2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Review

Golf SportWagen

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2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Overview

If you’re a fan of station wagons, you can thank Volkswagen for keeping this segment moving along. The Golf SportWagen, which dates back to 2015, is an affordable option, and it’s a good one at that. The 2019 Golf SportWagen carries over mostly unchanged, though there are a couple significant updates.

The Golf SportWagen is a longer-wheelbase version of the Golf hatchback, attractive in the same way: perky, distinctively European, and eager to please. The top-end SE trim level gets new standard alloy wheels and LED headlights this year, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell from a distance.

The SportWagen’s three available trims are the S, S 4Motion, and SE, slightly reshuffled from 2018. The S 4Motion is all-wheel drive (AWD) and retains last year’s engine, a turbocharged 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder rated for 168 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. This engine gets either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission. The S and SE trims, both front-wheel drive (FWD), get a new engine borrowed from the redesigned Jetta: a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder with 147 hp and 184 lb-ft. Transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. EPA fuel-economy ratings for the manual sit at 29 mpg city, 37 highway, and 32 combined. Expect the automatic to return 27, 36, and 31.

The SportWagen’s cabin is spacious and comfortable, elegant but practical. The driver-oriented cockpit makes the experience pleasant. Standard features include a multi-function leather-trimmed steering wheel, a leather-trimmed handbrake, and a leather-trimmed shifter knob. The SE trim adds keyless entry and push-button start.

There are two options for infotainment systems. S and S 4Motion trims feature a 6.5-inch touchscreen, an 8-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a reversing camera. The SE model gets an upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen that adds HD Radio and satellite radio.

The 2019 SportWagen has not been tested by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2018 model received mostly Good scores from IIHS. Standard safety features include post-collision braking, which will apply the brakes to minimize damage after impact and available features on the S and S 4Motion include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. For 2019, the SE adds standard adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane-keep assist. The SE trim also gets the VW Car-Net system, which offers services like curfew alert and boundary alert.

It’s fine to admit that you don’t actually need or want a crossover, and it’s also fine to need more space than afforded by a typical sedan or hatchback. If you find yourself needing more space than afforded by a typical sedan, but you're unwilling to get a crossover, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a great choice.


Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She is eagerly awaiting delivery of a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, which will join her household's 2008 Toyota RAV4, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, and 2015 Honda Grom.

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Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Questions

Ground Clearance

what is the ground clearance on the SportWagen S? Is it the same on the AWD version?