2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen | KISS Principle | TestDriveNow


There is a surprisingly large faction of car
buyers who don’t want “stuff.” I see it in my comments section all the time: “I
don’t need…just more to go wrong, more I’ll have to fix, too complicated.” Well,
this review is for those people: the VW Golf SportWagen. There’s no smart key, no push
button start, no power liftgate, no full-power seats, no leather, no sat radio, no navi,
no LED headlights, no sunroof, no USB ports in the rear, no adaptive cruise control. So
those who prefer basic can rejoice because this VW offers up a whole lot of no for about
$27k. There isn’t a ton of them on the market
but the station wagon still has a heartbeat and their advantages over an SUV are all evident
right here; you can get this SportWagen with a manual transmission, all-wheel drive, an
easy to load roofline, and over 30mpg for about $25,000. Good luck finding all of that
in a traditional sport-utility. This here is the no-frills 4Motion model targeted at
the budget conscious and those who live in fear of their things breaking. VW sells a
more adventurous version of the SportWagen known as the Golf Alltrack for $5,000 more. Now in its 5th model year and on the verge
of a complete redesign my initial 2015 test drive earned a Top Picks honor from me. But
that was of a higher trim level that no longer exists, and in a rapidly changing industry,
it was a long time ago. In 2019, this SportWagen 1.8T S with 4Motion feels like a throwback…from
its ‘70s era design language with 16” wheels to its real ignition key this VW goes
against the modern car grain. Now, you can get a front-wheel drive version in a higher
equipped SE spec with a new 1.4-liter turbo but if you want one with all-wheel drive it’s
going to be a more primitive experience. My tester has the optional 6-speed automatic
transmission adding $1,100 to the price and it’s equipped with the only available option
package – the new for 2019 Driver Assistance package including Forward Collision Warning
and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic
Alert. Total MSRP as it sits is $26,840. The 1.8-liter turbo-4 produces 168 horsepower
and nearly 200 pound-feet of torque providing that spirited momentum the Golf is known for.
Gas mileage is actually a little better with the stick…here it checks in at 24mpg in
combined driving. The wagon is an underappreciated bodystyle
in this country but once you live with a lower liftover height for loading your stuff and
those easily accessible roof rails you’ll get the utility benefits. Plus, it drives
with the verve of a car due to its lower center of gravity. The cargo area is cleverly conceptualized
too. First, it’s nice and deep with straight sides. There are cubbies for small stuff,
hooks for grocery bags and a multi-stage cargo cover. There’s dividable underfloor storage
and levers to fold the rear seats. This Golf’s versatility and the awesome White Silver Metallic
paint are my favorite aspects of the car. The SportWagen does have an agreeable drive
with VW’s hallmark characteristics baked in, like excellent forward visibility, frisky
handling, dialed-in steering a smooth transmission and some turbo go. And this one benefits from
4Motion making it a nice all-wheel drive get with plenty of utility. And though it is basic
there’s just enough going on here to keep the cabin from feeling completely sparse. The ride is accurately described by the clichéd
descriptor “European-tuned” with a nice balance of road feel and occupant comfort.
From inside, the fabric seats provide a perfect perch and are sculpted in the rear to hold
passengers in place. They are manually operated with the exception of power recline. Working
through the electronics displays is easy with steering wheel switches for the driver info
center and the small touchscreen is within close reach. There’s not much in here but
it works with your smartphone to integrate the things it lacks, mainly navigation. The
6-speaker sound system is completely underwhelming, particularly because this cabin isn’t the
quietest. And storage space is at a premium. My favorite reasonably priced wagon is the
Buick Regal TourX which starts at about $30,000. As for the SportWagen 4Motion, I’d wait
to see what VW has in store for 2020 before signing.

32 thoughts on “2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen | KISS Principle | TestDriveNow

  1. it's nice but so vanilla. Maybe if they offer good incentives it would make this thing competitive with the japanese crossovers. Throw in some plaid seats and cooler wheels

  2. I’m all about the TourX. I’m looking at them now and buying used can save $15K! I challenge you to find a better $25K vehicle for general purpose use with AWD.

  3. Steve, hasn't the Golf been canceled in the US for 2020, except for the GTI?? I read somewhere that VW decided not to send the Mark 8 Golf to the US due to poor sales. 😕

  4. Don't get the 1.4 It's a trouble engine. At least the ones with the timing chain. They changed it later back to toothed belt because they couldn't handle the problem. The 1.2 TSI and 1.8 TSI had almost the same issues but the 1.8 not that often. The 2.0 didn't.

  5. Comparing to the Buick is like comparing a Tacoma to an F150. It's a different size/class. That Buick is an Opel Insignia and that compares since 40 years to the Passat.

  6. Great review… nothing about this review though made me wanna sign off on purchasing this.. it reminded me of a review from a Subaru.. old and outdated but as u sed Steve it’s bare and some applaud that.. but if the styling would of been updated.. maybe push start and some 17s ..I think it would of for me been a better taste.. I believe this was to much of a throwback.. not saying the driving experience wasn’t pleasant… but it seems that 27k your paying is more about the 4 motion and utility.. which to me there’s others that do it better without to much more in the price.. the Buick wagon is staring this right in the face for bout 5 more grand but with a whole better demeanor..

  7. I'm willing to bet that a fully loaded Toyota or Honda with all the electric nannies, is more reliable and will provide way less maintenance headaches than anything VW/Audi could stamp their name on.

  8. The Alltrack-S (my #2 next car) is a better proposition than this model imo. With the S trim, one can avoid the leak prone panoroof; however, you also miss out on other niceties [I'd rather have a dry interior]. Only downside is that I would have to drive it in sport mode all the time. Negotiate (hard), as these can be slow sellers, and dealers may accept your offer making this car a great deal.

  9. This VW Golf Sportwagen and the rugged Alltrack variant has the size that's slightly smaller than a Subaru Outback and larger than a Crosstrek. But the price of the Alltrack and Golf Sportwagen is the same like an Outback…

  10. The Sportwagen, Alltrack, and Base Golf Hatch are D E A D for the Mk 8 Golf in the US. Only the GTI and Golf R will be coming in 2020. A small SUV will replace the Sportwagen and Alltrack. Thank Chet and Barbie for wanting CUVs and SUVs over wagons.

  11. Great video as always Steve! Quick question? I didn't realise you could get the Mark 7 Golf with a manual handbrake, is that a US thing? Over in the UK its electronic (Link to a video I made on the Scottish Mk7 1.5TSI Manual hatch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBZnzzWcM9k&t=1s)

    Keep up the great work

  12. I like your summary comments. Especially with Buick offering significant discounts on their Regal lineup, it is a Worthy alternative to this Volkswagen at just a few thousand dollars more

  13. A week after this review and VW has gone and cancelled it.. “didn’t even see it coming” *Lloyd Christmas

  14. Great review. Honest appraisal of this car and its mission. Turns out VW has death in store for this model in the US. Too bad. Tons of goodness for the money.

  15. If you don't need AWD and want a basic wagon with modern features but not a bunch of unnecessary dodads, get a Sportwagen S with the 6 speed manual…….but good luck finding one. The new VW small crossover that will be coming in 2021 is something like 2020 Volkswagen Tharu/Tarek.

  16. There will be no 2020 In the US. Discontinued in US, and few new left to buy. 4motions are only remaining in northern states. These have a sportier ride than TourX which is bloated by comparison. If you want one of these, act fast. Just repacked my wife’s 2016 S with a 2019 SE. She was hooked on it and I couldn’t get her to join the SUV craze. Likes riding low, but I couldn’t get her to try the Kia Stinger!

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