Ace of Base: 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Our man Steph Willems chronicled the state of the station wagon in America a couple of days ago, reporting that longroofs (longrooves?) amounted to less than 2 percent of the new vehicle market in 2018 despite a 29 percent sales increase compared to five years earlier.

VW Group is doing its part, offering both the pricey A4 Allroad and the bargain Golf SportWagen shown here. The latter is a case of getting more for less, as the wagon is priced $160 less than its hatchback fraternal brother, despite having more horsepower and more cabin room.

And, oh yeah, it’s still available with a manual transmission.

Under its German motorhaube is a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four, making 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. This is the same amount of twist produced by the base Golf’s 1.4L turbo but with 23 extra ponies in its stable. A five-speed manual is standard equipment, with the six-speed Tiptronic-branded automatic an $1,100 option.

Anyone reading this in the snow belt region (it is falling thick and heavy outside your author’s window, by the way) will appreciate the inclusions of heated mirrors and washer nozzles on this base VW. The latter is a particularly handy feature after a good dumping of the white stuff has clogged the jets like my arteries after a good feed of deep-fried fish and chips. The base Golf does not include such a luxury.

VW chooses to wrap the steering wheel and gearshift knob in leather, a nice feature on these touch points inside the car. Seats are cloth, as you’d expect, available in a choice of colors. Bluetooth and a rear-view camera are standard in just about everything these days, and ze Germans finally saw fit to put a USB port in this car. Danke schön.

Compared to the Golf hatchback, the wagon – sorry, wagen – has roughly the same passenger volume, at 93.5 and 94.3 cubes respectively. In fact, front seat passengers will notice no difference at all in terms of legroom and only a 0.2-inch bump in headroom. It is the cargo area where the longroof shines, trumping its brother by 7.6 to offer 30.4 cubic feet of space. A/C and power windows are present.

The base SportWagen is priced at $21,685 compared to the base Golf at $21,845. Those seeking all-wheel drive should consider the 4Motion wagon at $23,935 rather than the jacked-up Alltrack which costs $25,955 unless they’re completely addicted to needless body cladding. Save for der neue Jetta, everything in today’s VW showroom costs over $20k.

[Images: VW]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Darex Darex on Jan 10, 2019

    Want a manual Sportwagen, but don't want to play VW's unreasonable packaging restriction games? Get a MINI Clubman, configure it any way you like, and opt for the 6-speed manual, which can be had with every trim, including with AWD. The Clubman's more reliable than any VW anyway.

  • Yurpean Yurpean on Jan 11, 2019

    In case someone is still reading this thread, you can get any VW except the Golf R at $500 below invoice if you are a SCCA member ($65 per year). No haggling, just print out the certificate and buy the car.

    • Walked48 Walked48 on Jan 16, 2019

      I just bought an AOB, 2018 VW Golf SportwagEn S Auto. It's perfect for me and it was a good deal in my opinion: MSRP was $24k Sale price before tt&l was $16.8k PS. I negotiated a best price of $17.2k then they subtracted $500 after that for the SCCA discount to end up with $16.8k. I signed up for SCCA while in the salesman's office. :)

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