Driving Notes

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI

The Golf SportWagen is replacing the Jetta SportWagen.

July 17, 2015

by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

Volkswagen's 2015 Golf SportWagen TDI is a powerhouse highway miler with enough comfort features for fleet drivers delivering lab samples or other low-profile cargo.

The Golf SportWagen is replacing the 2014 Jetta SportWagen. The vehicle is based on the same MQB platform VW used for its 2015 Golf redesign, while the Jetta continues using the older PQ35 platform.

The 2015 SportWagen TDI provides plenty of performance upgrades from the outgoing Jetta-based TDI model, including more horsepower (150 to 140) and a nearly 8 percent improvement in highway mpg. The new dimensions remain similar, as the vehicle is now only 0.2 inches longer, 0.7 inches wider, and 1.6 inches shorter.

The new platform provides a fluid ride. The Sportwagen is light on its feet with a tight suspension that gives it sure-footedness. We drove it without cargo.

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

Last year, we were impressed with Passat TDI, which provides nearly 700 miles of range on one tank. But if you're looking to haul light cargo, the Golf SportWagen TDI may be a better choice. You get 30.4 cubic-feet behind the rear seat, and if you fold down the seats, the hauling capability more than doubles. VW added 1.7 cubic-feet of cargo volume.

The SportWagen provides impressive fuel economy and a range of about 450 miles per 13.2-gallon tank, depending on how you drive it. As a means of comparison, I usually drive a gasoline entry-luxury sedan with a 14-gallon tank. When driving that car to maximize fuel economy, I can log nearly 23 mpg in city and highway driving with a range of about 320 miles.

The SportWagen gets an EPA-rated 42 mpg highway (a number that's easily achievable) and 31 mpg in the city. 

Our SportWagen SEL's near-luxury cockpit provided a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, and Fender premium audio system. The steering wheel controls for cruiser control and audio volume were easily identifiable so you could glance down to set cruise control and return your eyes to the road.

While our test model would sell for $34,620, the SEL trim level starts at $31,445.

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