2010 Volkswagen Golf Wagon 2.5L Comfortline Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Published on July 17, 2010

Good looking Golf Wagon has sleek lines and VW's new corporate nose. (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

Published on July 17, 2010

The Golf Wagon has the same profile and general rear design as the outgoing Jetta Wagon. (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

Published on July 17, 2010

Really nice upscale interior. (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

Published on July 17, 2010

Empty... (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

Published on July 17, 2010

...and full! (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

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Yeah! All that went into that little Golf Wagon! Go figure! (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

Published on July 17, 2010

Hidden storage under the cargo floor ideal for... table legs? (Photo: Canadian Auto Press)

Published on July 17, 2010

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Published on July 17, 2010

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Published on July 17, 2010

Published on July 17, 2010

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Published on July 17, 2010

Published on July 17, 2010

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Published on July 17, 2010

Published on July 17, 2010

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Published on July 17, 2010

Published on July 17, 2010

Published on July 17, 2010

Published on July 17, 2010

I often get asked, "What's the best family car?" It's not a question I like to answer being that there is no "best" vehicle in the "family segment," if there even is such a thing as a family segment. Family transportation can range from a subcompact hatchback to a full-size four-door pickup truck depending on what a given family's needs are. But if you've got a couple of active kids with lots of stuff that needs to get hauled around regularly and you want to keep the initial price and running costs down, I've got a recommendation.

Volkswagen's all-new 2010 Golf Wagon is a serious performer. Performer? Sure, it's fun to drive like all Golfs and gets great fuel economy too at an estimated 9.2 L/100km in the city and 6.9 on the highway with my tester's optional automatic, from regular fuel no less. The diesel delivers class-leading fuel economy at 6.7 and 4.6 respectively, if you want to pay a little more initially.

I covered the diesel last year when I tested the majority of new Golf models at the national press launch, and was totally impressed. Here at home, however, VW gave me a regular 2.5L, in mid-level Comfortline trim. A beautifully finished car, like all Golfs it offers a premium-like experience for the rather paltry sum of $24,075. The base Trendline is available for less at $22,675, while the top-level Highline goes for $30,475.

Base Trendline models offer auto up/down windows all-round, keyless entry with VW's cool switchblade key, simple to operate manual climate control, variable intermittent wipers, an intermittent rear wiper, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, an anti-theft alarm system, cruise control, a single CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary input, eight-way manual cloth seats with driver's power recline, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with centre armrest and pass-through, cargo cover, side-impact and curtain-type airbags, traction control, ABS enhanced four-wheel disc brakes, and 16-inch steel wheels with covers wrapped with 205/55R16 all-season tires.

Move up to my Comfortline and 16-inch alloy wheels come standard, along with heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear floor mats, and heated washer nozzles. The Highline includes leather upholstery, a multifunction steering wheel, multifunction trip computer, a powered sunroof with VW's brilliant rotating switch, plus a 6-CD/MP3 audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and an iPod interface. Highline safety features include fog lights, rear side airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, electronic stability control, and hydraulic brake assist.

My Comfortline featured the six-speed automatic at $1,400, rear side airbags at $450, a gorgeous panoramic glass sunroof at $1,780, and a $1,300 Multimedia Package that includes an upgraded audio system dubbed Premium 8, boasting a touch-screen screen that actuates a six-disc CD player/AM/FM/SIRIUS head unit playing through 10-speaker dynamic sound, MDI (Media Device Interface) with iPod connectivity, a diversity antenna, multifunction steering wheel and trip computer and indicator, digital compass, and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity -- well worth the extra coin. With $4,930 worth of options and $1,365 for freight and PDI, my Comfortline tester registered in at $30,370. And once again, the Golf with its standard and optional features resulted in a premium-like experience.

What might matter more about your wagon, however, is all the stuff you can fit inside. Sure, it's a wagon right? So of course you can stow more than your average hatchback. What you might not be aware of, however, is that the little Golf Wagon can store more than many SUVs! At 4,556 mm (179.4 inches) long, 1,781 mm (70.1 inches) wide, 1,504 mm (59.2 inches) tall and riding on a 2578-mm (101.5-inch) wheelbase, the Golf Wagon is not exactly large, but its 1,897-litre (67.0-cu ft) maximum cargo capacity is huge! Even behind the rear seats the little wagon that could can haul up to 928 litres (32.8 cubic feet) of what-have-you, and I had a lot to haul a lot during my test week so I had to drop those 60/40 split-folding second row seatbacks.

I had moved a month prior and still had a rather large load of stuff temporarily stowed in my office lunchroom. The guys weren't thrilled to say the least, as the counters and much of the floor area were covered in boxes and other paraphernalia, enough so that I expected I'd need a couple of loads to get it done. It only took one very carefully packed load to stuff everything inside, and, well, the photos pretty well sum up the rest of the story. The only thing I had to add to the saga was that my storage locker was closed when I finally got there, so I had to drive home for 20 minutes and then back the next day, and it tracked beautifully without any fuss while pulling the heavy load.

The 20-valve, DOHC 2.5-litre five-cylinder gasoline engine in my tester produces a healthy 170 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 177 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm, and send that thrust through the front wheels via a standard five-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic, the latter being fitted to my test car.

Volkswagen covers the Golf Wagon comprehensively for four years or 80,000 km, whichever comes first, while the powertrain gets a five year or 100,000 km warranty. Roadside assistance is offered for years or 80,000 km.

After a week behind the wheel I only have one small complaint that is specific to this car but could affect others. The thick sound deadening material tacked underneath the hood is fraying apart and looks really bad. Of course, this is hidden most of the time and its sound deadening qualities shouldn't be affected. Still, for a new car it could be better.

In summary, I'd say the Golf Wagon might just be the most practical compact vehicle on the market today. But it's unfair to think of it as merely a workhorse, being that it's beautifully finished, a delight to drive and it looks really nice. Is it just what your family needs? That answer will be up to you, of course, but you might want to consider it if something smaller in size and better on gas can serve your purposes as well as a larger crossover or SUV. I'm guessing in most cases the new Golf Wagon would.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Wagon, Volkswagen, 2010, Golf, Jetta Wagon, Golf Wagon, $20,000 - $29,999,

Organizations: Volkswagen

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