Ace of Base: 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
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.
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.
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- Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
- Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
- Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
- Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
- ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂
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.
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.