Volkswagen Golf 2010

Volkswagen Golf Wagon Review

Rating: 9.0
$21,490 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
  • Engine Power
  • CO2 Emissions
  • ANCAP Rating
Wunderbar Wagon
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Death and taxes might be life's only two certainties, but it's also a fairly safe bet that a new Volkswagen Golf model is sure to prove a worthy addition to an already impressive line up. Now add a little more versatility and a bucket load of extra cargo space to that rock-solid equation and voilà - the new Volkswagen Golf Wagon is born.

Joining the three- and five-door hatch models, the new Volkswagen Golf Wagon will offer itself in a total of six guises featuring a choice of four engines, three transmissions, two models grades and two option packages (more on these in a little while). Pricing starts at only $2,000 more than Mark VI Golf hatch models, as follows.

Volkswagen Golf Wagon Pricing:

  • Volkswagen Golf Wagon 90TSI Trendline (six-speed manual) - $26,990*
  • Volkswagen Golf Wagon 90TSI Trendline (seven-speed DSG) - $29,490*
  • Volkswagen Golf Wagon 77TDI Trendline (five-speed manual) - $29,490*
  • Volkswagen Golf Wagon 77TDI Trendline (seven-speed DSG) - $31,990*
  • Volkswagen Golf Wagon 118TSI Comfortline (seven-speed DSG) - $33,990*
  • Volkswagen Golf Wagon 103TDI Comfortline (six-speed DSG) - $36,490*

Visiting with Volkswagen Australia for a brief drive program in and around our nation's capital yesterday, I had the chance to slip behind the wheel of a couple of new Golf Wagons for a chance to experience just how adept the family lugger would prove on the open road.

Taking the reigns of the new Volkswagen Golf Wagon 118TSI Comfortline (pictured above) and Volkswagen Golf 103TDI Comfortline (pictured top), both equipped with Volkswagen's slick-shifting DSG transmissions (no manual option offered in Comfortline format), I made my way through the tree-lined streets of Canberra's CBD for the surrounding hills to get a better impression of how the wagon's extra bulk had impacted on Golf's well renowned dynamics.

Exiting the city, it's quickly evident that the "Golf for customers who need 'more Golf'", as Volkswagen so aptly put it, has lost none of its hatch counterpart's nimble cornering ability and zippy off-the-line performance with the DSG transmission, after taking all but a moment to engage, making its way quickly through the cogs to find suburban speed limits met with relative haste.

Breaking free of the constraints of city traffic, the new Golf Wagon feels instantly at ease on the open highway with an impressive quietness the first noticeable characteristic of the family lugger's quality. The new Golf Wagon is fitted with an acoustic dampening windscreen that virtually eliminates wind noise, allowing a peaceful cabin space that's as relaxed as it is spacious and functional.

The driver-centric instrumentation and switch gear falls to hand readily, and is intuitive of function meaning eyes can be kept where they need to be. The comfortable seating is a real treat feeling much more top-shelf than is usually expected in this small family category.

Underfoot the smooth, well settled ride is a welcomed ally over choppy rural back roads. The Strut (front) / Multi-link (rear) suspension arrangement although blissfully comfortable, still allows an almost sporty flavour to Golf Wagon's ride that sees tenacious grip and maximum purchase from Golf's front-wheel drive arrangement pull the little wagon through corners with eager pace and determined fluidity.

The electro-mechanical steering too is well-weighted with surprisingly crisp turn-in that almost allows you to almost forget the extra bulk Wagon's added dimensions contribute to the rear end. Especially enthusiastic driving will expose the chunky rump's greater mass - and in panormaic roof models a higher centre of gravity - but in saying that, it's not evident until driving at a pace well beyond that typically associated with comfortable family motoring.

Having only the time to experience two of new Golf Wagon's engine offerings yesterday (expect a full road test of more models over the coming weeks), it's safe to say the 103TDI (or 103kW turbo-diesel) is easily the pick of the litter. Not only does this torquey unit allow quick acceleration from rest but is punchy through winding back roads, strong on overtaking and, with a little help from the quick-thinking DSG transmission, able to iron flat hills most small wagons would struggle against.

