This such a great SUV alternative that drives like a dream. Plastic underbelly when combined with low ground clearance must be noted. It’s a bad thing but easily remedied with a solid aftermarket add on such as the Panzer Plate. Interior is at the cusp of Euro simplicity and luxury. Dig this vehicle.
This is a follow up review. I've owned this car for a somewhat over a month now. I mostly want to report on fuel economy. One of the big knocks on the 2.5L motor is that it is thirsty for it's class. The first tank I calculated I got 24mpg in 70/30 city/highway. Which is the EPA estimate for city. This was driving in full manual mode on the auto and let's say..."spirited" driving. 2nd tank I put in regular drive mode and with same commute & little tamer driving, I got 28. Last tank, with no hypermiling, just no full throttle sprints and driving speed limit I got almost 29mpg. Pretty impressive.
My only complaint is the audio system is pretty lame. It lacks the modern features like bluetooth, etc, though I really don't care. My beef is it sounds a bit harsh in the midrange even at moderate volumes. Oh well, it is a base model. If I gave it a knock on ride comfort, this car has factory upgrade 18" wheels. The low profile tires definitely help with handling, but do increase noise and cabin impact. If you want a cushy ride...stick with higher profile tires. I like the trade off myself.
This might be one of the best 'do it all cars' out there for a very reasonable sum. Looks good, above average interior quality, supurb front seat comfort, sporty handling and fairly quick when pushed. Overall, favorite car I've ever driven, and there's been a few. Accords, BMW3's, Audi A4s among them. Sure some of them were better at some things, but not as good in total.
Don't understand why anyone who needs utility and doesn't go off road would choose an SUV or even worse...IMHO a crossover.
So far no reliability issues in 1K mi. I realize that with German cars you have to be pretty fastidious with following maintenance. They are not 'drive and forget'.
Ok, this is my follow up review after 14 months and now 63K on the clock
I LOVE this car. Every time I see it or drive it it makes me smile, and what's better than that? Zero problems after 14 months, other than the inside hatch release is a bit wonky. (apparently a somewhat common issue, though cheap to fix) I think VW got a bad quality rep when they first started building cars in Mexico, but once they got to the MK5's (2009) I think they took care of that problem. I baby it when the engine is cold, but other than that, I drive it pretty hard, just because it's so much fun. As stated earlier, the fit and finish, especially of the interior are in a league with luxury cars. The much maligned Tiptronic transmission shifts just fine in manumatic or sport mode. In std D, it is programmed more toward economy. The front seats are super comfortable but firm and supportive for spirited driving. The ride is quite firm and maybe harsh for some, but this particular car as 18" wheels with performance tires. But the handling is superb, especially for what is essentially an econo box. Yeah, the rear seats are a bit tight, but is a compact car. But plenty of cargo room, although you can't haul a sheet of plywood....even half sheet as the hatch opening is too narrow. Yes, the maintenance cost are higher than a Japanese or US car but I can live with it. I did give it a poor review for expected resale value, as VW has taken a beating due to the TDI scandal, and most people in the US don't want a wagon anyway. It doesn't have all the latest tech, but it is a 2012. Yep, the sound system still blows and I wish VW had offered the 2.0T for all years, along with a limited slip diff. But, the 2.5 is supposed to be the most reliable engine and the tiptoe tranny doesn't require those expensive 40K flushes. I still haven't installed the sport suspension (just haven't had time) Even if I take a beating on resale (though I'll probably own this until it's completely worn out) I think this car is an outstanding value. Plus there simply is no other affordable US market wagon, that is a real car and not a fake SUV. However, after talking to some people on VWvortex, I do realize that those folks who live in snow country do want a high ground clearance/all wheel drive vehicle......hence the new Alltrak. (We get cold here, but not a lot of snow.
I'm sold on VW, despite the scandal , and some past quality problems. I'm generally not forgiving of corporate malfeasance, but I respect quality engineering and design. If I had the money would I drive something else? A MK7 Sportwagon SE or if a lot more money a MK7 Golf R.
