Are you looking for a very practical vehicle but don’t want a compact SUV? The 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is probably what you are looking for. It combines high levels of fit and finish and excellent road manners found in the standard Golf but with a larger cargo space.
VW transformed the practical Golf into a more practical wagon by adding an extra foot of length to the cargo area, producing 66.5 cubic feet of space with the seats folded. It’s similar to what you find in many compact SUVs. The Golf SportWagen also offers upscale interiors and smooth and efficient turbocharged engines. You can even equip it with an all-wheel-drive system, which is very useful if you often drive in bad weather.
The downside, you do not get a high driving position as you get in SUVs, and at the end, the best small SUVs like the Honda CR-V have more rear space and larger cargo capacity. Overall, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a great option to more common offerings.
This year, all trim levels get automatic wipers, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights. The SE trim gets more standard safety features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Finally, VW has also upgraded the SportWagen’s touchscreen infotainment systems.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a five-door station wagon available in four trim levels: S, S with 4Motion, SE and SEL.
Standard equipment for the S trim includes 15-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, heated side mirrors, a rearview camera, front seats with partial power adjustment, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Bluetooth, a 115-volt outlet, eight speakers audio system with a CD player, auxiliary audio, satellite and HD radio, USB and SD card inputs and VW Car-Net App-Connect and Car-Net Security & Service connectivity systems.
The S with 4Motion is similar but also get 16-inch wheels and heated front seats.
The SE adds 16-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, rear traffic alert, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and push-button ignition, simulated leather upholstery and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen.
The range-topping SEL adds 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, silver roof rails, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic dual-zone climate control, a navigation and a powerful Fender audio system.
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower. With the five-speed manual transmission it’s good for 184 pound-feet of torque, but when equipped with the six-speed automatic, the torque number increase to 199 lb-ft.
The base S model can be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive, which VW calls 4Motion is optional for the S trim and comes with either a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox called DSG. The SE and SEL trim get the regular six-speed auto as standard.
Despite its weight, the SportWagen all-wheel drive also benefits acceleration. In performance testing, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, 0.8 seconds quicker of its front-wheel-drive counterpart.
EPA estimated fuel economy for FWD with the five-speed manual at 29 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway) and 28 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) with the six-speed automatic transmission. The 4motion with the six-speed manual rated at 25 mpg combined (22/31), while the automatic at (24/22/29).
Inside, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is similar to the regular Golf hatchback, which means it has one of the best cabins in this price range. Most buttons and switches are logically arranged and easy to understand. Volkswagen has also upgraded the SportWagen infotainment system with new 6.5 and 8-inch touchscreens that offer a much better interface and graphics. This system also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The voice control system is well-executed.
Like the regular Golf, the 2018 SportWagen standard front seats provide firm support for both short and long distance driving. Both front seats offer a high adjustment, so the front passenger will not feel like a second-class citizen. The rear seats are spacious enough for a small car, but the SportWagen relatively low rear cushions cut tall passengers of under-thigh support. In here, most crossovers have an advantage with their higher seat cushions.
Behind the rear seats, there are 30.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough for the typical load of luggage, home goods and groceries. Folding the rear seatback produces 66.5 cubic feet of space, which is similar to what you get from many small crossovers.
Release Date and Price
The official price for the base SportWagen S starting at $22,535 (include $850 destination fee). Picking all-wheel-drive with a manual transmission cost an additional $2,250 and the automatic demands an additional $1,100. The SE trim priced at $28,170 and the top SEL trim $31,095.