2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

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$21,895 - 36,095 MSRP

Pros & Cons

  • Above-average cargo capacity
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Agile handling
  • Good gas mileage
  • Lethargic acceleration with base engine
  • Infotainment system responds slowly to inputs
  • Lower safety scores than rivals

New for 2019

  • New base engine and available eight-speed automatic transmission in FWD models
  • SportWagen SEL trim discontinued
  • Some feature shuffling between trims

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 51 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 8.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen a Good Car?

Yes, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a good car. It handles well for a wagon, and it gets good gas mileage. Its stylish cabin features plenty of front-seat room and cargo space. However, there are some drawbacks with this VW. The infotainment system, though user-friendly, responds slowly to inputs. Some rivals have more rear-seat space and higher safety scores.

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

This Volkswagen is more affordable than many other wagons. However, wagons are made by both luxury and nonluxury brands, which means there are competitors from brands like Volvo and Audi that cost about twice as much as the SportWagen. If you're shopping for a wagon, you should consider this VW, but you should also check out alternatives like the Subaru Outback and the regular Volkswagen Golf.

Compare the Golf SportWagen, Outback, and Golf »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

The 2019 Golf SportWagen belongs to a generation that launched as an all-new vehicle for the 2015 model year. There are some important changes for 2019. Front-wheel-drive models feature a new 147-horsepower turbocharged base engine, which is available with a new eight-speed automatic transmission (prior models only offered a six-speed). The new transmission helps return higher fuel economy estimates – 27/36 mpg city/highway compared to 24/33 mpg in older models. Also, the SportWagen SEL trim has been discontinued, along with features like a built-in navigation system. The Alltrack still offers this trim and navigation.

The 2018 model only saw some styling updates and the addition of a larger touch screen, while 2017 marked the debut of the all-wheel-drive Golf Alltrack model and the first time AWD was available in the regular SportWagen.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by purchasing a used SportWagen, but you'll miss out on any recent updates. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2017 and 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Golf SportWagen »

We Did the Research for You: 51 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current SportWagen generation, which runs from 2015 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Cost?

The base Golf SportWagen has an MSRP of $21,895, which is one of the lowest starting prices in the wagon class. The Golf Alltrack starts at $26,895. The SportWagen tops out with a price tag around $30,000 for its SE trim, while the top Alltrack trim, the SEL, starts around $35,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Golf SportWagen or Subaru Outback?

The Subaru Outback is another great wagon. Although it can't match the SportWagen’s handling or fuel economy, it outmatches the VW with a six-cylinder engine option. The SportWagen is more stylish inside and offers a few more tech features, but the Outback has more space for cargo and rear passengers, as well as higher safety scores. The Subaru is technically a bit better overall.

However, the SportWagen's starting price is several thousand dollars less than the Outback's – even an all-wheel drive SportWagen is roughly $2,000 less than the Outback, which has standard AWD. These are both good wagons, and the right choice will come down to what you value most in your car.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Golf SportWagen or Volkswagen Golf?

The Volkswagen Golf is sort of the parent of the Golf lineup, which includes the SportWagen, Alltrack, e-Golf, Golf R, and Golf GTI. Even though the Golf hatchback is less spacious than the SportWagen, it still has more than 50 cubic feet of total cargo space and enough room for even tall occupants. It's also powerful and fun to drive, particularly if you opt for the performance-oriented Golf R or Golf GTI models. Otherwise, these two VW's are similar, offering handsome cabins and similar features lists. Choosing between these two is a matter of preference.

Compare the Golf SportWagen, Outback, and Golf »

Golf SportWagen Interior

How Many People Does the Golf SportWagen Seat?

This Volkswagen seats five people. There's plenty of space up front, but the rear seats don't have as much room as rivals like the Subaru Outback. The seats feel comfortable even with the base cloth upholstery, and they're fairly supportive. The rear seat cushions are mounted low, however, which may disappoint taller passengers.

Golf SportWagen and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing child car seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

Golf SportWagen Interior Quality

The Golf SportWagen features an attractive interior made with some quality materials. It may not quite reach the opulence of a luxury car, but it certainly impresses in the context of nonluxury vehicles.

Golf SportWagen Cargo Space

With the rear seats up, the SportWagen gives you 30.4 cubic feet of cargo room. That's one of the highest totals in the class, and it's enough space for your family's vacation luggage or some large outdoor gear. Fold the rear seats down, and you get 66.5 cubic feet of space.

Golf SportWagen Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the SportWagen include the MIB II infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Volkswagen Car-Net. Available features include a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an upgraded MIB II system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker Fender audio system.

The MIB II system features a user-friendly interface, and its screen actually recognizes your hand approaching and then magnifies the icons, making it easier to use while on the go. There are also physical buttons for some functions. On the downside, the system's response times are somewhat sluggish. With the discontinuation of the SEL trim level for the SportWagen, integrated navigation is no longer available. The Alltrack does offer navigation, however, as it retains the SEL trim level.

Read more about interior »

Golf SportWagen Performance

Golf SportWagen Engine: 2 Turbocharged Choices

The VW comes with a new-for-2019 147-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, exclusively in front-wheel-drive models. The Alltrack and the all-wheel-drive SportWagen come with a 168-horsepower turbo-four. With the base engine, the SportWagen accelerates at a leisurely pace, but it has adequate power overall. The stronger engine moves with more alacrity. Both models come standard with a manual transmission (which is increasingly rare these days), and both offer an automatic.