Ok now I'm at 67K miles. Still not a single problem. I still love driving it. I am a fanatic about upkeep. I have done all the recommended fluid and filter flushes, inc tranny and brakes. I upgraded brakes to Optimal brand e-coated rotors and EBC Red (street/performance) pads, even though shop that installed said stock brakes were fine. I think the brake feel is much improved by the pads and the 'hat's on stock were rusty. The new ones look much nicer. I did not go with drilled or slotted as too expensive. This is a great car and hell of a bargain.
Now have 67K miles. So far zero issues. I did trans and brake fluid flush and changed out brake pads and rotors to higher performance version. Not needed, but I really like the brake feel. I drive it pretty hard. Favorite car ever. Had 2.5 years and still love it. Yes I wish it had the 2.0 T motor for more power, it has enough to make it fun. VW's are reliable cars. But, as said. before, you must maintain and the cost are somewhat high. But that is a fair trade off to me for an enjoyable driving experience. 6 model years old and it looks and drives like a brand new car. If you want to drive and forget.....go Toyota, but if you want a fun daily driver....get a VW. (If you really want to hammer it....turn off traction control......seems counter intuitive, but it pulls harder, especially out of corners) While I still have not installed sport suspension.....this car is just stupid fun to drive considering the cost and the segment. I don't think anything can touch. (Maybe an Mazda 3...maybe)
I just picked this up from the dealer. Dunno anything about reliability or milage yet. But this car exceeds my high expectations. In fact I expected so much I bought it without ever driving one. Sounds crazy, but the first time I ever drove one was one the trip home from the dealer. Handling was much better than I expected. The pro review says not sports car like but nimble. Well I used to drive a BMW 325CSi with sport suspension and on a twisty road I tried, this doesn't give up a lot, even with all season tires. Sure a little body roll, but at the expense of comfort. Honestly the roll was less than expected. I thought going in I'd want to upgrade suspension. It does have upgrade 18" wheels. A lot of carping on the net about the 2.5L with the tiptronic tranny, but for an old guy like me it's quite adequate with the tranny in sport mode anyway. I wanted a wagon. I hate SUV's and Crossovers, but I have a lot of stuff to haul for my business. And there's really no other choice. I can't afford BMW, MB or Volvo. Suburb insist on making theirs look like a fake SUV and their interiors are junky looking. The fit, finish and interior quality of the car is first rate. The seats comfort is superb. Buying experience was first rate too. Dealer was actually a pleasure to work with and gave me the first deal if ever felt good about.
VW rep may be tarnished due to the TDI scandal, but they really do produce unique and quality products. I really think is an Audi the working stiff can afford. Now if it only holds up..........
Well after 6 months, not a single problem. While the 2.5L engine is adequate, I do wish VW offered the 2.0 Turbo. However this does have plenty of midrange torque and the mileage is better than expected. If I drive sensible I can get nearly 29mpg in mixed city/hwy. I still can't believe how well it handles., but not one to leave well enough alone, I have ordered VW factory sport springs and Koni Sport shocks. I think the best thing I can say about it, is if it were wrecked or stolen, I'd immediately get another.
If I had to nit pick on one thing, the sound system is not all that great, but it is a base model car.
Its now May and car has nearly 64K miles. So far not a single problem. Favorite car I've ever owned.
Now November, only a few more miles (approaching 66K.....have very short commute) Still, not a single issue, however I do all the required maintenance. Oil, filters, trans fluid and even brake fluid flush. Put on Goodyear Eagle F1 tires and made the car even more fun to drive. Better grip and a more comfortable ride. Used to think the 18" wheels made it a bit harsh, but it was a tire issue (came w/ Fierce Instinct.....and entry level 'performance A/S tire) I also upgraded to aftermarket rotors (Optimal) and EBC red stuff pads. Really nice improvement in initial bite and easier to modulate. Still haven't installed sport suspension. Other than a few rock chips and a bit of curb rash on one wheel, the car still looks essentially brand new.
Maybe, I'm just lucky, but I'm convinced that they key reliability in this or any German car, is to do the required service. Yes, that makes them a bit pricer to own than say a Toyota. But sure a lot more fun.