By on August 21, 2016

Golf SportWagen Exterior

If you go through Volkswagen’s historical model catalogue, you’ll notice many occurrences of the exact same model sporting unique names in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

For example, Volkswagen marketed the last-generation Jetta Wagon in the United States as the Golf Wagon in Canada beginning in 2010. Roll ahead to present day, Volkswagen has called its Golf SportWagen (U.S.) the Golf Sportwagon in Canada since 2015.

Thankfully, that’s about to change.

According to Volkswagen Canada representative Thomas Tetzlaff, the Canadian outpost will drop the Sportwagon name in favor of the name used in the United States — SportWagen.

“That’s the name and we like it!” Tetzlaff exclaimed in an email to TTAC.

The name change goes into effect for the 2017 model year, the same year Volkswagen welcomes the Alltrack trim to the SportWagen family.

There have been few differences between the models Volkswagen offers in the United States versus what it offers in Canada. Recently, Volkswagen offered “City” versions of its Golf and Jetta in Canada, which were slightly refreshed versions of previous-generation models sold at bargain-basement prices. Volkswagen did not offer those vehicles in the United States.

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35 Comments on “Volkswagen Golf Wagon Getting Yet Another Name Change in Canada...”

  • avatar

    I see quite a lot of these wagens here in Calgary these days. I tried one out myself but it was just a bit small for what we need (which is a size upgrade on the Volvo v50).

    For those us who refuse to drive a crossover, I wish they brought back the Passat wagons… there’s really no such thing as an affordable mid-size wagon anymore…you either have something smaller like the Golf or V60, or you have to jump up in price to the luxury category ( ie. E Class or XC70). A Passat (or better yet Accord!) wagon for the everyman would be great.

  • avatar

    Interesting. “SportWagen” is a strange name for a wagon: it means “sports car”, literally.

    In Europe, or at least Germany, all Volkswagen wagons since the 1500 Type 3 from 1962 were called “Variant”. Also, the Passat and Golf were always called that since their introduction in 1974. But we have our name-change-prone model too: the Jetta III was called the Vento, and the Jetta IV the Bora. There even were Golf Variant and Bora Variant available at the same time, identical except for front end sheetmetal and grille.

  • avatar

    Aparently VW management has little to do these days but fuss around with name changes.

    • 0 avatar

      I know, if they concentrated more on suitable product for our market, rather than changing the names of what they do offer, they’d be better off.

      Look at their bread-and-butter small hatch in North America:

      “Rabbit. No, now its Golf. Oops, back to Rabbit. Wait! Golf again. My bad!”


    • 0 avatar

      I think many of the execs would like to change their own names in order to escape a trip to the pokey.

      Go directly TDI jail, do not Passat go, do not collect 200 Euros.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Because they can only do one thing at a time?

  • avatar

    To be fair, the Golf Wagon did get the Golf front end when it changed names from Jetta wagon to Golf wagon.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    Sportwagon? Does it come in Antarctic Blue with the CB and optional rally fun pack?

  • avatar

    Golf, then Rabbit, then Golf, then Rabbit, then Golf Wagon, then dieselgate, then finally who-gives-a-shit? VW go home!

  • avatar

    enough money to paint the building, but not enough to clean and replace the windows? classic VW.

    • 0 avatar

      What can it cost to rename the thing? The name is not even written on the car, or is it? So it’s not much more than a search&replace in the DTP document for the brochure.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Nope. Sure doesn’t. The back of my Golf SportWagen just says Golf. Likewise, the back of my Jetta SportWagen said Jetta. The costs will be in the documentation (owners manuals, brochures, etc) and what it says on your insurance card.

  • avatar

    Saying “I own a Volkswagen SportWagen” seems silly, and the capital W does not follow either German or English standard usage.

    But I guess saying “I own a Mazda Mazda3” also sounds ridiculous. Unless of course you also give your name in the movie tradition of “Bond, James Bond.”

    • 0 avatar

      Must be the trademarks for Mazda. A 3 a 5 a 6 are BMWs. Audi has numbers too but with an A. Must be why Mazda mazda3.

      This is interesting. Is it corporate simplification, or a new reading of cultural similarities bet US and Canada? Perhaps the German angle in naming is suddenly deemed appealing in Canada too by vw marketing.

