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2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

$21,895 - $29,995
Price Range (MSRP)
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Review

by Adam Lynton

Volkswagen's Golf brand is synonymous with reliable family motoring, and with the GTI being arguably one of the most well-known performance brands around, it is fair to say that the little Golf is quite a popular choice. It is slightly ironic then that Volkswagen has decided to go against conventional wisdom and offer a fully-fledged Golf station wagon. Despite the fact that station wagons don't sell, some manufacturers, most notably Audi, keep producing these family-friendly vehicles to the delight of a few hardcore fans (motoring journalists included). The 2019 SportWagen offers more room than a standard Golf, all-wheel drive in certain trims, peppy turbocharged engines and an appetizing asking price starting from $21,895. It sounds like a recipe for success.

Read in this review:

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Golf SportWagen?

The most significant change for 2019 must be the addition of a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-pot for FWD S and SE models. The new engine produces 147 hp and a handy 184 lb-ft of torque at a low 1,400 rpm. The new engine is mated to either an eight-speed auto with Tiptronic and sport mode or a good old six-speed manual. The driver assistance package available as an option on the S and S 4Motion cars now bundles together a range of safety features which includes blind-spot monitoring, frontal collision warning with active pedestrian and emergency braking as well as rear cross-traffic warning. Top of the line SE models now gets adaptive cruise control, auto headlights, and lane-keep assist. The discontinuation of last years' SEL trim means the SportWagen loses features such as navigation and premium sound systems.

Pros and Cons

  • Its a Golf with more cargo space
  • It handles well
  • Great value for money
  • It's a turbocharged station wagon in 2019
  • Optional all-wheel-drive
  • A lot of the safety features are optional extras
  • The styling is uninspiring
  • AWD only available on the base model
  • Sub-par acceleration

Golf SportWagen Exterior

The Volkswagen Golf is a good looking car in hatchback form, so it should seem logical that the extra junk in the trunk should make it look even better? The Golf lends itself naturally to the station wagon body style, but it can seem somewhat uninspiring when you opt for a generic color. The base model rolls around on 15-inch alloy wheels and benefits from a handy set of roof rails and heated exterior mirrors. The AWD S trim gets larger 16-inch alloys and heated wiper nozzles while the SE gets even larger 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, as well as LED headlights and fog lights.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Front Angle View
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Front Angle View
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Rear Angle View
See All 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Golf SportWagen is all about the dimensions. Volkswagen has added an extra foot of overall length to the SportWagen, taking the figure to 179.6 inches, which makes a world of difference in terms of interior space and cargo capacity. Exterior dimensions for the wagon are more or less the same as the Golf hatch. The SportWagen measures 58.3 inches tall, 70.8 inches wide, and rides on a 103.5-inch wheelbase. Despite the SportWagen's growth spurt, it only weighs 90 pounds more than a standard Golf for a total curb weight of between 2,978 and 3,385 pounds depending on the powertrain configuration.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Exterior Colors

  • Deep Black Pearl
  • Pure White
  • Tornado Red
  • Silk Blue Metallic
  • Night Blue Metallic, Available: 04/08/2019
  • Platinum Gray Metallic
  • White Silver Metallic

Golf SportWagen Performance

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Front View Driving
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Rear View Driving
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Engine

Engine and Transmission

There are two engine and two transmission options available for 2019. The least powerful but most fuel-efficient choice is the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that can be found in the S and SE models and is brand new for 2019. This engine produces 147 hp and 184 lb-ft which gives it good low to mid-range pulling power at low speeds, but it runs out of breath at higher rates. The 1.8-liter engine found in the AWD 4Motion S delivers 168 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, the latter arriving as early as 1,600 rpm. The extra power provided by the larger 1.8-liter engine will go a long way with larger families. The 1.4-liter engine is matched with either a slick-shifting six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the 1.8-liter AWD SportWagen gets the six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch auto. The manuals are sweet to shift, and the dual-clutch in the 4Motion is precise and crisp.

  • Engines
    1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 1.8-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Manual, 8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The standard Golf hatchback is one of the best-handling and driving cars in its class, and thankfully those highly lauded road manners have translated over into the SportWagen, which does a great job of hiding its excess weight and overall length. The wagon doesn't have the crisp turn-in of the sport-tuned GTI, but it remains composed even when pushed hard. The standard tires and lack of steering feel don't do it any favors, but we weren't expecting the SportWagen to be a track weapon. For daily commuting, the Golf Wagon will make a perfect companion.

Golf SportWagen Gas Mileage

One of the most significant selling points of the SportWagen is the fact that it offers station wagon space and hatchback fuel economy. The 1.8-liter engine gets 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined in manual guise, dropping to 22/29/24 mpg for the automatic. The star of the show has to be the little turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, which manages to get 29/37/32 mpg with the six-speed manual, and 27/36/31 mpg with the eight-speed auto. Compared to the 1.8-liter Golf Alltrack's 21/30/24 mpg, the SportWagen should clearly be the fuel-conscious driver's choice. The SportWagen has an estimated range of between 319 and 488 miles depending on engine and gearbox specification as well as city or highway driving conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 29/37 mpg
* 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.4T S Manual

