2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL assessment notes: the auto-journo particular

All the pieces we love; too dangerous it’s not brown

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: As with the opposite MQB platform-based mostly Golfs I’ve pushed, this is a superb small automobile. The diesel runs a couple of $3K premium over a gasoline Golf wagon, and the SEL is the most costly trim degree with customary stuff equivalent to touchscreen nav, twin-zone local weather management, sunroof, rear digital camera, ambient lighting and so forth. A base Golf diesel wagon runs about 24 grand and alter, a very good worth in my view.

All of the Golfs I’ve pushed not too long ago really feel extra mature now, extra refined. The wagon seems higher in particular person than in photographs, and the category-cat inside is Audi-like by way of construct high quality/match and end. Can’t consider one other small automobile’s inside within the ballpark.

I like this engine/trans mixture. The clutch operates completely for my tastes. There’s sufficient poke (above 3K rpm) and I routinely returned nearly forty mpg round city. No, it’s not a rocket. However as I mentioned above, at three,000/three,500 rpm it goes nicely and the diesel doesn’t make numerous diesely racket. In addition to, I’m unsure this automobile is about an thrilling driving expertise however extra about practicality and effectivity.

The general driving expertise is refined, refined, refined. It feels strong and planted in any respect speeds. The chassis is stiff and the suspension soaks up nasty roads with out the physique rolling round. It makes for a rock-stable freeway cruiser, one which drives quieter, and feels larger and extra luxurious out on the freeway. Eighty mph all day isn’t any drawback — steady, steady, steady. Like a German.

This diesel wagon is a yet one more instance of the entire new Golf line’s large leap ahead — it’s extra refined and extra enjoyable. VW gross sales are up about 6,800 automobiles and SUVs up to now this yr, whereas Golf gross sales have almost tripled — and deservedly so. Combining good experience/dealing with with practicality, good construct high quality and forty-plus mpg makes a winner in my e-book. That is merely a effective automotive.

Photo: 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL Photo 1

The six-velocity handbook transmission is commonplace. Picture by Volkswagen

 

DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Ah, previous buddies. We owned a Jetta (nee Golf) SportWagen TDI with a stick shift for a couple of years, and dropping into this 2015 mannequin immediately introduced again reminiscences (not the least of which is how a lot totally different freshly cleaned press automobiles in July look vs. day by day drivers in January).

These reminiscences are each good and detached — we by no means had a nasty expertise with our SportWagen TDI, however there are nuances and sacrifices that stay on the newest mannequin. Initially, and the rationale we now not personal ours, is that, regardless of the wagon configuration, it is a small automobile. After I’m ready that permits me to comfortably work the clutch, there’s little or no rear-seat legroom and my knee rests in opposition to the uncomfortable arduous plastic middle console. Shoulder room is tight with adults on board, and the cargo area, whereas it does have longroof flexibility, isn’t going to impress an Escape or CR-V proprietor.

The SportWagen additionally does with out tools frequent on a lot inexpensive compacts: You gained’t discover blind-spot help, cross-site visitors alert or an influence tailgate even on this premium mannequin, although I used to be happy to see VW lastly added a rearview digicam. VW has said they will be upgrading the know-how on many fashions beginning subsequent yr.

I’m unsure how Wes obtained forty-plus mpg shifting above three,000 rpm — there’s no magic at that finish of the tach on this or some other diesel; in truth, one in every of my favourite issues about this powertrain is that you just by no means want to move north of two,000 revs to drive in nearly any type of state of affairs wanting excessive-velocity expressway cruising. Comply with VW’s shift ideas and also you’ll be altering gears at about 1,750 rpm with completely ample acceleration, and there’s no sense of lugging the engine. I ended up with a wonderful 36.6 mpg common in purely metropolis driving.

I loved revisiting the VW SportWagen TDI, even when I don’t miss the one I owned; the most recent mannequin is a nicely-made, partaking compact wagon and a good way to introduce of us to the diesel expertise.

Photo: 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL Photo 3

SEL trims have 18-inch alloy wheels. Photograph by Volkswagen

 

ROAD TEST EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: This wagon isn’t excellent, by any means, nevertheless it does reinforce the truth that virtually nobody wants a real SUV.

First off, there’s a ton of area on this automobile. Certainly, 4 adults may match for a street journey. I picked up a king-dimension blow-up mattress and a giant flooring jack with none issues. And like the blokes above mentioned, the inside may be very good, and visibility is nice. The one factor that angered me is the iPod interface. Simply put a USB slot in there please. I discovered an iPhone four adapter within the glove field, which is of no use. We’re on 6, guys; everybody else has a USB port, get it collectively. Oh, and my knee rests on the arduous plastic of heart console and bought somewhat sore after 50 or so miles.