Golf SportWagen Gas Mileage: Tough to Beat

The SportWagen gets better fuel economy than most other wagons, earning 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive Alltrack doesn't quite get the same terrific numbers, though its ratings are still solid for the class. It earns 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

For comparison, the Subaru Outback gets 25/32 mpg city/highway. With those ratings, you'll spend about $150 less per year fueling the SportWagen than the Outback, on average.

Golf SportWagen Ride and Handling: You May Forget It's a Wagon

Whether you opt for the Golf SportWagen or the Alltrack, you'll be getting a wagon that's more fun to drive than most of its peers. This VW is pretty agile, and it feels like the smaller, nimbler Golf hatchback. It also rides smoothly over most road surfaces.

Read more about performance »

Golf SportWagen Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 SportWagen a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Warranty

Volkswagen covers the Golf SportWagen with a six-year/72,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Golf SportWagen Safety

Golf SportWagen Crash Test Results

The 2019 Golf SportWagen earned an overall crash test rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in the side crash test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the SportWagen the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. Models equipped with forward collision warning and brake assist earned the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention, and this VW’s headlights earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal.

Golf SportWagen Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard. Available active safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Read more about safety »

Golf SportWagen Dimensions and Weight

This VW measures about 15 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,978 to 3,285 pounds, though the Alltrack goes up to 3,422 pounds. The SportWagen has a gross vehicle weight rating of between 4,123 and 4,497 pounds, and the Alltrack has a gross weight rating of 4,542 pounds.

Where Is the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Built?

Volkswagen builds the SportWagen in Mexico.

Which Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Model Is Right for Me?

There are two variants of this Volkswagen: Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack. All Alltrack models come with all-wheel drive (an off-road mode) and a little more ground clearance than the SportWagen, but the two models are otherwise very similar. Both models come in S and SE trims, but the Alltrack also comes in an SEL trim. The SportWagen previously offered the SEL trim as well, but it was discontinued for the 2019 model year.

While the base trim comes with some nice infotainment features, most buyers should step up to the SE trim. It comes with an upgraded infotainment system, more convenience upgrades, and a lot of driver assistance technology, some of which aren't offered in the S trim. The features lists of the SportWagen and Alltrack trims are nearly identical, so the SE is also a good choice if you're shopping for an Alltrack. It's also worth noting that the SportWagen doesn't offer navigation; you have to spring for the Alltrack SEL if you want that feature.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen S

The VW Golf SportWagen S carries a base price of $21,895. It comes standard with a 147-horsepower turbo-four engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive. You can upgrade to an eight-speed automatic transmission for $1,100.

Standard features include cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, and the MIB II infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Volkswagen Car-Net.

For $450, you can add the Driver Assistance package, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

The Golf SportWagen S with 4Motion costs $2,500 more than the base S trim. It adds all-wheel drive and heated front seats, and it comes with a 168-horsepower turbo-four instead of the 147-horsepower base engine.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE

The Golf SportWagen SE starts at $29,995. In addition to the base trim's features, the SE comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, synthetic leather upholstery, a sunroof, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and HD Radio.

The SE also comes with a litany of driver assistance features: lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. All-wheel drive is not available in the SportWagen SE.

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack S

The Golf Alltrack S has a starting price of $26,895. The Alltrack features the 168-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed automatic is available for $1,100). Alltrack models have an off-road driving mode that includes hill descent control. In addition to standard features in the base SportWagen S, the Alltrack S comes with synthetic leather upholstery, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE

The Golf Alltrack SE starts at $30,495. Beyond the features in the Alltrack S, the Golf Alltrack SE comes with a sunroof and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and HD Radio.

For $2,395, you can add the Driver Assistance and Appearance package, which includes lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and more.

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SEL

The Golf Alltrack SEL has a starting price of $34,995. This top-of-the-line trim comes with an off-road monitor, parallel and perpendicular park assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, front sport seats, navigation, and an eight-speaker Fender audio system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

See 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and its sister vehicle, the Alltrack, deliver much of what shoppers seek in a wagon – such as ample cargo space and family-friendly tech features – in a package that's more athletic and efficient than many of its competitors. It's not the most luxurious car in the class, and a wagon is rarely going to be the sexy pick, but buyers who give the SportWagen a chance might just find that they really like it.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "With customer preferences moving toward crossovers these days, cars are becoming almost obsolete – and in fact, many are being discontinued. We hope the SportWagen won't be among them, as it combines carlike dynamics and fuel economy with crossover capabilities in an attractive package that offers a lot for the money." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen adds another dimension to the already practical Golfcompact hatchback. It does so by turning the rear section into a wagon. … And the SportWagen comes with the option of all-wheel drive. Factor in the quality, sophistication, refinement and sheer driving talent for which the brilliant Golf is renowned, and this all sounds like a fantastic idea. But the result is a little controversial, because American buyers aren't exactly famous for their love of wagons. That's their loss." -- AutoTrader
  • "The fun and fuel-efficient 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is America's most affordable wagon. … the VW Golf SportWagen is perfect for young families and first-time buyers looking for an alternative to a hatchback or small SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

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