Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen OVERVIEW
If there could be a car that represented a basic mode of transportation yet was smartly equipped and efficient in many ways, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen could certainly be it. Available with a thrifty engine, plenty of space, available all-wheel drive, and modern active safety equipment, the Golf Sportwagen ticks the right boxes for a small car.
What's New for 2018
For 2018, the Golf SportWagen receives new touchscreen displays for the infotainment system, updated front and rear styling, and new alloy wheels.
Choosing Your Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
The Golf SportWagen carries the torch for wagons at Volkswagen while the very similar Golf Alltrack handles the fight against the more rugged looking crossover types. The SportWagen’s straightforward styling means there’s no surprises but there are many impressive details such as the restyled LED taillight cluster and added chrome trim along the lower parts of the bumpers and on the grille.
All trims are powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque (184 lb-ft when mated to the manual transmission).
Front-wheel drive models are offered with a five-speed manual – the mileage champ with an EPA estimated 34 miles per gallon highway – and a six-speed automatic. VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is only available on the base S, trim where a six-speed manual is standard and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is offered for $1,100.
The mid-level SE and top tier SEL trims only feature front-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission layout. This setup achieves 24 mpg city, 33 highway, and 28 combined.
Aside from accessories and the S' 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, Volkswagen doesn't offer any extras for the Golf Sportwagen. Buying is as easy as picking a trim, an interior and exterior color, and driving off the lot.
The Golf SportWagen prioritizes practicality over styling and functionality over frills. The S with 4Motion and manual transmission fully embraces this mantra. But it's the SE trim, with its basic level of active safety equipment and today’s expected level of tech, that will be the most suitable offering for the majority of drivers.
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