2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen


#2 out of 6 in 2017 Wagons

$15,171 - $20,525

2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen was new.


Performance: 8.5

The 2017 Golf SportWagen is a good all-around performer. Its engine delivers satisfying acceleration, and it has a composed ride and good cornering poise. The Golf Alltrack provides sportier handling, good road grip, and an off-road driving mode. With the automatic transmission, fuel economy is excellent for a wagon.

  • "The Alltrack offers an engine with more power than Subaru does with its XV Crosstrek and Outback, and the Volkswagen's dual-clutch gearbox is more responsive than Subaru's continuously variable transmission (CVT). Overall driving dynamics, such as handling, high speed stability, and braking, also tip in favor [of] Volkswagen." -- Forbes
  • "The new Golf Alltrack is rewarding and surprisingly adept on road and off. On pavement, it drives much like a standard Golf SportWagen: quick, nimble and compliant. The 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is mostly smooth. We like its traditional shift points more than the continuously variable transmission (CVT) used by Subaru." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Alltrack is even fun off the pavement, where the longer wheelbase compared with the regular Golf makes sliding around on fast dirt roads intuitive and predictable. Flick the nose in abruptly, wait a brief moment, then lean on the throttle and power your way out of corners with 100 percent of the little turbocharged 1.8-liter's 199 lb-ft of torque tugging you out." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Golf SportWagen is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available. The all-new Golf Alltrack comes with the same engine and a six-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission.

The EPA says the Golf SportWagen achieves 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway when equipped with the automatic transmission. Those are some of the best estimates in the class, among nonhybrid wagons. The Golf Alltrack and the SportWagen with all-wheel drive earn 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

The engine produces brisk acceleration that feels satisfying whether you're driving around town or on the highway. You may experience some turbo lag at lower speeds, but once the wagon gets going, acceleration is strong. There's plenty of torque, and with the pedal to the floor the engine produces a satisfying sound.

  • "With its stout 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the tiny Alltrack provides just enough power to keep things interesting. When prompted, the VW's 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque make for a bit more excitement than you might expect from a compact SUV, but not quite as much as you'd get from the GTI." -- Autotrader
  • "Despite its relatively small displacement, the 1.8-liter proves a more than adequate match for this tall Golf; its early torque delivery ensures the Alltrack never seems winded." -- Car and Driver
  • The Alltrack is peppy enough, in part due to the quick-shifting DSG (VW didn't have a manual for us to test at the press launch). The VW never felt overtaxed on the highway or when climbing gravel-strewn mountain two-tracks, and it's an engaging powertrain that also sounds good, but only at full stomp. At partial throttle you hear the a (sic) muted engine note, which is likely preferable for anyone shopping for a wagon of this ilk." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Golf SportWagen offers a comfortable and smooth ride, as well as composed handling. The tight, sharp steering also makes the car easy to maneuver in and out of tight parking spaces.

The Golf Alltrack is more agile, delivering quick steering, easy cornering, and good road grip with help from the standard all-wheel drive. Moreover, its ride is comfortable, though a bit firmer than the Golf SportWagen's. Additionally, the Golf Alltrack comes with an off-road drive mode that engages hill descent and adjusts the character of the accelerator and brake.

  • "The Alltrack was fun on the serpentine roads that traverse the hills of the Northwest, gripping corners with the surefootedness of a free runner on a parkour course. The selectable driving modes provide a bit of customization to your experience behind the wheel, with settings that include normal, sport, custom and off-road. The differences between settings are easily noticeable, and there's an appropriate mode for almost any driving situation." -- Autotrader
  • "Alltrack rides a little more firmly than the AWD SportWagen (which offers a great combination of suppleness and control), and provides capable if not quite sporty handling." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Given that the Golf Alltrack shares a few strands of DNA with the Golf GTI, it should come as no surprise that the soft-roader is a competent handler. The Alltrack's suspension is perfectly tuned, returning a ride that is comfortable yet still sporty." -- Left Lane News

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