Bought a new fully loaded diesel sportwagen. First and foremost: This car is MUCH faster than its HP suggests. The diesel pulls effortlessly and is very quiet. The gas engine is good, but this engine is something I've never experienced before and I come from a 2015 GTI (this is our second VW). The panoramic sunroof makes it feel like your car is almost a convertible. Diesel is so fuel-efficient it is crazy. I was afraid of the UREA scrub, but its like adding windshield washer fluid - so simple. The reason I was so drawn to VW in the first place - it feels MUCH more expensive than its price tag suggests and has a soul to it. Its not boring like the cute 'ute competition.
I've been driving gas and diesel VWs for 35 years, with my previous ride being a 312k mile 2002 Jetta TDI that's never had a major problem and still runs great, but time to move on. I considered a Passat, but bigger than I needed and drove like a large car, meh styling. I'd considered the now discontinued Jetta Sportwagen, but it had the lesser version of the TDI, blob styling, and just couldn't get excited. This new Golf Sportwagen snuck up on me, going from being unaware of it to in my garage in about two weeks.
Even though the Golf has historically been positioned as their low end model series, in recent years it has enjoyed a rep as their performance series, with classic VW Euro handling, more sporty everything, and even higher end interiors.
I really wanted a snappy handling car like my old Jetta and previous GTI, so as stated above the Golf series is the closest you can get in their line-up. This thing handles much better than a Passat, if not quite my older VWs. The S version has only 16" wheels, but my experience is that is good enough with good rubber.
The engine is strong, but with some different characteristics than my 2002 TDI, which was chipped. My 02 leaped off the line with tremendous out of the gate acceleration, whereas this car doesn't as much, despite having lots more power and torque. Once underway it accelerates quite strongly for passing, even in top gear. I haven?t climbed any long, steep grades yet, but my older TDI could effortlessly do it in top gear and I?m expecting this will as well. These high torque diesels are much less affected by grades or loads than gassers.
The seats have the usual great contours and support of years past, much better than the Passat. One problem is the center console is the widest I've ever had, and I normally drive with my leg flopped to the right, and it presses into the console edge, which is uncomfortable. I'm trying to adjust my seating habits a bit. Also, getting in and out isn't as smooth as previous models, and it seems the door frame is a little further forward relative to the seat, the roof line at the door being a bit lower despite plenty of headroom, and there is a pronounced hump on the underside of the steering column. All in all, I need to scrunch up a bit to get in and out cleanly, but once in the car fits like a glove.
The backup camera comes on instantly, unlike previous model years which had a lengthy delay. The entertainment system in older models is slow to respond to anything, and this year they?ve totally fixed all that with a new system.
People have complemented my interior and VW has made improvements in most of their models interiors after taking heat in recent years. This Golf looks quite high end. With multiple extremely high mileage VWs in my family, not one has ever had a crack, tear, or any other failure of cloth, velour, or vinyl seating, and from the looks of it I expect the trend to continue. The exterior lines and styling make the best of the wagon body style. If it?s possible to get excited about a wagon, this car is it. It actually looks a bit sporty.
The doors and trunk shut like safe doors as in previous VWs, solidness competing Asian cars don't have. Everything about the construction of the car exudes quality. This one was Mexican made, but so were my last two VWs with over 600k miles between them with no major repairs or even body noises or rattles.
The stereo is a pleasant surprise, not as good as the awesome one in my 02, but solid. It sounds like it needs more amp and better tweeters, with some distortion at moderately high levels that doesn?t sound like a speaker problem. I understand, but cannot verify, that the difference between this and the Fender system in the SEL is an amp and subwoofer. These speakers put out deep, solid bass at medium volume, but the amp runs out quickly.
The whole electronics package is a big improvement over previous years, and I really like it. I wish they put in real USB, a common gripe, and the connector you plug their adapter cord into is recessed, and the cord has a stiff right angle connection that is tough to insert (don?t think of doing it while driving), and then only a foot long, which doesn?t give me much flexibility with my iPod. Luckily, once it synchs with the car you can do everything through the stereo that you can on the iPod, and easier. Adapters for other devices are available on eBay for $13 ? don?t pay VW?s crazy prices.
Every gas or diesel VW I?ve owned has beaten its EPA highway mileage in everyday driving. Tons of people have reported upper forties and fifties in the larger Passat automatic, so this in entirely believable. VW has always been conservative in their ratings. My first tank was 43.5mpg in mixed driving, and everyone says these newer TDIs just keep getting better as they break in.
So, this doesn?t have quite the light tossability of my old VWs, but is a car that you can do some serious driving in.
Have owned the car 5 weeks and driven 2200 miles. I really like it, but certainly feel conflicted because of the VW emissions scandal. Traded in an Accord which was nice, but pretty boring. Sportwagen is fun to drive, very responsive and quiet on the road, even at high speed. Getting around 46 mpg (nearly all hwy). Excellent visibility and very easy to get in and out of. We opted for the SEL due to better seats and dual climate. I have a back issue and I would rate the seat comfort at 9 out of 10. A little more lower support would be perfect for me. The ride is firm but well tuned and is better than the Accord. The low profile tires no doubt contribute to the firm ride but the handling is great. Love the engine and DSG trans which shifts well. When you step on the gas, the car has no problem getting you up to speed. Everything remains to be seen after the emissions recall.
I enjoy driving. I've owed several cars, 4 VW's over 30 years, never a diesel. Last was a 2004 Jetta that I thought was the greatest. Recently I was seriously considering a 2015 Mazda3 5-door. Then I decided I had better go drive a couple VW's before buying anything. Drove a new Golf TSI and thought it was incredible. Then I drove this TDI Sportwagen. What a great car! I had never driven a TDI before. After test driving around town and on the highway, I had to have it.
I opted for the TDI wagon, but I certainly would have been thrilled to drive away in any manual Golf. Didn't try any automatic transmissions. The response of the TDI feels wonderful, it's a great engine. Add MPG's and it was the obvious choice for me. I couldn't be happier with this car.
UPDATE: OK, the diesel thing was announced a month after I bought this thing. I think VW is making the best cars in this range. I don't know if anything comes close to how much car I got for the money. I do t want to surrender this car, and I don't think I'll have to, but I've never owned a better car and I plan on driving this one forever (as I also know I may not be able to get another one).