2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Review

Pros & Cons

  • Cargo capacity on par with compact crossovers
  • upscale interior
  • responsive and fuel-efficient engine
  • sophisticated ride
  • good value.Notably, we picked the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
  • All-wheel drive not offered
  • inconsistent automatic transmission shifts during low-speed driving.
Other years
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen for Sale
List Price Range
$11,499 - $13,984

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen provides familiar Golf goodness along with a cavernous cargo area. It's a compelling alternative to similarly priced crossovers.

Vehicle overview

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf is one of our favorite compact cars, but it isn't for everyone. Hatchbacks like the Golf are losing ground to the rapidly expanding small crossover class, due in no small part to their larger cargo areas. Of course, the natural downside to these bigger vehicles is additional weight and a higher center of gravity. If you want the best of both worlds, it's worth considering one of the very few wagons left on the market. Of these, it's hard to beat the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

If you are shopping for a small wagon, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is one of your only choices.

Adding a foot to the length of the Golf's cargo area increases available space behind the back row by 33 percent, with the overall area behind the front seats expanding by 26 percent. In raw numbers, that's 30.4 cubic feet in the SportWagen vs. 22.8 in the Golf with the rear seats up, and 66.5 cubes vs. 52.7 with the seats folded (for reference, the Ford Escape provides 34.3 and 68.1 cubes, respectively). The SportWagen is a genuine match for small crossovers in this regard.

The SportWagen also one-ups the Golf in terms of equipment. The new 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on all trims, while a panoramic sunroof comes on SE and SEL versions. Otherwise, the SportWagen is a Golf through and through, and that means it's driven by a powerful turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that provides ample propulsion and decent fuel economy. The cabin is attractive in a way that is understated but never boring.

If you need more cargo capacity but don't need the extra heft of a crossover, there are a few other options. The 2016 Subaru Outback is a reasonably priced alternative, with plenty of cargo space, a raised ride height and all-wheel drive (a feature notably absent from the SportWagen). Then there's the 2016 Toyota Prius V and 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid. Both offer impressive hauling capabilities and fuel economy thanks to hybrid powertrains, but they are slow and unrewarding to drive.

2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen models

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is offered with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL. The TDI diesel engine is on hiatus until Volkswagen issues a fix to the emissions system.

The 1.8T S starts with 15-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, black roof rails, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories anda tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. Also standard are height-adjustable manual front seats with power recline, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a cooled glovebox, 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through, hill-hold assist, VW's Car-Net emergency telematics system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface. The base audio system has eight speakers, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.

The 1.8T SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated windshield-washer nozzles, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a 115-volt power outlet, heated front seats and a nine-speaker Fender audio system.

Going with the 1.8T SEL gets you 18-inch wheels, silver roof rails, LED interior ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, sport front seats with a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar) and a navigation system.

The TDI S gets 16-inch alloy wheels and keyless entry and ignition as standard, but the TDI trims otherwise have the same standard equipment as their 1.8T counterparts.

All 2016 SportWagens come with a new touchscreen, but only the SEL has navigation.

All SE and SEL trims offer two options packages. The Lighting package adds xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights that shine through turns, and interior ambient lighting. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning and mitigation system, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system, blind-spot monitoring and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

2016 Highlights

A rearview camera is now standard across the board. The S trim loses leatherette upholstery, which is now standard on the SE. A new 6.5-inch-touchscreen supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink functionality, and a USB input replaces the MDI port. New features are included in the Driver Assistance option package, including blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen employs a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower. With the base five-speed manual transmission (1.8T S only), it's good for 184 pound-feet of torque, but when equipped with the optional six-speed automatic, the torque number jumps to 199 lb-ft. According to the EPA, the 1.8T returns 29 mpg in combined driving with either transmission.


Standard safety features on the 2016 VW Golf SportWagen include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is a post-collision braking system that automatically applies the brakes after an impact to lower the chances of a secondary crash. As noted above, the optional Driver Assistance package (SE and SEL only) adds front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning and mitigation system, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system and a blind-spot monitor.

