2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

#1 in Wagons

Save money. Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find the best local prices on the Golf SportWagen.

MSRP: $21,685 - 35,660

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen ranked #1 in Wagons. Currently the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen has a score of 8.8 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 49 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 8.2
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Best Wagons

  • #1

    2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

    $21,685 - $35,660 MSRP

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
  • #2

    2018 Audi Allroad

    $44,500 MSRP

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
  • #3

    2018 Volvo V90

    $49,950 - $60,500 MSRP

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
See the full Wagons rankings »

2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Review

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is enjoyable to drive, is highly practical, and has a great predicted reliability rating, so it's no surprise that it finishes near the top of our wagon rankings and gives class leaders a run for their money.

Pros & Cons

  • Very good predicted reliability rating
  • Above-average cargo capacity
  • Energetic engine and solid handling
  • Upscale interior
  • Touch screen responds slowly to inputs
  • Occasional turbo lag from engine

New for 2018

  • Updated exterior styling
  • Some features shuffled between trims
  • Longer warranty than in previous years

Is the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen a Good Wagon?

Yes, the Golf SportWagen is a good wagon. It has an attractive and well-built cabin, spacious seats, and more cargo space than many rivals. It also has a user-friendly infotainment system, though the touch screen’s slow response times can be frustrating. Additionally, this VW’s engine delivers enough power to move the car quickly and easily, and handling is surprisingly solid on winding roads. The icing on the cake is its outstanding predicted reliability rating. Those who like a more rugged look should check out the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, which is essentially a SportWagen with a slightly raised suspension and some other styling tweaks that enhance its look.

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

Wagon shoppers should absolutely have this VW on their lists. The SportWagen is a great value; it offers several benefits and has a lower base price than many competitors. Still, comparison shopping is always a good idea. You may want to check out a fellow wagon like the Subaru Outback or a hatchback like the Volkswagen Golf.

Compare the Golf SportWagen, Outback, and Golf »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

Volkswagen introduced the Golf SportWagen for the 2015 model year. There have been some small changes since its debut, but few of the alterations are significant. 2018 brings some styling updates and the addition of a larger infotainment touch screen. For 2017, the all-wheel-drive Golf Alltrack model debuted, and AWD was offered for the first time in the regular SportWagen.

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

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Golf SportWagen »

We Did the Research for You: 49 Pieces of Data 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 2018.

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?

There are two variants of this Volkswagen: the Golf SportWagen and the Golf Alltrack. With a starting price of less than $22,000, the SportWagen is one of the least expensive 2018 wagons on the market – and it's far cheaper than some luxury competitors. The Alltrack costs a bit more (starting around $26,000), but its price is still low for the class. There are multiple higher trims for both models, but even a fully loaded Alltrack – the most expensive trim – only has a price tag in the mid-$30,000s. This is reasonable for a wagon and well below the most expensive cars in the class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local VW 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 and VW SportWagen each has some clear advantages over the other. The VW costs a few thousand dollars less, has better handling, and features a more energetic base engine than the Subaru. The Outback has an available six-cylinder engine, but adding it raises the price significantly. The SportWagen is more stylish inside and offers a few more tech features, but the Outback has more cargo space and higher safety and reliability scores. Both are very good wagons, but there are just a few more reasons to choose the SportWagen over the Outback.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Golf SportWagen or Volkswagen Golf?

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Volkswagen Golf are both part of the Golf family (in case the name didn't give it away). The Golf hatchback doesn't have as much interior space as the SportWagen, but it still has a decent amount of cargo space. The Golf offers more powertrains than the SportWagen, including an electric powertrain and two performance variants in addition to the standard four-cylinder. One thing to keep in mind is that the only hatchback Golf offered with all-wheel drive is the performance-oriented Golf R, whereas all variants of the SportWagen are available with it. In terms of features and interior quality, these two are nearly identical. In the end, both of these cars are smart buying decisions.

Compare the Golf SportWagen, Outback, and Golf »

Golf SportWagen Interior

How Many People Does the Golf SportWagen Seat?

This wagon seats five – and the seats are top-notch. In fact, they might be among the best in the class. The front seats are supportive and keep you in place on winding roads, and the rear seats have enough head- and legroom for almost anyone to fit easily.

Golf SportWagen and Car Seats

The SportWagen has two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing car seats. The lower anchors are pretty user-friendly, though they can be tough to maneuver around. The tether anchors, however, are difficult to find and can be easily confused with other hardware.

Golf SportWagen Interior Quality

The VW SportWagen looks the part when you climb inside. The cabin is attractive, and the materials quality makes this Volkswagen feel almost like a luxury vehicle.

Golf SportWagen Cargo Space

This VW has more cargo space than many other wagons. You get more than 30 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is enough room to carry a couple of dogs to the park or luggage for a family of five.

There is more than 66 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded, giving you the flexibility to haul almost anything you can fit through the SportWagen's hatch.

Golf SportWagen Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Golf SportWagen include an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system with smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Available features include a panoramic sunroof, navigation, a Fender premium audio system, satellite radio, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen.

