Test Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI volkswagen car test drives diesel
Test Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI volkswagen car test drives diesel
Test Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI volkswagen car test drives diesel
Test Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI volkswagen car test drives diesel
2012 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI. Click image to enlarge

With unseasonably hot daily temperatures reaching highs of 25C in mid-March, I was worried that the winter tires would disintegrate under cornering loads.  Although “great” may be stretching things, the wagon was still poised in corners and had decent grip.  Things would only improve with weather-appropriate tires.  The ride is smooth and comfortable and the diesel Wagon would be a great vehicle for a long distance drive; it tracks straight on the highway, even in high winds.

Inside, the Golf Wagon is swathed in soft touch materials creating a luxurious cockpit.  As mentioned earlier, our test vehicle arrived in Highline trim, which adds features like dual zone climate control, upgraded eight-speaker sound system, optional navigation, power reclining driver’s seat, leather seats and Bluetooth.  Like most Volkswagens, the satellite radio has a nifty feature that allows you to scroll through preset favorite stations to see what is playing without having to physically change the station you are currently listening to.  It is great not having to constantly change stations, wait for five seconds of audio to figure out what song is playing, then switch again.  This feature would be redundant if the radio did not have great sound, but thankfully it does.

The featured loved most by my passengers was the massive two-pane moonroof.  It not only creates an almost convertible-like front seat experience, but it also allows rear passengers to bask in bright, airy comfort.

Both the front seats and rear seats were very comfortable for all occupants.  The driver’s seatback is a bit of an oddity as it is the only power seat feature in the entire vehicle.

As with any wagon, the party piece is the cargo hold.  The Golf Wagon does not disappoint with 930 L of rear cargo space that grows to 1,890 L with the rear seats folded down; quite impressive considering the vehicle’s compact dimensions.  However, the cargo hold is potentially too deep for shorter drivers. As my wife commented, “I would hate to have to crawl back there to get some items up against the rear seats.  If it was winter, I would get the legs of my pants dirty on the rear bumper.”

“But wait,” I said, “Volkswagen has thought of this.”

I proceeded to show her the adjustable cargo floor panels that can be raised and folded at different angles to shorten the depth of the cargo space.  It is a neat, yet simple trick to solve this issue.

It should be obvious at this point that I quite enjoyed this diesel wagon.  However, if you look at vehicle sales, I and all my fellow diesel-loving drivers out there are in the minority.  It is an issue of price, availability, and diesel-perception that appears to keep the buying public out of these versatile little haulers.  But with manufacturers like Mazda and Chevrolet promising to bring diesels to North America, the future looks bright.  The problem for them, though, is that Volkswagen has decades of experience in this niche market and already makes a fabulous product.

Pricing: 2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI Highline
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