As anticipated, energy from the diesel is punchy and greater than enough, although I did rev it far past 1,750 rpm. In actual fact, that’s when issues begin to get fascinating, after the turbo spools up. You’ll by no means actually need for energy on this factor, until you’re brief shifting or rolling out from a cease in second gear. It’ll simply cross on the expressway although, with out shifting out of sixth gear. I did stall it twice, each whereas rolling, which is unusual. I shortly stabbed the beginning button and saved on my approach.

Clutch effort is simple, as is pedal effort. I used to be caught in site visitors for 20 minutes or so and by no means felt fatigued. There’s quantity of house on your left foot to relaxation, and the brakes appeared grippy proper from the highest of the stroke.

VW steering is healthier than most, and this wagon is not any totally different. It’s really extra enjoyable to drive than plenty of sedans, most of them Japanese. The wheel is slightly too skinny for my liking, however steering is direct sufficient to make it semi-fulfilling. The suspension was one other story. There’s one thing occurring, I assumed it was within the entrance. After the preliminary influence from a pothole, there’s like a reverberation by the cabin that lasts for longer than anticipated. It’s not tremendous harsh, however I may really feel it in my kidneys.

The SportWagen seems about as cool as a grocery getter can. In the event you have been trying on the entrance from a low vantage level, you’d be excused for pondering it’s a Golf. By the way in which, this automotive is a complete auto-journalist unicorn. Wagon, test. Guide, examine. Diesel, test. If it was brown, it might in all probability be stolen.

Photo: 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL Photo 8

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL has a 2.zero-liter turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine. Photograph by Volkswagen

 

ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: Wow! A handbook diesel wagon! If the oldsters at VW had been fishing for adoration, that is primo bait. It may be type of a automobile-author cliché, however the SportWagen ticks nearly each field possible (save for the RWD one), which is sufficient to make it essentially the most all-round wise car I’ve been on this summer season.

At $32,855, it’s not insultingly costly, both. As Andy notes, it’s lacking some more and more prevalent security options, and Jake is spot-on concerning the outdated, proprietary VW cellphone/media connection setup, however past that I can’t consider something the Golf SportWagen lacked that I might have needed.

So what’s it truly prefer to drive and dwell with for a short time after all of the hype?

Fairly nice, really.

I scored the SportWagen for a weekend tenting journey, and regardless of my inartful loading (I kind of simply folded down the seats and chucked every thing within the again), it had no drawback carrying a great deal of gear, 4 or 5 bundles of firewood, and so on. I used to be stunned to find that, regardless of a ten-inch size benefit over the Golf hatchback, the wagon rides on the identical wheelbase. Not a shocker — you possibly can do far worse than to go away the MK7’s Golf underpinnings kind of unchanged — but it surely’s a great indication of how a lot house you appear to realize by going with the longroof.

Although I’ve heard it recommended that the turbodiesel/handbook/wagon mixture is sweet for theoretically infinite gasoline economic system, I solely managed a paltry forty one.forty one mpg. That was with an excellent mixture of metropolis, expressway and gravel-highway driving, all of the whereas loaded to the gills.

Like Wes mentioned, dieseliness was saved to a minimal. The one occasions you’d know you have been driving an oil-burner is when beginning it up and getting it going — the engine feels considerably course at very low rpm, though a few of that will have been a symptom of a clutch that was, at first, difficult to grasp. And, in fact, you’ll discover on the pump.

As a lot as I loved my style of the wagon life-style, I received’t faux that that is the top-all be-all of household-haulers. The fact is that it’s nonetheless a two-row that’s not all that a lot larger than the Golf upon which it’s based mostly. In case you want a 3rd row, you’ll haven’t any alternative however to upsize to a minivan or an SUV. However in case you’re reasonable about your wants, and for those who don’t end up toting across the total soccer group frequently (or ever – it’s merely not doable on this factor), then it’s value cautious consideration.

Photo: 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL Photo 2

The SportWagen has a cavernous trunk that’s in step with these of compact SUVs. Photograph by Volkswagen

 

Choices: Lighting Package deal ($995), Driver Help Package deal ($695), night time blue metallic exterior (No Cost), quartz grey leatherette inside (No Cost), six-pace guide transmission (No Cost)

 

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