There are a lot of reasons to like the infotainment system. It looks good, is easy to use, includes connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and has smartly arranged physical controls to support the touch screen. Its one notable flaw is that it responds slowly to inputs.

Read more about interior »

Golf SportWagen Performance

Golf SportWagen Engine: Sufficiently Quick

All Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack models feature a 170-horsepower turbo-four engine. It is powerful whether you're pulling away from a stoplight or cruising down the highway. Additionally, acceleration is pleasantly quick. On the downside, you may occasionally experience a bit of turbo lag, meaning it may take a second for the car to respond to you hitting the gas pedal.

Golf SportWagen Gas Mileage: Average Numbers

With an automatic transmission, the SportWagen gets 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. There are hybrid wagons that dwarf those ratings, but among nonhybrids, this VW's numbers are OK. To prove that point, you'll spend about the same amount of money each year on gas driving the SportWagen as you would in a base Subaru Outback (but keep in mind that the all-wheel-drive SportWagen brings down fuel economy to 22/29 mpg city/highway).

Golf SportWagen Ride and Handling: Lives Up to Its Name

Whether you choose the Golf SportWagen or the Golf Alltrack, you'll get a wagon that delivers a smooth ride and surprising performance. Both have dexterous handling and sharp steering. The SportWagen rides a little more softly, while the Alltrack is slightly stiffer but has a bit more ground clearance and is better in off-road situations.

Read more about performance »

Golf SportWagen Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Reliable?

The 2018 Golf SportWagen has a class-leading predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Warranty

Volkswagen backs the SportWagen with a six-year/72,000-mile warranty. These are better terms than you'll get with some other wagons.

Read more about reliability »

Golf SportWagen Safety

Golf SportWagen Crash Test Results

The 2018 Golf SportWagen earns a perfect five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, this VW earns five Good ratings (the highest) and one Acceptable rating (the second-highest).

Golf SportWagen Safety Features

The Golf SportWagen comes with a rearview camera. Available driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and parallel park assist.

Read more about safety »

Which Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Model Is Right for Me?

There are two variants of this Volkswagen: the Golf SportWagen and the 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 three trims: S, SE, and SEL.

To get a good amount of features in the SportWagen, you’ll have to step up beyond the base trim. The SportWagen SE makes a great choice for many buyers. It's a decent step up in price from the S trim (more than $5,000), but it adds a lot of nice technology upgrades, including several driver assistance features.

The features lists between the SportWagen and Alltrack trims are nearly identical, so the SE is also a good choice if you're shopping for an Alltrack.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen S

The VW Golf SportWagen S has a base price of $21,685. It comes standard with a 170-horsepower turbo-four engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive.

Standard features include an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, and a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system with smartphone integration. You can upgrade to a six-speed automatic transmission for $1,100.

The SportWagen S 4Motion starts at $23,935. It's the same as the S, but it has all-wheel drive and comes with a six-speed manual transmission and heated front seats. As with the base trim, you can add a six-speed automatic (in this case, a dual-clutch automatic) for $1,100.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE

The Golf SportWagen SE has a starting price of $27,320. In addition to the base trim's features, the SE comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, satellite radio, an 8-inch infotainment touch screen, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SEL

The top-of-the-line SEL trim starts at $30,245. It comes with power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a Fender premium audio system, and adaptive cruise control.

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

The Golf Alltrack S has a starting price of $25,955. Alltrack models come standard with all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, and an off-road driving mode that includes hill descent control. The Alltrack is available in the same trim levels as the Golf SportWagen, and their features lists are nearly identical. However, the Alltrack SEL comes with lane departure warning and parallel park assist, which aren't offered in the SportWagen SEL.

The Alltrack SE is priced at $29,765, while the Alltrack SEL costs $35,660. The Alltrack S and SE each offer a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for $1,100. This transmission is standard in the Alltrack SEL.

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

See 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a well-rounded vehicle that offers many positives in terms of performance and interior quality. It's also a better value than some other wagons because of its low price and high finish in our class rankings. Every wagon shopper should consider this VW.

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

  • "The fun and fuel-efficient 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is America's most affordable wagon. With … available all-wheel drive and high safety ratings, 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
  • "The cargo area is spacious, and the rear seat backs fold level with the cargo floor and nearly flat. Total cargo volume lags that of the top-selling compact SUV, but not by much." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
  • Great Savings
  • Minimum Savings Guarantee
  • Hassle-Free Experience

More than 150,000 car shoppers have purchased or leased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,383 off MSRP across vehicles.
Learn More »

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Golf SportWagen Shoppers Should Also Consider...

Audi Allroad 2018 2018 Audi Allroad

#2 in Wagons

Volvo V90 2018 2018 Volvo V90

#3 in Wagons

Subaru Outback 2019 2019 Subaru Outback

#4 in Wagons

Ford C-Max Hybrid 2018 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid

#5 in Wagons

Volvo V60 2018 2018 Volvo V60

#5 in Wagons