The standard VW Car-Net emergency telematics system includes automatic crash notification, an SOS button for roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (permitting parents to set electronic limits for young drivers). The Car-Net app lets you control some of these features from your smartphone, and it also grants access to various vehicle status indicators (fuel level, odometer reading, service schedule, etc.).


The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is blessed with a refined 1.8T engine that never feels like it is deficient in the power department. Peak torque arrives very early in the rev range (at just 1,600 rpm), so the SportWagen is rarely more than a downshift away from a decisive passing maneuver. The only blemish for the otherwise exceptional powertrain is occasional laziness from the automatic transmission in low-speed situations.

Despite its name, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen isn't really sporty to drive.

On time-worn pavement, the rigidity of the Golf SportWagen's structure shines through, as the ride is controlled yet supple, with little harshness to speak of. If you've driven a regular Golf, you'll notice the extra foot of length when you're parallel parking, but the SportWagen remains small enough to be an asset in tight urban spaces. It's also an unusually confident high-speed cruiser, so it's great for long trips. Pressed on a winding country road, the SportWagen demonstrates only modest handling talent. It generally fails to make good on the "Sport" part of its name, but overall we like the way this VW drives.


Inside, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is identical to the regular Golf hatchback, which means it has one of the nicest cabins in this price range. Most of the buttons and switches are sensibly arranged and easy to understand at a glance. Thankfully, the new, larger 6.5-inch touchscreen interface also brought with it a standard USB connection in place of VW's "MDI" electronics port that required a proprietary cable. We also like that a panoramic sunroof comes standard on all but the base S trim.