      • 0 avatar

        Numbered and lettered cars seem boring (at least to me), and they have another problem: not enough numbers and letters to go around, what with the multitude of car makers these days. Hence names — which always hold the risk of accidentally meaning something in a foreign language that one wouldn’t really want to name one’s car.

        I think that Volkswagen’s original names — Golf in Europe, Rabbit in America, Jetta everywhere — were fine. I see the renamings as desperate tries to suggest “this is something totally different than its predecessor”, which in all those examples — Rabbit/Golf/Rabbit/Golf, Jetta/Vento/Bora/Jetta, and also to a lesser extent Fox/Quantum/Passat — was just plain lying.

        Just like naming the NMS sedan the Passat for America, to divert from the fact that it’s a different, bigger, cheaper car than the Euro one. (The NCS Jetta is also sold in Europe, so that’s less dishonest — the Jetta has just “grown away from the Golf”, if you will. Of course, no-one buys ’em here.)

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          What was really interesting was the Mk.5/Mk.6 Jetta wagon. By the time it was brought to the U.S. in MY2009, the Mk.5 Jetta sedan was within its last couple of model years.

          Of course, the wagon was always called a Golf elsewhere, including Canada. But during the Mk.5 days, the Golf/Rabbit, Jetta and Jetta Wagon were very obviously versions of the same car. So it didn’t matter too much.

          In 2010, the Golf got it’s Mk.6 redesign, technically a revamp of the Mk.5, but with important improvements to the structure. Since it *was* a Golf everywhere else, VW went ahead and put the dashboard, electronics and front clip from the Mk.6 Golf onto the Jetta SportWagen. That is why 2009 Jetta SportWagens look a certain way, and 2010-2014 Jetta SportWagens look a different way. Of course, the Jetta SportWagen never got those structural upgrades, and so it definitely was still a Mk.5/Mk.6 vehicle all the way to its demise in 2014.

          By 2011, when the Jetta was redesigned for its own Mk.6 version, it looked completely apart from the wagon. And when they released this new one, it very obviously was a Golf and not a Jetta. So, I applaud the name change. Besides, here in the ‘States, the Golf nameplate has a stronger pull among enthusiasts who would buy the wagon. For a lot of people—and this isn’t necessarily me—Jetta equals “ditzy sorority girl”, while Golf equals “someone who actually cares about his/her car.”

          Prior to the Golf SportWagen, I had a 2014 Jetta SportWagen. My mother came over one day and remarked on the white 2011 Jetta sedan that the neighbor kid drove, asking if his car was newer than mine. The obvious reason for that is because it clearly was a newer design, more angular and creased, even if the car itself was older. I told her, “yes and no.”

          • 0 avatar

            The Golf V wagon was late everywhere, because initially they didn’t think they’d need it in the lineup, what with the Golf Plus. (Golf-sized high-roof compact. Don’t know if you got that one in America. Today called the Golf Sportsvan over here.)

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s why I usually either say VW Golf SportWagen or just Golf SportWagen. Even the most car-inept people seem to know that a Golf is a Volkswagen.

      My favorite line among golf players: “I don’t play golf; I drive one.”

    • 0 avatar

      I just call it a Jetta wagon if I take it somewhere for work. Much simpler than saying I own a Volkswagon Jetta Sportwagen.

    • 0 avatar

      Guess they’re out to be the Wagenmeisters.

  • avatar

    Deck chairs.


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’d rather they just call it the Golf Estate. Sounds more dignified and upscale than the wagon-wagon alliteration of the current name, looks better in print, it’s already called this in the UK, and dealers/owners will just call it a “Golf wagon” anyway.

    Consulting fee, please….

  • avatar

    It would be nice if Mr. Tetzlaff [formerly Mr. TDI of VW Canada] would send an email to the 10,000 suffering Canadian TDI owners waiting for some kind of positive response from this company. People in Canada are fed up with VW regardless of what they call their cars.

  • avatar

    Especially in the NA market, VW likes to create a lot of fanfare around their “German Engineering”. Aside from being cheesy and obnoxious, it’s disingenuous at a time when VW is actively cheapening and de-contenting their lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      VW has managed to debase the idea of “German Engineering”.

      Its really a multi-pronged attack. They flanked what “German Engineering” supposedly stood for by cheating on emissions, and the poor reliability has been a frontal assault on what “German Engineering” was supposed to stand for.

      Pisses me off, especially since I’m an American software engineer with a German surname. Don’t fsck with my heritage, VW!

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