Functionality Meets Personality in Volkswagen SportWagen: First Drive

Wagons are a unique part of the American automobile experience. In the '50s and '60s, the humble station wagon was a viable alternative to cross-country air travel. However, now that planes have become ubiquitous and air travel cheaper than it once was, the family station wagon has been excised from most of the American consciousness. That means that most manufacturers have moved on to develop either urban-oriented compact utility vehicles, or sedans with a larger interior space. But Volkswagen, fortunately, still has a deep love for the unassuming family wagon and is bringing out an all-new version that will hopefully reignite the passion within the American populace. RELATED: Watch the Volkswagen Golf R Take on San Diego Canyons And this is it, the SportWagen. After the company first brought out the Passat wagon, then the Jetta wagon up until this year, Volkswagen is finally bringing a bit more room to everyone’s favorite hot hatch, the Golf. And for all Volkswagen’s troubles, wagon ownership has seen a small revival within the automotive enthusiast category. Wagons have developed a cult following, and VW’s newest Golf Sportwagen will definitely continue the trend. As you first come up to the new SportWagen, you aren’t really struck by anything except that the entire car looks just like a slightly elongated Golf. And that’s a good thing since the new Golf is quite handsome. The wagon tail just adds to the overall drama of the car. It looks sleeker in profile, where as the standard Golf looks a bit more stocky. RELATED: See Photos of the Volkswagen Polo Rally Car The SportWagen, while having a tad prettier exterior than the regular Golf, could use a bit more menace to truly accentuate the curves and lines. Dropping the ride height would certainly help this small issue, but possibly just giving it the 19-inch rims that are available on the Golf R could solve the issue without sacrificing ride height or feel. Or they could just build a SportWagen Golf R because why not? Speaking on the overall feel, the new SportWagen seems just as dynamic as the bone stock Golf. Although, out of the two possible drivetrains — diesel and gasoline — the diesel motor doesn't feel as refined as the gas engine, which has to be my only problem with the entire car.  The MQB platform remains one of the best chassis that’s been fit on any small car in the last decade. It provides excellent steering feel, less sway in the body, and a compliant ride that won’t shatter your bones as you head out for a long road trip. The ride quality in combination with the comfortable leather seats make the experience all that more pleasant. It's all boosted by a quality interior. RELATED: See Photos of the High-Powered Volkswagen Golf R Equipped with all the standard features on the normal Golf, the Sportwagen is a wonderful place to be stuck in traffic. Between the Fender Acoustics sound system, and the soft touch plastics that surround the driver, the interior quality is superior to many within the Sportwagen’s price range. For instance, you could get a manual Sportwagen with a few options for less than the price of new Chrysler 200. And the Sportwagen is definitely the better buy. You're getting a better interior, more space throughout, and better mpg— why not get the wagon? The Golf SportWagen not only retains its sibling’s great driving dynamics, but also increases the everyday usability of the car. Volkswagen gave the Golf more space with the Sportwagen, which means its able to accommodate more things in the rear for long hauls. The Golf Sportwagen is the freedom to once again explore the United States with your family without the hassle of airplanes or airports. The SportWagen gets back to the roots of American driving, and is the perfect vehicle to reignite the road trip. Specs: Engine: 1.8L Gasoline or a 2.0L TDI Horsepower: 140-170 horsepower Torque: 199-236lb-ft of torque Price: Starts at $21,395 Pros: More space than a standard Golf Great ride quality Cheaper than its competitors, but miles better in quality Cons: No 4Motion AWD, at the moment No GTI or R variants Diesel is sluggish ____________________________________ Click Here to Read the Original Article on BoldRide