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2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Review

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen ranks near the top of the wagon class. The SportWagen has composed handling, good fuel economy ratings, a spacious interior, and a decent safety score.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, upscale interior
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Poised ride and handling
  • Good gas mileage
  • Mediocre passing power

New for 2019

  • New base engine and eight-speed automatic transmission became available
  • Final model year of production

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen's #2 ranking is based on its score within the 2019 Wagons category. Currently the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 51 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 8.7
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen a Good Used Wagon?

Yes, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a good pick if you’re shopping for a used wagon. The SportWagen has an upscale interior with roomy seating, a large cargo area, and an easy-to-use infotainment system. It’s comfortable to drive in day-to-day traffic yet still lively and agile on winding roads. The SportWagen is offered with many advanced safety features as well. Better still, used models are among the least expensive vehicles in the class.

The SportWagen’s biggest compromise is that it feels rather underpowered at highway speeds, but in return it yields good fuel economy ratings. It’s worth noting that Volkswagen discontinued the SportWagen lineup for 2020, making the 2019 Golf SportWagen the last model available.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 51 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much is the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

Based on listings for the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, the average list price is $21,389. Prices range from $18,849 to $31,278 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Cost to Own?

The Golf SportWagen’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, taxes, fees, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $23,300, or $4,660 per year. That’s below average for the class.

2018 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen: What's the Difference?

There’s one main difference between the 2018 and 2019 Golf SportWagen. For 2019, Volkswagen added a new 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and eight-speed automatic transmission to front-wheel-drive SportWagen models. This pairing increases fuel economy by about 3 mpg compared to older models, but it also dulls acceleration.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Golf SportWagen »

Here are key changes for the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen since it was introduced for 2015 (replaced the Jetta SportWagen):

  • 2016: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parallel park assist became available; rearview camera became standard
  • 2017: all-wheel drive and Alltrack variant became available
  • 2018: updated headlight and taillight designs
  • 2019: new base engine and transmission for front-wheel-drive models

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 Golf SportWagen, 2017 Golf SportWagen, and 2018 Golf SportWagen reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Reliable Is the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

The 2019 Golf SportWagen has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about Golf SportWagen reliability »

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Recalls

There have been 2 safety recalls issued from NHTSA.

STEERING:COLUMN LOCKING:ANTI-THEFT DEVICE Recall Date: 08/21/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2015-2019 GTI, 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 Golf, 2012-2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible, 2017-2019 Golf SportWagen and 2011-2018 Jetta vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, manual handbrake and keyless entry. A build-up of silicate on the shift lever micro switch contacts may enable the key to be removed from the ignition when the transmission shift lever is not in "Park."
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 679027
  • Consequence: Removing the key while the shift lever is in a position other than "Park" increases the risk of an unintended vehicle rollaway that may result in personal injury or a crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional switch and circuit board, free of charge. The recall began November 19, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 37M2.
  • Dates of Manufacture: JUN 23, 2017 to MAY 12, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 37M2
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V615000
SUSPENSION:REAR:SPRINGS:COIL SPRINGS Recall Date: 03/05/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2017-2019 Golf Sportwagen, 2019 Jetta, 2015-2019 Golf, and 2018-2019 Tiguan vehicles. The rear coil springs may prematurely fracture.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 56173
  • Consequence: If a coil spring fractures while driving, it may damage a rear tire causing a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear axle coil springs, free of charge. The recall began April 12, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 42J5.
  • Dates of Manufacture: OCT 09, 2016 to OCT 29, 2018
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 42J5
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V188000

See more information on Volkswagen Golf SportWagen safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen comes in two main trim levels: S and SE. There’s also a Golf Alltrack variant with standard all-wheel drive and additional ground clearance, and this model is offered in three trims: S, SE, and SEL.

The base model SportWagen S is a fine starting point for shoppers on a tight budget, though we suspect most buyers will prefer the SportWagen SE or Alltrack S models for their longer list of safety and convenience features.

  • Volkswagen Golf SportWagen S: The entry-level Golf SportWagen S comes standard with a 147-horsepower turbocharged engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is available. Standard features include a 6.5-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, six speakers, remote keyless entry, cloth upholstery, heated side mirrors, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
  • Volkswagen Golf SportWagen S 4Motion: The SportWagen S 4Motion trim adds all-wheel drive, as well as a punchier 168-horsepower turbocharged engine, heated front seats, and 16-inch wheels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is available.
  • Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE: The Golf SportWagen SE trim is offered only with the 147-horsepower engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. In addition to the base trim's features, the SE comes with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, synthetic leather upholstery, a sunroof, 17-inch wheels, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and adaptive headlights.
  • Volkswagen Golf Alltrack S: The Golf Alltrack S has the same engine, all-wheel-drive system, and transmission choices as the SportWagen S 4Motion. It also shares that trim’s standard features and adds synthetic leather upholstery, 17-inch wheels, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring.
  • Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE: The Golf Alltrack SE features an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and a sunroof.
  • Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SEL: The top-of-the-line Golf Alltrack SEL adds navigation, an eight-speaker Fender stereo, automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, 18-inch wheels, parking sensors, hands-free parallel park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and adaptive headlights.

