• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Review: 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE

    • The anti-compact crossover!

    There is a running joke in the automotive world that the perfect vehicle for an enthusiast is a rear-drive station wagon with a diesel engine and manual transmission. The closest we ever got to this ’nirvana’ was the Volkswagen Jetta and Golf SportWagen. While not rear-wheel drive, the Jetta and Golf wagons did offer a diesel and manual transmission combination. Not only did they become one of the darlings of the automotive press, but consumers would soon jump on the diesel wagon bandwagon thanks to Volkswagen’s ‘clean diesel’ ad campaign. 

    But we would learn this ‘clean diesel’ campaign was a fallacy as Volkswagen was found to be using illegal software that allowed their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests. One of the key selling points for the Golf SportWagen was taken off the table and Volkswagen’s reputation would take a nose dive. This brings up an interesting question, is there more to the Golf SportWagen than the availability of a diesel engine? 

    Describing the design of the Golf SportWagen is quite simple - take a standard Golf and add a foot to the overall length. Otherwise, the clean design of the Golf is still here with a narrow front grille and smooth side profile. Some will complain that the SportWagen is a bit boring to look at. We can’t disagree with this as it kind of exists with no real standout design trait.

    The interior follows the same ideals as the exterior with a plain jane look. The choice of black and sliver for the interior trim only reinforces this thought. But Volkswagen should be given some credit as the design does allow for a simple layout of controls and are within easy reach for driver and passenger. Also, a lot of the materials used throughout the interior are soft-touch and make the SportWagen feel quite premium.

    Finding a seating position in the SportWagen is simple thanks to the combination of manual and power adjustments for the front seats and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The seats earn top marks for comfort and support for long trips. The back seat offers plenty of head and legroom for most folks. This is impressive when you take into account our SE tester comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard. As for cargo space, the SportWagen offers 30.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats (7.6 cubic feet larger than the standard Golf) and 66.5 cubic feet when folded (13 cubic feet larger than the Golf). To give you some idea of the space on offer, I was able to fit a desk from Ikea that measured 53.5 inches long with no issues.

    On the technology front, all Golf SportWagens feature a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Volkswagen’s Car-Net infotainment system. This is one of our favorite systems thanks to an easy to understand interface, buttons around the screen to take you to the various parts, and fast performance. The only item we would like to see Volkswagen address is the screen. The matte finish on it sucks some of the color and brightness. Any 2016 Volkswagen fitted with the Car-Net infotainment system will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Being an iPhone person, I tried out the CarPlay integration and find it to be one of the best implementations. It only takes a few seconds for the system to detect the phone before bringing up the CarPlay interface. Apps launched quickly and showed no signs of slowdown or crashing.

    At the present moment, the Golf SportWagen is only available with a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a five-speed manual (only available on the S) or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. The 2.0L TDI four-cylinder is currently on probation due to the diesel emission scandal. The 1.8T is one our favorite engines as you never feel wanting for power. Torque arrives at low 1,600 rpm which allows the Golf SportWagen to leap away from a stop. More impressive is engine responding with power in an instant if you need to make a pass or merge onto the freeway. We wish we could say the same of the DSG transmission. As we noted in our quick drive of the Passat V6, the DSG doesn’t like low-speed maneuvers as it exhibits signs of hesitation and lurching. At higher speeds, the transmission is lightning fast with shifts.

    EPA fuel economy figures for the Golf SportWagen stand at 25 City/35 Highway/29 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 28 mpg.

    Ride and handling characteristics for the Golf SportWagen can be described as balanced. The suspension provides a well-damped ride over rough roads. In the corners, body motions are kept in check and the wagon feels very agile. The steering provides a decent amount of weight and feel that will please most drivers. One area where the Golf SportWagen truly shines is in noise isolation. Barely any wind and road noise makes inside the cabin, making it a perfect long-distance companion. 

    The 2016 Golf SportWagen kicks off at $21,625 for the base S. Our midlevel SE tester starts at $27,025 and comes with keyless entry, push-button start, leatherette upholstery, Fender audio system, and 17-inch alloy wheels. We had the optional driver assistance (adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, park distance control, and park assist) and lighting (bi-xenon headlights that can swivel when the steering wheel is turned and LED daytime running lights) packages that brings our as-tested price to $30,335. We think the SE with the driver assistance package is the sweet spot for Golf SportWagen as you get most everything you need.

    The dark cloud of the diesel emission scandal still lingers over Volkswagen. Whether or not the company can turn back their fortunes in the U.S. remains to be seen. But if I was Volkswagen, I would be putting the likes of the Golf SportWagen in the spotlight. Yes, it is one of the vehicles affected in the diesel emission mess. But take the diesel out of the equation for a moment and you still have a strong vehicle. From increased practicality for both passengers and cargo to the right balance of comfort and support in the ride, the Golf SportWagen is an interesting alternative to growing segment of compact crossovers. 

    Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf SportWagen, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2016
    Make: Volkswagen
    Model: Golf SportWagen
    Trim: SE
    Engine: Turbocharged 1.8L TSI DOHC Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
    Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4,500
    Torque @ RPM: 199 @ 1,600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/29
    Curb Weight: 3,120 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
    Base Price: $27,025
    As Tested Price: $30,335 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)

    Driver Assistance Package - $1,495.00
    Lighting Package - $995.00


      Report Article
    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    User Feedback

    No diesel, no go.  Really a shame as the third design, like my car (the 2015's E288, the 2015 only engine) was very close to meeting the limits without the cheat. But the 1.8T and 2.0T motors only offer so so reliability, and they are not putting the DSG in some models.  manual is going to be a five speed only.


