You might think that after driving a Dodge Challenger Hellcat during the week of the Woodward Dream Cruise, seven days with a diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf SportWagen would be a letdown. You know, like following a shot of Jack Daniels with a sippy cup of Metamucil. But it ended up being perfect timing. Right at the end of my Challenger loan, I signed my name what felt like 1,241 times, handed over a very, very large check, and officially bought my first home. The SportWagen arrived on moving day, and I set about putting the longroof's hauling ability to the ultimate test, schlepping everything I own to my very first house. SportWagens, like Metamucil, can often be very good for you. The wagon's cargo area isn't dramatically bigger than the standard Golf – 30.4 cubic feet versus 22.8 – unless you fold the second row down. With the seats flat, the Golf SportWagen's advantage nearly doubles, to 66.5 cubic feet. But it's not just the extra space that makes moving things a lot easier. The rear hatch is more defined and sits atop a lower bumper. The load height is just 24.8 inches, while the tailgate opens to an aperture of 40.6 inches. It also opens high enough that your six-foot, one-inch author can stand tall below it. The load height is just 24.8 inches, while the tailgate opens to an aperture of 40.6 inches. In short, loading stuff into the back was a breeze. While you might expect the Golf SportWagen to make short work of a bunch of boxes, it was easy to add larger items into the mix. I hauled nightstands, a large desk chair, and even all four pieces of a king-size IKEA bed frame with a minimal amount of fuss. That said, Volkswagen uses nice materials in the cargo compartment of the Golf, so if you frequently move a lot of stuff, expect to see visible wear sooner rather than later. If you prefer to move people instead of things, rest easy knowing the wagon mimics the Golf hatchback's 35.6 inches of rear legroom. Moving locally meant a lot of back-and-forth trips. Between the actual move itself and the subsequent running around, I put 600 miles on the Golf SportWagen during my week-long loan. But with this car, I could have done way more and wouldn't have found cause to complain. It's the little details that make the Golf feel premium. The Golf's cabin is a great place to be. The material quality is top notch, and while the overall styling isn't as clean or as classy as something like the Mazda3, the cabin feels like it's a step above the rest in terms of fit and finish. It isn't the big-ticket items that impress me. It's the little details, like LED reading lamps in the rear, that make the Golf feel premium. Other subtle touches include contrast stitching on the two-tone leatherette seats and a parking brake that has a piano-black topper and real leather …
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|MPG||25 City / 36 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd man w/OD|
|Power||170 @ 4500 rpm|
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