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Stevers' 2015 VW Golf SportWagen TDI test drive

steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
edited August 2015 in Volkswagen
We're shopping for something a bit smaller than our usual minivan and have been testing CR-Vs, HR-Vs, Souls, Prius Vs, CX-5s, Scion xBs, Escapes, Buick Encores and some others, all in the last 18 months or so.

This morning's test drive was in a TDI S version featuring perforated leatherette. The interior was hot sitting on the lot with no ventilation. The salesperson managed to park it in the shade for 5 minutes with the AC blasting so my wife could sit in it (97°F out today). I had a bit of trouble with the AC but once I (well, really my wife) got the vents figured out, it worked fine. Much better than the HR-V we drove last week. Guess I've been spoiled by the AC in the Grand Caravan - it keeps up nicely on our hot days.

The sound system sounded good and there were all kinds of slots in the glove box for MP3s. Mostly intuitive controls although I kept turning the radio off when switching XM stations around.

I felt a lag upon acceleration (turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder). So did my wife. Didn't bother her, kind of bothers me. Probably simply something to get used to. We tested an automatic - there was a higher trim six speed with panaromic sunroof, but we are done with manuals, at least for a primary vehicle (the old ski injury, rod in the leg worry). We'd also go for a gasser, since besides the trick leg, my wife has allergies, and diesel can trigger her mild asthma. But that's more of an issue with trucks in traffic or perhaps fueling. No worries driving this rig around or walking around it while it was idling and cooling down inside.

The seats were nicely bolstered with those typical "these are too hard" VW seats that wind up being comfy all day long. It was kind of an odd combo with a manual front/back adjustment and manual height adjustment yet power tilt. The lumbar was simple but worked. Would much prefer cloth though, especially in this climate. Didn't play with the tilt.

I like to drive a bit splayed out and my knees usually bump something. No issue riding in the passenger seat unless someone was behind me, but my right knee rested on the console in the driver's side. Not bad, but you know there's mostly air in those consoles. They should narrow them by a couple of inches. The cutout in the doors worked well however.

There was a nice size empty in the back although the floor to ceiling height would be a concern. The seats had to be flipped down from the rear doors but since there's a good length of floor space in the back, that's an okay trade-off.

There was good visibility out the windows. The backup camera was okay, but nowhere close to the HR-V's. That one is a class leader, at least in this class. It didn't feel especially "darty" or "sporty". Great turning circle. I felt some bumps in town but nothing unusual. Cruised well on the freeway. Nice vehicle overall.

The biggest issue was that it just kind of boring. Reminded us of our old Outback and my wife wants something a bit snazzier. The Monroney was missing on this one so I don't have much idea what the asking price was.


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    A reporter is looking to talk with a VW diesel owner affected by the recall. Please email [email protected] today, 9/21/15, if you would like to share your perspective.
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