Looking for something that can haul a bunch of things but don't want a crossover SUV? You'll probably like the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. It offers familiar Golf goodness, such as a premium cabin and high fuel economy, but with a cavernous cargo space.
The formula is simple: Turn the Golf into a wagon by adding a foot of length to the Golf hatchback's cargo area and get more space in return. The result is 66.5 cubic feet of space to carry stuff when you fold the rear seats, which is the kind of space typically offered by compact crossover SUVs (the Ford Escape, for example, offers 68.1 cubic feet). Factor in the Golf's efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine, available all-wheel drive (a new addition this year) and premium interior, and you've got an excellent choice for the crossover-averse or anyone who just prefers the sleeker look of a wagon.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen comes in three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. All versions have a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (170 horsepower, 199 pound-feet of torque). On the S, you can get either a six-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission (184 lb-ft of torque with the manual). Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive (called 4Motion) is optional for the S trim level. Note that the all-wheel-drive models come with a different automatic transmission, a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox called DSG in Volkswagen-speak.
Standard feature highlights include 15-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable and heated side mirrors, roof rails, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, front seats with manual adjustment and power recline, 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through and a 115-volt outlet in the cargo area. Also standard are a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Bluetooth, VW's Car-Net App-Connect smartphone integration and Car-Net Security & Service telematics, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base audio system includes eight speakers, a CD player, satellite and HD radio, and auxiliary audio, USB and SD card inputs.
The all-wheel-drive S trim is the same but has 16-inch wheels and heated front seats.
Moving up to the SE gets you automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, imitation-leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats and a Fender Premium audio system (adds a subwoofer and upgraded sound). The SE offers an optional Driver Assistance package, which is a good idea to get if safety is a priority for you. It bundles adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The top-level SEL builds on SE features with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, a navigation system and the features from the SE's Driver Assistance package. The SEL's optional Driver Assistance and Lighting package adds adaptive xenon headlights that swivel in the direction of the car's turn, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and an automated parking system (parallel and perpendicular parking assist).
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.