.2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Sportline
2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Sportline. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Volkswagen Canada

Review and photos by Steven Bochenek

Photo Gallery:
2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Sportline

I live near the university in the middle of a town where Volkswagens are only outnumbered by turtlenecks and yoga studios. So the 2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon in the Sportline trim didn’t stand out – unless I was driving it. Conservative as it looked, it drove really well in the city. And so it should for the money.

Sportline is VW’s second-most expensive trim level and this one was equipped with the more expensive automatic transmission. When you add the taxes, you surpass that psychological barrier of $30,000. Now you’re venturing towards luxury land. More about that later.

First let’s discuss whether or why you’d consider this for a family car. There are three interesting safety features worth mentioning. The automatic lock kicks in at just 13 km/h. Smart. In the case of an accident, Volkswagen’s standard Intelligent Crash Response System thinks two steps ahead. When an airbag deploys or a belt-tensioner fires, it automatically unlocks all doors, cuts power to the fuel pump and turns on hazard lights. The other is a simple yet interesting feature, the driver’s floor mat.

Really. Do you recall Toyota’s recall woes late last decade? One of the issues was floor mats sliding forward and jamming the brake.1

In our unnatural seated position while driving, our feet are continually pushing. Floor mats can slide forwards. Most manufacturers have solved this issue by anchoring floor mats with a hook or two. But if you don’t re-attach it after cleaning, or if it somehow comes loose from its moorings, it could still slide up and jam the brake. Not good. The underside of Volkswagen’s floor mats are a thick, toothy Velcro. Instead of one or two hooks they functionally contain hundreds.

2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Sportline2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Sportline
2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Sportline. Click image to enlarge

What about seating the kids? The back seats conform to LATCH, an acronym standing for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It’s a standardized system meant to make car seating easier and safer for kids. But how big are your kids? The Golf is 1,504 mm high. Setting up baby seats and boosters is a backache in progress.

Furthermore, if you’re tall, your seat may use up a good deal of legroom in the back. Sit back there yourself. When they hit thirteen, will they be eating their knees?

Speaking of the kids’ comfort, there’s rear passenger ventilation in the centre console. So they needn’t swelter back there in summer while you freeze up front, trying to spread the A/C around.

What about other space? Those back seats split 60/40 and an armrest deploys from the middle seat, providing two cupholders. There’s also a mini door behind for skis to pass through.

The cargo volume of 930 L in the back expands to 1,890 L with the back seats folded down. They don’t completely flatten, though, which can be a pain depending on what you need to transport.

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