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One Fun Wagon: 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Test Drive

Small, spacious and ready to take on your road trip needs, the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE is a great way to get into the wagon game.

A far cry from the behemoths of old that used to roll atop our streets, the Sportwagen instead provides a comfortable and usable cabin along with great fuel economy. It’s also fun to drive and compact, making it perfect for those who live in urban areas.

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE Exterior

There’s something about driving a vehicle that’s comfortable in its own skin that’s simply wonderful. Think of the Sportwagen as the car that ten years from now will still look good. Its lines are classic and handsome, while at the same time, not trying to prove it’s something it’s not. Up front, the short front end houses sealed projector beam headlamps with LED surrounds, upper and lower horizontal grilles, and just enough chrome to keep your eyes moving. Covered in Silk Blue Metallic paint and wearing 17×7-inch alloys running 225/45-series all-season tires, our tester seemed to get better looking the longer we viewed it.

Body-colored painted mirrors with embedded turn signals, blacked-out roof rails and trim along with a nicely integrated rear spoiler also help to give the Sportwagen an air of fun. The rear also continued to impress with subtle badging, a very useful rear wiper and a nicely stylized chrome treatment that was incorporated into the lower rear valance. As a package, the Sportwagen SE is very understated and positioned at those wanting to fly a bit under the radar.

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE Interior

The thing about most any Volkswagen interior is that from their most inexpensive, to their most expensive model, there’s always an air of quality when it comes to the cabins. Shying away from superfluous features or add-ons, VW instead focuses on quality materials and constructing a cabin that’s comfortable, useful, and at the same time, ergonomically correct. To begin, clear analog gauges, easy to operate HVAC controls and an intuitive 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen proves that simplicity is key when it comes to designing a great interior.

Leatherette-covered seats offer a nice combination of manual and electronic adjustability along with heat and excellent lumbar and lateral support. The leather-wrapped steering wheel comes adorned with inset controls that allow access to the center dash readout for things like the media system, cruise control, onboard trip computer, and fuel economy readings. Large analog gauges are also clearly visible and VW has even seen fit to include a variety of painted plastics throughout the cabin.

The interior is also quiet, there’s plenty of leg, shoulder, and headroom and to top it off, the Sportwagen offers up to 66.5 cubic-feet of storage space with the 60/40-rear seats folded flat. Our tester also came equipped with an electronic panoramic moonroof that helped to give the interior an open and airy feel. A high-lift tailgate also helps to provide access to the rear storage compartment. Other nice touches are the 110v inverter, a standard 12v outlet, and get this, a usable spare tire that’s stored underneath the carpeted floor panel.

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE Performance

With front-wheel drive and a new 1.4L turbocharged 16v four-cylinder with direct injection, the Sportwagen provides more driving pleasure than you’d have thought capable from 148 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, acceleration is brisk with the engine revving freely to its 6,000-rpm redline. The sprint to 60 mph comes up in an estimated 7.5 seconds, with 80-mph cruising being a non-issue. Passing power from 50 mph was also authoritative — just don’t go thinking that you’re going to win any races and you’ll be in good shape.

As with most front-wheel-drive vehicles, the Sportwagen did exhibit a little front-end understeer, but only when pushed. However on back roads and when driven briskly, the suspension was more than compliant. The brakes themselves were also quite good, providing panic-free stops. As a highway cruiser, range was impressive with the Sportwagen generating an EPA rated 27 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in combined driving.*

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE Safety

With a 5-Star Safety Rating from the NHTSA (National Highway Safety Administration), the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE ensures that you and your occupants are in good hands. Features like anti-lock brakes, airbags, a standard backup camera, automatic post-collision braking, and an integrated safety cage, mean perspective consumers can drive with confidence.

Additional safety features can be seen over at

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen SE Overall

With a base price of $29,995 and an “as-tested” price of $30,890,** the 2019 Golf Sportwagen SE falls right in line with the competition. Not only does it provide understated good looks and performance, but its build quality ranks right up there with some of the best we’ve tested in the segment. Therefore, those looking for a nicely appointed and competent compact wagon should definitely give the little Golf a look.

Drop by your local your local AutoNation Volkswagen dealer today to check one out!

*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.

**Vehicle MSRP of $30,890.00 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.

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