As mentioned earlier, the new Golf Wagon range features a choice of four engines. The power, torque, 0-100 times, combined fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures for which are listed below.

Engine Line-Up:

  • 90TSI (1.4 petrol): 90kW/200Nm | 9.9 seconds | 6.7L/100km (M) / 6.2L/100km (A) | 156g/km (M) / 144g/km (A)
  • 118TSI (1.4 petrol): 118kW/240Nm | 8.4 seconds | 6.3L/100km (A) | 148g/km (A)
  • 77TDI (1.6 diesel): 77kW/250Nm | 11.9 seconds | 4.7L/100km (M) / 5.2L/100km (A) | 124g/km (M) / 135g/km (A)
  • 103TDI (2.0 diesel): 103kW/320Nm | 9.7 seconds | 5.7L/100km (A) | 149g/km (A)

Due to its small-car body, medium-car carrying capacity, Volkswagen says that the new Golf Wagon will pit itself against a number of contenders across two market categories.

In terms of its external dimensions, the Wagon's natural rivals are that of the Hyundai i30cw and Peugeot 308 Estate, though with 505-litres of cargo capacity (to window height, seats up - 1,495-litres all told), this new Golf model may also find itself challenging such rivals as the Mazda6, Subaru Liberty and Ford Mondeo - especially given its favoured combination of a diesel engine/automatic transmission, an offering not yet available on Volkswagen's Japanese rivals.

As you'd expect from a model with such wide-reaching appeal, a number of option packages and a lengthy accessories list (see gallery below for details) is also available.

The first of these is the 'Comfort' package (available on Trendline models) that allows buyers wanting the benefits of low engine capacity the chance to opt for a higher level of equipment. The package costs $2,200.00

Comfort Package (available on Trendline models):

  • 16-inch Sedona alloy wheels
  • Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped gear knob
  • Leather-wrapped park brake handle
  • Multi-function display (MFD Plus)
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Dusk-sensing headlamps
  • Coming/leaving home light function
  • Cruise control

For those already selecting upper-spec Comfortline models, but wanting a little more bling, Volkswagen now offer a 'Sport' package for just $1,800.00 more.

Sport Package (available on Comfortline models):

  • 17-inch Porto alloy wheels
  • Sports suspension
  • Dark tinted rear side and rear windows
  • Low tyre pressure indicator
  • Front foglamps with static cornering function

On the safety front, the Golf Wagon omits the driver's knee airbag found on hatch models, but includes front, side and curtain airbags as standard on all models, as well as a long list of electronic aids that include ABS, EBA, EBD, EDL, ESC (with Traction Control) and HSA (ANCAP testing to be confirmed soon).

A rigid safety cell body with front and rear crumple zones, side impact protection ensures a tough outer shell, while inside seatbelt pretensioners and brake force limiters can be found alongside (front) safety optimised head restraints (anti-whiplash) and an extendable, dual-position cargo net.

Standard Safety Equipment:

  • Anti-lock braking with Brake Assist & Electronic Brake-force Distribution
  • Hill Start Assist (DSG models only)
  • Anti-Slip Regulation (Traction Control)
  • Electronic Differential Lock (EDL)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

The new Volkswagen Golf Wagon offers a seven colour palette consisting of two solid, four metallic and one pearl effect colours are available across all models while inside, two grades of black cloth (depending on model) are standard with two optional leather upholstery choices (black and beige) also offered.

Colour Range:

  • Candy White
  • Salsa Red
  • Reflex Silver (M)
  • Silver Leaf (M)
  • Shadow Blue (M)
  • Platinum Grey (M)
  • Deep Black (P)

For a more detailed drive experience, CarAdvice will be road testing a number of new Volkswagen Golf Wagon variants over the coming weeks.

New Volkswagen Golf Wagon models are in showrooms from this weekend.