Test Drive: 2017 VW Golf SportWagen 4motion

Ohhh, forgot about the test drives. Still to come, the Subaru Forester (2017) and Chevrolet Colorado (2016 w/”TrailBlazer” package) (oh, and the Ford F150 I wrote and once again forgot to post). However, we also looked at the 2017 VW Golf SportWagen TSI 4motion. And most of what I would have said is here, in The Truth About Cars review of the 2017 VW Golf SportWagen TSI 4motion: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/01/2017-volkswagen-golf-sportwagen-4motion-review/ at least in terms of the mechanical. Canada (TTAC’s writer is in Ohio for this review) gets the full spread of options on the 4motion SportWagen.

I also forgot to take pictures. I’m not good at this.

What I’ll add is this:

Given the price I was quoted, I would have bought this car. The deal was spectacular, considering the feature list (Trendline, if you want to look it up on the VW.ca webpage). Better than a base Forester, and nearly $13,000 less than the currently-leading-the-pack Honda Ridgeline Sport. I may yet buy this car, a year or two down the road, as my own daily driver, as the Genesis becomes less and less a day-to-day car. I really really like it.

However, Janine doesn’t. She felt the roofline was somewhat encroaching on her. That’s due, I think, in large part, that she’s used to the 2005 Forester’s soaring roofline and nearly vertical windshield – even in the Genesis Coupe, it’s not as pronounced because you sit down into the ‘coupe, rather than onto the Golf and Forester. I think she’d get used to it, and would be fine if it was “once in a while” (ie. My daily driver, and her having something else) but the vehicle we buy now is going to be primarily hers, so she’s gotta love it. And she doesn’t.

She also noted the sideview mirrors were pretty small. Again, I didn’t notice this, but I adapt pretty quickly.

What I loved? It’s a CAR, not an SUV. But it’s got all the space. Holy god, does it ever. And, the TSI 1.8L Turbo is no slouch, especially attached to the 6spd dualclutch transmission. It’s a fantastic combination as a driver. Seating position, comfort of the seats, etc, all typically German – excellent, and driver-centric. Visibility is great, too – it’s a wagon.

Indifferent? The entertainment system does what’s on the box. It’s perfectly adequate, as is the stereo. As with all things German, it’s a sea of grey and black inside. I’d rather a manual (which the US is getting as an option, so maybe we will too?) option.

What I didn’t love? VW’s 4motion is still a haldex “slip’n’grip” unlike Subaru’s AWD. I didn’t get to test it out in slippery conditions, though, and I know people who are thoroughly happy with previous generations of the 4motion system. It’s just not the BEST option.

If you’re looking, this is a great car. It’s got tons of space (pretty equivelent to a compact SUV (think Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Hyundai Tucson) and is notably bigger than the hatchbacks it’ll get lumped in with (Subaru Impreza, Hyundai Elantra GT, Chevrolet Cruze hatchback, Honda Civic Hatchback, etc), AWD, and car-handling. Skip the “Alltrack” version. At a base of $36,000cdn, all you’re really buying is some plastic bodycladding and taller springs. It starts at the top-trim level of the standard sportwagen, which is why the price is high. My advice would be to skip the alltrack, get the 4motion wagon, and maybe the midlevel trim (I can never remember if that’s comfortline or trendline). For the “arounD $33k out the door” price I saw, that’s a pretty spectacular deal on a family hauler these days, if you don’t have to show the neighbours how big your….. SUV…. Is.

It would approach perfection with a manual transmission (and the accompanying $1400 price drop) and some deep bronze flake paint, and some sticky summer tires (with alternate aggressive winter tires).

Yeah, I’d buy this. I really would. And eventually, may even. If the manual option does appear, it becomes the unicorn of the car world – a manual, brown, all-wheel drive, turbo, wagon. Gives me the shivers, does that. Ooooh, Nelly.

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