2010 VW Golf Wagon Road Test Review

Alexandra Straub - CAP staff
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The wildly popular VW Golf has one more body style to add to its 3-door, 5-door and GTI lineup, the ever so practical Wagon.  Introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model, the Golf Wagon replaces the Jetta Wagon, and hasn't lost any functionality or refinement in the process. 

As much as I like wagons, I don't find this Wagon to be as cool looking as the other Golf models.  I guess practicality can do that sometimes.  Yes, its curvaceous front end, signature grille, 16" alloy wheels inside 205/55 R16 all season tires, and rounded rump all blend nicely together, but its outside doesn't tickle my fancy as much as, lets say, the three- or five-door.  But when I'm on the inside looking out, this Golf has all the same goodies as its siblings. 

First of all, under the hood is a 2.5L, 20-valve, DOHC, 5-cylinder engine that pumps out 170 excited horses and 177 lb-ft of torque.  And even with the larger cargo area, with the new Wagon having 930 litres (32.8 cu ft) of cargo volume behind the rear seats vs. 410-litre (14.7 cu ft) for the 5-door Golf, it still picks up the pace rather quickly.  Aiding its snappy acceleration is the optional 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual shift mode.  While it would have been fun to put the Wagon to the test with the standard 5-speed manual, I still had a blast with the automatic.  I did, however, notice that when I put my foot on the throttle, there was a brief lag time before the Golf really got going. 

When the Golf did get going, particularly at highway speeds, I had no qualms with its stability.  Even when a severe storm had hit the West Coast and was blowing cars (and trees) all over the place, I didn't feel unsafe or out of control.  In fact, it was the opposite.  I found the Golf Wagon held its own when maneuvering through the fallen branches and also remained very agile thanks to its independent front MacPherson strut and multilink rear suspension.  Besides, if I did get into a dill of a pickle, this VW has a list of standard safety features like 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, EBD, Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) with hydraulic brake assist (HBA), rear-impact optimized head restraints for the driver & front passenger, a full assortment of airbags, and more to keep me, hopefully, in one piece. 

What I also noticed from behind the wheel is VW's attention to interior detail.  This is a common thread in the German manufacturer's lineup, but I can't help commend them enough on what a great cabin they create.  The plastics used are very high quality and are pleasing to the touch.  Even the seatbelt holders have a velvety texture to them. The Golf is also ergonomically constructed and very easy to use.  I particularly enjoyed using the touch screen display, which is part of the Multimedia Package ($1,300), when operating the stereo system.  One thing that I noticed is that the text on the screen is fairly big so that even those who have a hard time reading smaller print can use it without trouble.  There aren't a lot of buttons, which is great for me because I'm not a huge button fan, and it all blends nicely together. 

Another standout feature for me was the optional panoramic power sunroof ($1,780).  Its span goes almost the entire length of the roof, letting in lots of light.  The power sunshade that comes along with it is another great feature.  If it's ultra bright outside, no problem, it still lets in a good amount of sunshine, but not the kind that blinds while driving.  And on the greyer West Coast days, I opened the sunshade to get as much light as possible inside.  All in all, it lets not only those sitting in the front, but also those in the back enjoy the skylight views from above. 

Speaking of those sitting in the back, although the Golf Wagon has more cargo space, the rear legroom is pretty much the same in comparison to the three or five door.  Translation: that's not a lot of legroom at all.  Even I, being of average height, found it a little cramped when I sat in the back.  Now, if the front seats are also reclined, comfort is even harder to find especially for those with longer legs. 

As much as I enjoy driving VWs, I always seem to find it hard to justify their rather dear price tags.  This particular Comfortline-trimmed Wagon, outfitted with the optional automatic transmission, sunroof and multimedia package has an MSRP of $29,920 (including the $1,365 for Freight & PDI).  For a diehard VW fan, that's just another day at the office, but for those looking for an affordable wagon, it just might seem a little pricey.  On the other hand, it's a cut above just about everything it comes up against in the compact segment, nearing premium levels of refinement, and it won't cost an arm and a leg when it comes to fueling since it uses an estimated 9.3L/100km in the city and 6.9L/100km on the highway. 

Overall, do I welcome the 2010 VW Wagon to the Golf lineup? Heck yes. The additional trunk space without any compromise to driving dynamics is a definite bonus in my books.  A little junk in the trunk has yet to hurt me!

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Wagon, Volkswagen, VW, 2010, Golf Wagon, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999,

Organizations: Volkswagen

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