When my brother and his wife were expecting their first child a couple of years ago, they ended up in an automotive quandary. Their car at the time was a bright yellow five-speed Mustang GT that they called “Sunny”, but they reasonably surmised it wouldn’t exactly make an ideal vehicle for a growing family.
So off they went car shopping, looking at all the various crossovers, sport utilities and minivans recommended to them by their friends with kids. For a couple of dipped-in-oil, city-dwelling motorheads (my sister-in-law might just be more car-crazy than my brother, and that’s saying something), it turned out to be a disappointing experience. The only vehicle they looked at that even halfway sparked their interest was the Mazda5, but my brother balked at what he perceived to be its awkward styling and lack of cool.
“Have you looked at the VW Golf Wagon?” I asked.
The thing is, for an urban couple interested in a compact, decent-handling family hauler that still retains a sporty, hip attitude, there’s really nothing else out there quite like the Volkswagen Golf Wagon. It has as much (or more) room inside than most compact crossovers, but it sits lower and handles with much of the taut competence of its famous hot-hatch sibling. Order the Golf Wagon up with the available TDI diesel engine and it offers phenomenal fuel economy to boot, comparable to a hybrid but with a far greater fun factor thanks to the diesel engine’s abundant low-end torque.
For 2015 Volkswagen is introducing the next-generation Mk7 Golf to the market, but while the hatchback arrived on our shores in late 2014, the Mk7 Golf SportWagen won’t be here until the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime, in typical Volkswagen fashion, the German maker is sending off the last of the Mk6 Golf Wagons here in Canada with an enticing Wolfsburg Edition trim option and a couple of previously unavailable colours (Toffee Brown Metallic and my test car’s Tornado Red). Why wait for the next-generation Golf SportWagen – which judging by the hatchback pricing looks like it’ll be slightly more expensive than the current Golf Wagon – when you can pick up a nicely loaded current-generation Wolfsburg Edition for somewhere between $29,070 (including the $1,395 destination fee) for the manual gasoline-powered car and $32,770 for the DSG automatic equipped TDI diesel? (For those swallowing hard at that number, the base five-speed gasoline-powered Trendline trim starts at $24,970 destination in.)
2014 Volkswagen Golf Wagon Wolfsburg Edition TDI, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
In Wolfsburg Edition trim, nicely loaded means the Golf Wagon comes with special 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, 10-speaker audio with satellite radio and navigation, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, alloy pedals, dual-zone electronic climate control, fog lights, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with power recline, and a few more things beside (this includes Wolfsburg badging that wasn’t actually installed on my test car, but which I later learned was likely hiding in the glovebox and would be installed by the dealer in a couple of minutes flat).