By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos VW US Media Newsroom
For 2018, the VW Golf Sportwagen offers a beautifully designed wagon for those seeking practicality and performance.
The Golf SportWagen carries the unmistakable DNA of the Volkswagen Golf, with a shape and design elements that are defined and internationally-recognizable. Distinctive elements of the SportWagen, however, include a D-pillar, roof rails and a unique rear design that differentiate it from the Golf hatchback; The front end features a hood that slopes down into the front fenders and sports angular horizontal design cues. An updated front grille, with upper chrome and lower chrome freshen the SportWagen’s look.
At the back, the Golf SportWagen features a wide rear window, new LED taillights and a wide, low tailgate that integrates the license plate. With a load height of just 24.8 inches and a wide aperture of 40.6 inches, the Golf SportWagen has been designed with maximum functionality in mind.
The Golf SportWagen is 179.6 inches long and 70.8 inches wide, dimensions that ensure sporty proportions and aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. Thanks to the MQB architecture, which dictates a fixed relationship between the front-wheel centerline and the pedal box, the front wheels sit 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 model, with increased interior space due to 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.
MIB II Infotainment
As standard equipment across the Golf SportWagen line, the MIB II infotainment system not only creates the foundation for the next generation of Volkswagen’s Car-Net connected vehicle services platform, but also offers one of the most comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features available in the automotive industry today.
The SportWagen S is equipped with the Composition Color unit, which features a new 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display. The infotainment system also offers SD card and USB multimedia interfaces, as well as a rearview camera and standard Bluetooth technology for compatible devices.
All other SportWagen models are equipped with a glass-covered 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen display, SE models with the Composition Media unit; SEL models with the Discover Media system with navigation. The new 8.0-inch display is not only brighter than previous generation of MIB II, it also offers better color reproduction, response time and improved viewing angles due to the switch to In-plane Switching technology.
Both units feature one USB port, a JPEG viewer, SiriusXM Satellite Radio for a three-month trial period, HD Radio, and support for lossless audio file format. Both units also can send and receive SMS text messages with Bluetooth with compatible phones and pair two phones simultaneously. The Discover Media unit offers 2.5D navigation, featuring one-shot voice destination entry, destination entry with quick search and auto-complete, and predicts possible destinations based on often used routes.
The Golf SportWagen features a compact turbocharged and direct-injection 1.8-liter four-cylinder EA888 TSI gasoline engine. It produces 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm, and with an automatic transmission, torque peaks at 199 pound-feet with the broad torque band starting at 1,600 rpm and lasting until 4,400 rpm. The TSI engine is mated to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel-drive models. Golf SportWagen models with 4Motion are mated to either a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed DSG automatic transmission with Tiptronic.
Front-wheel-drive models equipped with the five-speed manual achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 25 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway. Front-wheel-drive models equipped with the optional six-speed automatic are rated at 24 mpg in city driving and 33 mpg on the highway.
New for 2018
The 2018 Golf SportWagen is available in three trims: S, SE and SEL. Visually refreshed front and rear, all Golf models feature newly-designed LED Daytime Running Lights and striking LED taillights. The S trim adds automatic headlights with rain-sensing wipers as standard equipment for model year 2018, as well as a 6.5-inch Composition Color touchscreen infotainment display.
The Golf SportWagen SE trim now sits on 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels and adds an 8-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment display. Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert are now standard driver assistance features.
The Golf SportWagen SEL now rides on newly-designed 17-inch “Karlskoga” aluminum-alloy wheels, features a new 8-inch Discover Media infotainment and navigation display, and adds an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror. New driver assistance features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring and Adaptive Cruise Control.
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 2018 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.
Pricing for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen with a standard five-speed manual transmission and front wheel drive starts at $21,685. The six-speed automatic transmission starts at $22,785. Pricing for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion with a standard five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive starts at $23,935. The six-speed automatic transmission starts at $25,035. The destination charge for all Golf SportWagen models is an additional $895.