Golf SportWagen Interior

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Dashboard
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Central Console
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Driver Seat
See All 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The interior of the 2019 Golf SportWagen is a familiar place to sit in because it's shared with the standard Golf, which means you get a well put together cabin that feels rightly premium for its price range. The cloth seats on the base model feel rugged and should hold up to years of toddler inflicted abuse, and the faux-leather found in the SE feels surprisingly real. Overall, the SportWagen's interior is logically laid out, looks durable, and should last as long as the car itself. The five-seater offers good seating space with an ample 41.2 inches of legroom in the front and 35.6 inches in the rear. The headroom is also good and measures 38.6 inches front to back.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Golf SportWagen Trunk and Cargo Space

The main reason for buying a station wagon over the standard hatch version of any car is simple: the wagon offers more space. The SportWagen provides almost double the cargo space of the standard Golf; 30.4 cubic feet of storage is available with the second row of seats folded up, while the standard Golf can only muster 17.4. With the 60/40 split-folding rear seat folded down, the SportWagen gives you 66.5 cubic feet of room for all sorts of family activities. Interior storage is ample: both front and rear occupants get their own cupholder and sizeable door pockets. The glove box can hold a good amount of personal storage, as can the central storage box.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Trunk Space
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Trunk Space with Seat Folded
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Maximum Cargo Space

Golf SportWagen Infotainment and Features

Features

The 1.4 S gets the basics, which means manual air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and power-adjustable cloth front seats. The 1.8 S receives heated front seats, and the SE model benefits from an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and keyless start. The faux-leather covered seats in the SE model are great and do a better job of imitating real leather than some much pricier cars. Extra features on the SE model include LED cornering / adaptive headlights, keyless entry and start, and adaptive cruise control. All models come equipped with an all-weather rubber floor mat kit, compass, and heated mirrors.

Infotainment

In base form, infotainment duties are taken care of via a 6.5-inch system with Bluetooth, and a single USB port. The SE model is upgraded to an eight-inch screen with voice control and a three month SiriusXM subscription. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. Volkswagen's Car-Net infotainment system is simple to operate and only makes use of a few buttons to navigate the entire system.

Golf SportWagen Safety

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen scored a perfect five out of five on the NHTSA safety rating scale and performed well on the IIHS scale as well. The SportWagen scored 'Good' for all categories except the small overlap passenger side where it got an acceptable score, and in the headlight category where it managed a marginal rating. The SportWagen comes equipped with a fair amount of standard pre-collision safety techs, such as forward collision warning, emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and adaptive cruise control. Parking is made easier thanks to front and rear parking sensors and parallel park assist.

Verdict: Is 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen a good car?

By pure virtue of its body design, the Golf SportWagen deserves to be labeled as a good car. You don't see any small, affordable station wagons on the road anymore, not to mention six-speed manual, turbocharged four-wheel-drive ones. The SportWagen takes everything we love about the Golf hatchback and gives us more of it. The exterior might seem a bit uninspired to some, but it is what lies within that makes the Golf wagon such a gem. Both engine options are good in their own right, and the ride and handling are expectantly Golf-like. It's no sports car, but it drives with confidence, and soon makes you forget that you're in a wagon. Interior luxuries aren't out of this world but match the car's price point. A Golf station wagon in 2019, how cool.

What's the Price of 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

The SportWagen starts off with an MSRP of $21,895 for the base S model. The AWD S model with the larger 1.8-liter engine goes for $24,395, and the premium SE model will set you back $29,995. In comparison, the more rugged Golf Alltrack starts at $26,895 for the 1.8T S Manual.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.4T S
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$21,895
1.8T S
1.8-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
All-Wheel Drive
$24,395
1.4T SE
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$29,995
See All 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Trims and Specs

What Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Model Should I Buy?

It is doubtful whether Volkswagen will continue to produce fully-fledged Golf station wagons in future, so we would go for the most performance orientated version on sale; the 1.8 S with 4Moton all-wheel-drive. We'd also opt for the $450 driver assistance package which adds blind-spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, and frontal pre-collision warning. The $1,577 18-inch Rotary wheels are also a tempting option.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Comparisons

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

The Golf Alltrack is basically a SportWagen with delusions of offroading grandeur. The Alltrack is only available with the 1.8-liter engine which in the Alltrack produces the same 168 hp and 199 lb-ft. The Alltrack has more substantial 17-inch wheels and has an increased ride height of 6.9 inches compared to the SportWagen's 5. -inches. The Alltrack is slightly heavier and uses more gas per mile, but in almost every other category the two are equally matched. The Alltrack starts off with an MSRP of $26,895 and should be the more family-friendly and practical wagon.

See Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Review

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen vs Subaru Outback

While the Subaru Outback is also classified as a station wagon, the two are quite different beasts. The Outback has a clear bias towards the SUV realm and prides itself on its rugged persona and off-road capability. The Outback is powered by a 2.5- or 3.6-liter engine producing 175 hp and 256 hp respectively. The Outback in the 2.5-liter spec is more fuel-efficient than the SportWagen and returns numbers of 25/32/28 mpg city/highway/combined, and has a considerable 18.5-gallon fuel tank. The Outback's 8.7-inches of ground clearance is notable. The Outback offers a lot of the same practicalities as the SportWagen but adds more practical off-road ability, interior space and cargo capacity to its list of accomplishments.

See Subaru Outback Review

2019 Volkswagen Golf Video Reviews