As in the regular Golf, the SportWagen's standard front seats provide firm support over both short and long distances. Both front seats offer height adjustability, so front passengers won't feel like second-class citizens. Rear seat space is quite generous for a small car, but the SportWagen's relatively low rear cushions deprive tall riders of under-thigh support; most crossovers have a distinct advantage here with their higher seat bottoms.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2nd VW
TSI SE 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Great car ! Writing review after owning it for a month. Bought in SF Bay Area. Superb ride quality, excellent visibility and top notch fit and finish. Plenty of cargo space. Definite looker like its cousin Audi A4 wagon. Drives as a German car for sure, responsive, very easy to drive and rock solid feel. Not yet rated for 2016, but based on 2015 Golf safety ratings from last year, most likely a top IIHS safety pick and 5 star NHTSA safety rating since no change to body structure. Couple of cons to keep in mind - noticeable Turbo lag at the start from 6 speed transmission but brilliant at highway speeds, pretty much point and shoot at 4, 5 and 6th speeds. No power seats for SE. Come on VW, that is lame. All in all a versatile, safe, nimble car for young families that is a blast to drive. If you are shopping for a mid range car (the usual Fords, Hondas, Toyotas or Subarus), this is a must test drive car. Better yet, test drive this right after your top choice from other brands, before you decide. You don't have to drive a crossover for added cargo space and worry about rollover later.
3 Months and Still In Love
Don Thomson,02/08/2016
TSI S 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Granted, options are limited for the wagon enthusiasts out there, but I'm really loving this car. A lot. I of course did my homework and drove several cars (Civic, Accord, Mazda 3, and others) before driving the Sportwagen. Like the reviews elsewhere have noted, it's a drivers car; crisp handling, reasonable acceleration, solid as a rock, and very quiet on the inside. That this combination of subtly surprising performance is cloaked in a wagon's exterior makes it all the more awesome. It does seem to search for the right gear at low speeds (<15 mph), but it find it's groove quickly thereafter. The 1.8 turbo is nicely suited to the car and it never feels under-powered. The seats are also very comfortable, front and back. The resolution of the 5" audio display/back-up camera is a little low, but it's about the only gripe I have about the car. We also have a Subaru Forester, and we find ourselves driving the Sportwagen whenever we can, even on longer trips, as it's a much more comfortable (and fun) ride. We find that the cargo area actually holds more of our stuff than does the Subie. The cargo area is deeper (though not taller) than the Forester, and 4 of our travel suitcases fit perfectly in the back. You routinely feel like you're driving a much more expensive car, and I am deeply and smugly satisfied with it. 2 year update: Still liking the car a lot. A few issues with the electronics/radio, but they were small and easily fixed. Had to replace a simple relay switch in the shifting column because it was signaling a transmission error (no issue with the transmission), but it was under warranty. There was also a recall on a seal in the fuel tank which was repaired without cost. Still a really fun car to drive. Rattles are minimal and fuel economy is as stated. I'd recommend the car for sure.
Way Too Many Electrical Problems
TSI Limited Edition 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Our 2016 Golf Sportwagen is a lovely vehicle - good performance, decent mileage, great cargo and convenience. If only it would run. Over three years, we've had five major electrical failures on this vehicle. Three times, the car has simply died, leaving us stranded. We've replaced keys because it says the key isn't in range of the vehicle. Twice, the battery has drained completely with the car seemingly possessed, rotating through a series of electrical glitches while parked - lights on, lights off, wipers on, wipers off, faults and warning chimes - until it's dead. One time, the electronic ignition button failed, making it impossible to start or turn off the car. And then, there was the LED instrument cluster de-laminating and failing. VW is at a loss as to how to fix this, and when they have (in the case of the failing instrument cluster), they made a hash of it, with multiple appointments to fix the problems - even though we told them exactly what the problems were. In the case of the instrument cluster, we had to return three times before they finally replaced it, and then the repair was done badly, leaving gaps in the dash and cluster due to poor installation. In addition, the radio/info system has begun to glitch intermittently. Beyond electrical problems, the car also has the worst city MPG of any VW we have ever owned (this is our fifth). City milage is a rather dismal 22 mpg, though highway is very good at 35-37 mpg. We have also experienced a recurring issue with the tires "grinding" against the alloy wheel rims, producing a constant variable interior and exterior rubbing sound that makes it sound like the car has bad bearings. VW has remounted the tires three times and are baffled by the noise. We bought this GOLF Sportwagen to replace the TDI we turned in in the dieselgate debacle, and now wish we had abandoned VW and opted for another brand of car. This will be our last VW.
The best value , real sport and a wagon !
TSI S 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
I bought it without even test driving, I had a a 2012 Golf TD six manual that I sold, and previous a A3 hatchback, this 2016 is the best ever made by VW, solid, sport and all the room for you travel ! I pass on Subaru , nothing come close for price and quality like the new 2016 Sportwagen, for the price and what the standard rear camera,XM radio, manual is a must for me, there is nothing in the market that come close. Love to drive, people that want to go from point A to B look for a Honda or Toyota, boring but good I guess, I had those before. From the unique steering wheel, dash configuration, gearbox smooth, confort seats, the cargo space ? no wagon or some SUV comes close. Torque and city driving is great, if you like to drive manual like me, need the extra cargo space, fun to drive..do not look further .

Features & Specs

25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
25 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
See all Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover13.4%

More about the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Overview

The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is offered in the following submodels: Golf SportWagen Wagon. Available styles include TSI Limited Edition 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), TSI SE 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and TSI SEL 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TSI S is priced between $11,499 and$12,513 with odometer readings between 45660 and59050 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TSI SE is priced between $11,800 and$13,984 with odometer readings between 36809 and49289 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TSI Limited Edition is priced between $12,885 and$12,885 with odometer readings between 61839 and61839 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagens are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2016 Golf SportWagens listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,499 and mileage as low as 36809 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

Can't find a used 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagens you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Golf SportWagen for sale - 6 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,113.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 8 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $11,200.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Golf SportWagen for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $11,288.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $20,851.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Golf SportWagen lease specials