See 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model. Depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired or on the sale date of the CPO VW vehicle. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Golf SportWagen?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Golf SportWagen an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 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. The SportWagen’s headlights received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The SportWagen earned the highest rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its available vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system and the second-highest rating of Advanced for its available vehicle-to-pedestrian system.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Adaptive pivoting headlights
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Hands-free parallel park assist

See Golf SportWagen safety scores »

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen or 2019 Volkswagen Golf hatchback?

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf hatchback has a lot in common with the Golf SportWagen. Both of these VW models have similar interior styling and materials, the same user-friendly infotainment system, and many of the same active safety features. Both are also quite agile and fun to drive. The main difference is that the SportWagen provides an extra 14 cubic feet of cargo space. Also, it’s not available with as many powertrain options as the standard Golf, which includes the all-electric e-Golf and performance-tuned GTI and R models. All are fine options, but the added practicality of the SportWagen may seal the deal for some shoppers.

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen or 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan?

The 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact SUV, but it has a similar appeal to the SportWagen. The Tiguan has an upscale cabin, intuitive tech features, and poised handling. While it can’t match the SportWagen’s fuel economy, the Tiguan does edge ahead in terms of practicality. It has a bit more cargo room, available third-row seats, and a more commanding view of the road.

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen or 2019 Subaru Outback?

The 2019 Subaru Outback is often the default choice for wagon buyers, and for good reason. The Outback has a spacious interior and cargo area, standard all-wheel drive, and lots of included driver assistance features. The Outback’s engine performance and handling aren’t quite as polished as the SportWagen’s, though, and used Outback models tend to be pricier to buy. Test-drive both models to see which you prefer.

Compare the Golf SportWagen, Golf hatchback, and Tiguan »

2019 Golf SportWagen Performance

How Does the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Drive?

The Golf SportWagen is an enjoyable car to drive. Like other vehicles in the Golf family, the SportWagen feels stable around sharp turns, its steering is quick and nicely weighted, and the brakes provide good stopping power. The suspension filters out most bumps and dips in the road comfortably, especially in models with the 15- and 16-inch wheels. The 17- and 18-inch wheel and tire combinations are met with a firmer ride quality, though it’s still livable for day to day driving.

The Golf SportWagen is available with two turbocharged engine options, depending on drivetrain: a 147-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder in front-wheel-drive models and a 168-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder in all-wheel-drive models. Despite the difference in output, both engines provide a similar driving experience. The SportWagen has peppy off-the-line acceleration, and it scoots around town confidently, but it doesn’t feel as powerful at highway speeds, when passing other cars, and on long inclines.

The six-speed manual transmission is rewarding to slide in and out of gear. The eight-speed automatic transmission in FWD models is refined as well, and it fires off quick yet smooth gear changes. The dual-clutch automatic in AWD models has a tendency to hesitate at low speeds, which can be annoying in stop-and-go traffic.

  • Base engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque (FWD models)
  • Available engine: 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 168 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque (AWD models)
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available eight-speed automatic with FWD; available six-speed dual-clutch automatic with AWD
Does the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Golf SportWagen gets good fuel economy for a wagon, especially when outfitted with the 1.4-liter engine.

  • SportWagen, 1.4-liter, manual, FWD: 29/37 mpg city/highway
  • SportWagen, 1.4-liter, automatic, FWD: 27/36 mpg
  • SportWagen, 1.8-liter, manual, AWD: 22/31 mpg
  • SportWagen, 1.8-liter, automatic, AWD: 22/29 mpg
  • Alltrack, 1.8-liter, manual, AWD: 21/30 mpg
  • Alltrack, 1.8-liter, automatic, AWD: 22/30 mpg

Read more about Golf SportWagen performance »

2019 Golf SportWagen Interior

How Many People Does the 2019 Golf SportWagen Seat?

The VW Golf SportWagen has five seats. The front seats are supportive and nicely bolstered, but the cushions are a bit firm for long-haul comfort. On the plus side, there’s ample head- and legroom up front, even for taller occupants. The rear seats can accommodate three kids or two adults in reasonable comfort, at least for short trips. Outward visibility is good in all directions.

The SportWagen’s cabin looks almost identical to that of the 2019 Volkswagen Golf hatchback, and that’s a good thing. The styling is clean cut and modern, and most surfaces have a quality look and feel. It gives the SportWagen a near luxury appearance. That said, a bit of road and wind noise makes its way into the cabin at higher speeds, but that’s typical for this price point.

Standard seating features:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • Manually adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • Power-adjustable front seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

The Golf SportWagen has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the rear outboard seats and an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. The tether anchors are hard to find and could be confused for other hardware, and the lower anchors are difficult to maneuver around.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Features

The Golf SportWagen comes standard with a 6.5-inch touch screen. An 8-inch touch screen is available in higher trim levels. Both displays have simple menus, crisp graphics, and fairly quick responses. Both are also accompanied by physical buttons and knobs for the climate and audio controls. It’s not the flashiest setup in this class, but it functions well. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow users to integrate their iPhone and Android apps with the touch screen.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker Fender stereo
  • Other available features: automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and a panoramic sunroof

See 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen specs »

Read more about Golf SportWagen interior »

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Dimensions

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Cargo Space

The 2019 Golf SportWagen and Alltrack have 30.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats upright and 66.5 cubic feet with these seats folded. That’s better than most wagons but still a bit less than the 2019 Subaru Outback.

2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet
  • Curb weight: 2,978 to 3,402 pounds

Where Was the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Built?

Volkswagen built the 2019 Golf SportWagen in Mexico.

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