2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T S

A performance wagon feisty with horsepower
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
April 9, 2017 Updated: April 9, 2017

This VW Golf wagon is a performance wagon. The performance credential is bolstered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four TSI engine with direct injection and inter cooler. This turbo-four is capable of thrusting the Golf SportWagen forward with a maximum of 170 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. 

Gear change on the test vehicle was carried out through a five-speed manual transmission for purist enjoyment, but I would recommend the six-speed DSG automatic transmission with the Tiptronic with Sport mode for $1,000 more. I didn’t like wrestling the five-speed standard, whose clutch is as skittish as a new colt.

The SportWagen comes with four-wheel independent suspension and Servotronic electro-mechanic power steering. Its agility and versatility, plus its grip on the road with poise and clarity, make it a blast to drive.

The SportWagen has a high level of street smarts as well as open country savvy.

The EPA fuel economy rating is 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with the five-speed manual. My drive test beat the 28 mpg combined average by 2 mpg. Opting for the automatic transmission shaves the highway mileage by 1 mpg.

The SportWagen can be optioned with something called 4Motion All-Wheel Drive, which helps you navigate a variety of non-ideal road conditions. When the system senses that one or more wheels are slipping, it can route more torque to the wheels with traction for improved grip. This provides handy peace of mind on bad terrains.

The 15-inch Lyon wheels with all-season tires can be seen beneath the headlights with daytime running lights. The rear spoiler and black roof rack top off everything else. The SportWagen has a spirit that prepares for travel.

Inside, there is comfort with room aplenty. The maximum cargo volume of 66.5 cubic feet is ready to haul a great deal of luggage. Just fold down the 60/40-split rear seats and start loading.

The interior of the 2017 Golf SportWagen. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)
The interior of the 2017 Golf SportWagen. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

The leather-trimmed steering wheel, handbrake lever, and shift knob accentuate the cloth sport seat surface, while the front and rear reading lights and illuminated mirrors establish the base for the interior. At the same time, the Composition Media infotainment system, with AM/FM/CD player plus a 6.5-inch touchscreen that also serves as a rear-view camera display, provides safety and entertainment venues. Smartphone integration with compatible devices is provided through App-Connect, which covers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, power door locks, and cruise control are all standard items. Surprisingly, all of these features and amenities are found in a vehicle with a base price of less than $21,000.

The SportWagen has a high level of street smarts as well as open-country savvy. This practical vehicle is as gentle as a pony with the work ethics of a mule.

SportWagen is dressed quite nicely with a closet filled with ensembles like cruise control, a rear-window washer and wiper system, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

You will sit in comfort in the SportWagen as you cruise city streets inside the cool cabin and with an engine that can respond cat-like in speed according to your pleasure. Country lanes beckon as you travel to that favorite fishing hole or picnic grounds.

Did I mention that the SportWagen is under $21,000?

Length: 179.6″
Width: 70.8″
Height: 58.3″
Wheelbase: 103.5″

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or at dcaussey@sbcglobal.net