate area pay homage to the previous Jetta SportWagen and solidify the car’s place in the Golf family. With a load height of just 24.8 inches and a wide aperture of 40.6 inches, the Golf SportWagen is more practical than its predecessor.
At 179.6 inches, long and 70.8 inches wide, the Golf SportWagen is larger than the previous Jetta SportWagen, although overall vehicle height was reduced. These changes help improve the aerodynamics and thus the fuel efficiency, while giving the car sporty proportions. Thanks to the MQB architecture, which dictates a fixed relationship between the front-wheel centerline and the pedal-box, the front wheels sit 1.7 inches further forward, giving a premium cab backward aesthetic. Along with the styling, these updated proportions help the SportWagen achieve a lower visual center of gravity and a more dynamic stance.
The upscale environment of the SportWagen cabin is largely shared with the Golf models upon which it is based, but interior volume is increased because of the wagon body style. Occupants are treated to 94.3 cu ft of passenger area volume.
Rear-seat leg and shoulder room are 35.6 and 53.9 inches, respectively. Front seat passengers also benefit from the spacious SportWagen interior, with 41.2 inches of legroom and 55.9 inches across the shoulders. Both front and rear headroom are 38.6 inches.
The SportWagen has a spacious cargo hold that’s in line with those of compact SUVs. With the rear seats up, the SportWagen boasts 30.4 cu ft of space: when the 60:40 split rear seat is fully folded, that figure rises to 66.5 cu ft of storage. The split folding rear seats are accessed by release levers in the cargo area, helping to maximize convenience.
In addition to the expansive interior space, the driver controls are positioned to help optimize ergonomics and usability. The seat position, height of the shifter and the spacing between the pedals are fine-tuned for increased driver comfort. This driver-centric design focus is evident from the center stack, which is angled towards the driver, a feature frequently seen in premium luxury or performance vehicles. White backlighting for the controls further highlights this upscale ambience, as well as the use of premium materials throughout, such as the leather-wrapped handbrake, shifter knob and steering wheel, the soft-touch plastics and piano-black trim.
An equal amount of attention has been paid to helping to maximize comfort and convenience, even on the entry-level S trim. This base model comes well equipped with a long list of modern comfort, convenience and entertainment features, including power windows, locks and mirrors, a multifunction steering wheel, rearview camera, Bluetooth technology for compatible devices and Volkswagen Car-Net connected vehicle services.
Like the rest of the seventh-generation Golf family, the Golf SportWagen features compact turbocharged and direct-injection engines. The TSI 1.8-liter gasoline unit is a member of the latest EA888 engine family and this 170 horsepower engine is mated to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission, the Golf SportWagen’s EPA estimated highway fuel economy is 34 mpg. The EPA rating for the manual transmission model is 35 mpg on the highway.
The S 4Motion trim is mated to either a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed DSG automatic transmission. Regardless of transmission, the S 4Motion models achieve 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
4Motion all-wheel-drive system
For 2017, the 4Motion permanent all-wheel-drive system is available on the S model, with automatic or manual transmissions. The latest-generation 4Motion system is activated before any wheel spin occurs, helping eliminate nearly all traction losses. The system achieves this by using an advanced control function
based on specific driving conditions. When operating under a relatively low load or when coasting, the front wheels are driven and the rear wheels are decoupled, helping to save fuel. However, the rear wheels can be engaged in fractions of a second whenever necessary via the center differential, which is activated by an electrohydraulic oil pump.
In addition to the center differential that acts longitudinally, electronic differential locks that are a function of the electronic stability control system act laterally. The system briefly brakes a wheel that is slipping, enabling uninterrupted and stable transfer of drive power to the wheel on the opposite side.
With a starting price of $24,930.00, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is one of few wagon models available in the United States, one factor separating the SportWagen from SUV’s and compact crossover vehicles remains the lower ride height, which keeps the wagon’s center of gravity closer to the ground, aiding stability and handling; The 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen offers the maneuverability of a car and the practicality of a compact SUV with lots of cargo space, and a comfortable and composed ride.