Are you looking for a budget-friendly wagon? The 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen delivers. It offers the space and practicality of a small SUV or crossover and has the nimble handling and great fuel efficiency of a small vehicle. And it won’t pack a wallop to your wallet with one of the lowest starting prices among wagons.
The five-passenger SportWagen joined the Golf lineup in 2015. Previously it was known as a Jetta. For 2017, Volkswagen’s all-wheel-drive 4Motion system is available on the S trim and all models get a standard rearview camera.
The Golf SportWagen is available in S, SE and SEL trims. Starting prices range from $21,580 to $29,970. There’s also a performance version of the SportWagen, the Alltrack, with standard all-wheel-drive and off-roading features with starting prices ranging from $26,950 to $32,890.
The 2017 Golf SportWagen is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard while a six-speed automatic is available.
You may notice a bit of turbo lag off the line but otherwise the SportWagen is quick and nimble. Steering is tight so it’s fun to drive on twisty backroads and easy to maneuver into small parking spaces. The ride is fairly firm but still comfortable.
The Golf SportWagen has excellent fuel efficiency for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with a combined rating of 25 mpg. I got 26 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The front-wheel-drive models with automatic transmission get 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.
The interior is upscale for the price point. Materials have a nice look and feel. Both rows of seating are supportive with good leg- and headroom. But rear seats are positioned low which may make it difficult for some passengers to get their legs comfortable.
All SportWagens come standard with rearview camera, cruise control, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB port, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.
Options include push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a Fender premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, and several driver assistance technologies including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, active parallel park assist, and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
There’s plenty of room to haul cargo. The golf SportWagen boasts 30.4 cubic feet of storage behind the back seats, expanding to 66.5 cubes with the rear seats folded. That beats most wagons and is similar to the room you’d find on many compact SUVs. There’s also an compartment under the floor which is nice for keeping items out of view.
Reliability is below average with a J.D. Power predicted Reliability rating of 2.5.
One of the lowest starting prices among wagons
Peppy performance, tight steering
Attractive interior with upscale materials
Lots of room for cargo
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard
The not so good:
Below average reliability
Rear seats are positioned low
The 2017 Golf SportWagen is a great blend of small car and compact crossover, with peppy handling, comfy ride, excellent fuel efficiency and lots of room for cargo. And it will make your wallet happy with one of the lowest starting prices in this segment.
My tester starts at $24,930. Delivery fee is $820 bringing the grand total to $25,750.