2019 Volkswagen Golf Wagon
It’s not often that you can call a station wagon “fun,” but it’s a different story when that wagon is wearing a VW badge. The German automaker’s two extended-length Golf offerings, the SportWagen and the Alltrack, offer a hard-to-find combination of utility (especially when equipped with all-wheel drive), abundant cargo space, interior quality and comfort, and the driving dynamics of a European car.
The standard Golf hatchback is already spacious, so imagine the additional room that the wagon versions of the Golf provide – especially the larger SportWagen. Like all VWs, they are covered by the People First Warranty, for 6 years/72,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage. This warranty is fully transferable to a new owner, should you ever decide to part with your Golf wagon.
Power and Performance
The wagons share a powerplant, although not quite across all trim levels. That shared engine, a 1.8-liter turbocharged (TSI) four-cylinder, makes 170 horsepower and 199 lb.-ft. of torque and comes on the S with 4MOTION trim of the SportWagen and all trims of the Alltrack. The trims that depart from this engine are the base S and top-tier SE of the SportWagen, which get a 1.4-liter turbocharged 147 hp four-cylinder. The German carmakers have held on to manual transmissions longer than most. As such the SportWagen and Alltrack are both offered in a choice of six-speed stick or dual-clutch TipTronic automatic ($1,100 more), except for the most expensive SportWagen trim, the SE.
But how else do they differ? As the name implies, the Alltrack is made to travel on more varied surfaces than a typical station wagon. It’s more of a low-riding SUV than a car, with its standard 4MOTION all-wheel drive, exterior cladding for added ruggedness, extra ground clearance, and offroad-ready suspension. It also tacks on an Offroad mode to its driving selector, in addition to the Eco and Sport modes found on the others in the Golf family. With all of this additional capability and equipment, the Alltrack’s starting MSRP is $5,000 more than the SportWagen’s.
For fuel economy, these well-equipped wagons get into the 30s on the highway, with the lighter and lower SportWagen’s base trim achieving EPA ratings of 27 mpg around town and 36 on the open road. Add 4MOTION AWD and those numbers dip a little, to 22 city/31 highway. According to the EPA, all three versions of the heavier and higher Alltrack get 21 city miles per gallon and 30 highway miles per gallon.
Volkswagen structures its standard equipment in a way that’s typical of the German manufacturers, with a small number of trims. In the case of the Golf wagons, two sets of options are bundled into Appearance and Driver Assistance packages that can be added to eligible lower trims but are included standard on the highest trim level of each car. This is why, aside from the standard backup camera, the Golf SportWagen only adds advanced driver-assist features (lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitor, front assist, and adaptive headlights) to its top trim level, the SE. The higher-cost Alltrack is equipped a little more generously, with a blind spot monitor and front assist on the base S.