If you want a vehicle that can haul a lot of cargo and yet fit into an average-size parking spot, a small crossover SUV is the obvious solution — but what if you don't want to drive an SUV? Volkswagen has the answer: The 2017 Golf Sportwagen. This nifty little wagon offers about as much cargo space as a compact SUV, and yet it's only a foot longer than a standard Volkswagen Golf. Plus it has all the attributes that have made the Golf one of the world's favorite cars.
It starts in the cabin. Visibility is excellent, and so are the ergonomics. The dash design is simple, straightforward and easy to use, and high-quality materials give the Sportwagen a premium vibe and feel. Cargo space is, as we've said, excellent: The Golf Sportwagen provides 30.4 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats in place and 66.5 cubic feet when you fold them down. Roof rails are standard on all models should you want to go vertical.
All 2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagens are powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine found in several of Volkswagen's cars. With 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, this engine delivers all the power the Sportwagen needs. For 2017, VW has also added all-wheel drive as an option, so the Sportwagen can deliver the same foul-weather traction as an SUV. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 29 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway) for the front-drive automatic down to 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway) for the all-wheel-drive model.
Volkswagen sells the Sportwagen in three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. The S is decently equipped, getting you features such as 15-inch wheels, a rearview camera, a touchscreen infotainment display, smartphone integration an eight-speaker sound system. Moving up to the SE gets you automatic wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, leatherette upholstery, power front seats and a Fender Premium audio system. When you pick the top SEL, you also get 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, a navigation system and a suite of advanced driver safety systems, including forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking. A few extra safety features are also available as options on the SEL.
Although crossover SUVs will always be more popular, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen is just the thing for the right kind of shopper. Use Edmunds to help you find the perfect one.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.