    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead


  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. §carlet §wordfish
      §carlet §wordfish
      (27 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen of America Reports November 2016 Sales Results
      Dec 1, 2016
      November sales totaled 29,672 units, an increase of 24.2 percent over November 2015 Tiguan sales totaled 4,516 units, an increase of 15.6 percent over November 2015 Passat sales totaled 6,441 units, an increase of 133.5 percent over November 2015 Golf SportWagen sales (which includes the  all-new Alltrack) totaled 2,174 units, an increase of 246 percent over November 2015 Herndon, VA — (December 1, 2016) Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) today reported sales of 29,672 units delivered in November 2016. Sales of the Golf SportWagen, which include the all-new Alltrack, increased by more than 200% over November 2015.
      November 2016 Sales
        November 16
      November 15
      Yr/Yr% change
      November  16
      November  15
      Golf R
      Golf SportWagen
      Total Golf Family
      Jetta Sedan
      Jetta SportWagen       
      (now Golf SportWagen)
      Total Jetta
      Beetle Coupe
      Beetle Convertible
      Total Beetle
      *Eos production ended in July 2015
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen and U.S. Government were going to have a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco today for an update on the 3.0L TDI talks. But yesterday, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has pushed it back to next month.
      Reuters got their hands on a court order in which Breyer says "negotiations are continuing between the German automaker, regulators, and lawyers representing owners," and a delay "may produce a resolution of the outstanding issues."
      As we reported earlier this month, Volkswagen and regulators have possibly reached a deal for the 3.0L TDI with 60,000 of the affected vehicles being fixed, and the other 20,000 being bought back. There are still a number of issues that need to be worked out, hence the delay.
      Source: Reuters

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen and U.S. Government were going to have a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco today for an update on the 3.0L TDI talks. But yesterday, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has pushed it back to next month.
      Reuters got their hands on a court order in which Breyer says "negotiations are continuing between the German automaker, regulators, and lawyers representing owners," and a delay "may produce a resolution of the outstanding issues."
      As we reported earlier this month, Volkswagen and regulators have possibly reached a deal for the 3.0L TDI with 60,000 of the affected vehicles being fixed, and the other 20,000 being bought back. There are still a number of issues that need to be worked out, hence the delay.
      Source: Reuters
    • By William Maley
      When I go back and look at the various Kia Optimas I have driven for Cheers & Gears, there has been one variant that I haven’t driven, the 2.0L turbo-four. But this changed back over the summer when a 2016 Kia Optima SXL came into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit bureau for a week-long evaluation. The SXL serves as the Optima’s flagship trim with more premium materials and the turbo-four.
      As I mentioned in my Optima EX review from earlier this year, the redesigned Optima looks familiar to the previous model. But that isn’t a bad thing per say. It is still as sharp looking as the previous model and the changes done such as a new trunk lid, LED taillights, a smaller grille, and reshaped headlights. The SXL takes it a step further with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, Turbo badging on the fender vents, and a little bit more chrome. Finished in a dark blue, the Optima SXL is damn good looking midsize sedan. You won’t find many differences in the SXL’s interior compared to other Optima’s. The key one is the seats being wrapped Nappa leather with a quilted pattern. If I am being honest, I can’t really tell difference between the Nappa leather and the standard leather used on other Kia models.  But what I can tell the difference with is the materials used in the SXL’s interior. Kia swaps the soft-touch plastic used on the dash and door panels for stitched leatherette. This is to give the impression that you’re in something more expensive and it works very well. The Optima SXL’s backseat is slightly tighter than the one found in the Optima EX. Why? The SXL comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard, which eats into headroom. Let’s talk about the engine. The SXL features a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to fully wake up and you can’t help but wonder where is the power. At first, I thought this new 2.0L developed a bad case of turbo-lag. But I soon realized that it was a lazy throttle that was causing this issue. This is something we have been noticing in recent Hyundai and Kia models equipped with the turbo engine. Once you get over the lazy throttle, the engine moves the Optima with some authority. Merging onto a freeway or making a pass is no problem as the turbo quickly spools up and gives the necessary thrust. It doesn’t hurt the engine is very refined. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/32 Highway/25 Combined. I achieved a not too shabby 26.1 mpg average for the week. One of my biggest complaints about the last Optima I drove was the uncomfortable ride. The tuning on the EX model let in more bumps and road imperfections inside than what I was expecting. To my surprise, the SXL featured a more comfortable ride. Despite featuring larger wheels, the SXL was able to iron out most bumps and imperfections. I can’t explain why there is a vast difference in terms of ride quality between the two trims at this time. The SXL does retain the sharp handling that we liked in the Optima EX. Body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a nice heft when turning. Some will lament that the steering doesn’t have the same feel as something like the Mazda6, but this has to be Kia’s best effort yet.  The Optima SXL begins at $35,790 and that includes every option available on the Optima as standard equipment - 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, surround view camera system, and much more. Some might balk at the price. But considering what the SXL brings to the table, along with its improved ride quality, it is very much worth the price. Plus, you might be able to work out a deal to where you’ll be able to cut the price. We’ve seen dealers cutting about $2,000 to $4,000 off Optima SXLs in an effort improve sales of the midsize sedan. Who knows, you might be able to get one of best equipped and decent driving midsize sedans at a surprising price. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima SXL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Kia
      Model: Optima
      Trim: SXL
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/32/25
      Curb Weight: 3,594 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
      Base Price: $35,790
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online