GREEN CHOICE
2016
GREEN CHOICE

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

In updating the Jetta SportWagen to the Golf architecture, Volkswagen has renamed it the Golf SportWagen. A 170-hp, 1.8 liter gas-turbo is available with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. In our tests of the Golf with the 1.8-liter engine and automatic, we got 28 mpg overall. Volkswagen claims the new SportWagen is longer and wider than previous, and has as much cargo space as most small SUVs.
Alerts
There is 1 recall on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
NA
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
NA
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
NA
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
NA
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
NA
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
NA
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
NA
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
NA
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
NA
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
NA
Fuel Economy & Emissions
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
NA
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Model Summary
In updating the Jetta SportWagen to the Golf architecture, Volkswagen has renamed it the Golf SportWagen. A 170-hp, 1.8 liter gas-turbo is available with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. In our tests of the Golf with the 1.8-liter engine and automatic, we got 28 mpg overall. Volkswagen claims the new SportWagen is longer and wider than previous, and has as much cargo space as most small SUVs. It is available with features such as the Advanced Front-lighting System and Park Distance Control.
Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 5-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (170 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"The drains for the panoramic sunroof are too small and get clogged. When that happens water comes through and wets the headliner."

Anonymous, MA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Sunroof leaked 2 times and the car had to be completely rebuilt, carpets, new chairs, sensors for heated seats, cabin filter"

Anonymous, MD (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Leaking sun roof twice in one year."

Anonymous, DC (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The panoramic sunroof leaks into the headliner and onto my lap. The sunroof was replaced once and the problem recently recurred."

Anonymous, MA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Water leak from sunroof in heavy rain. Appears to be covered by recent recall to replace and/or clean sunroof drains."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Moon roof drain lines clogged in yearn two. Caused water to leak from rear view mirror assembly and damaged electronic.s under the dashboard."

Anonymous, (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Sunroof drain needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, RI (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"I noticed frost, and then water in the spare well, vacuumed it out, and dismissed it as condensation. When I saw it again a few months later, not long after reaching the 36,000 mile warranty limit, VW told me to take it in for diagnosis. I said I'd wait at the dealership, and every few hours the service manager told me they were still working on it, trying to figure out where the water was coming from. At 5:30 PM they finally gave me a loaner and I left. I then read many online reports of crushed sunroof drain hoses in the rear of the cars made in the Mexico plant, because assembly was done wrong, causing foam blocks to push the hoses closed. Eventually the dealership called me and told me that the cost to repair was $1200. VW would pay $600, I would pay the rest. I inspected the car at the dealership and took photos that exactly matched the collapsed drain hose I'd seen online. The service manager also pointed out the musty smell which I had previously noticed but dismissed as a hydrocarbon gasoline odor on startup. I contacted VW since this was seemed to be a factory defect, but they would not make any allowance since the warranty was expired. I paid the $600, they replaced the headliner and reportedly the hose, but I never received any itemization of the repair. The car continues to have a musty smell. In February 2020 I received a recall notice to have them clean out the FRONT drainage hoses, but it said nothing about the REAR hoses that I had seen."

Anonymous, WI (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Sun roof drain had kink in it and clogged leading to having a puddle in the car. VW replaced weather stripping, carpeting and seats under warranty"

Matthew S., MD (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"sunroof leaked and that caused mold in the car. I elected not to replace the mold infected areas because it would have cost almost $2000."

Jerry S., NY (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The sunroof developed a problem leading to water leaking into the trunk area and pooling under the floor of the trunk where the spare tire is stored. It required maintenance to remove the sunroof to clean the drainage system and it seems to be a design flaw with the car. The dealer suggested I should have the drains cleaned every couple years."

Anonymous, ON (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaks or rattles

"Thumping or rumble in back of car. Dealer can't find cause. Functinoally all is o/w well w/ vehicle"

Anonymous, DC (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"L front electric window rattling, dealer says it is ok"

Anonymous, DC (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Wind noise

"High speed wind noise"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Really Annoying wind noise at drivers side mirror that VW reports is common and unfixable. The car is wonderful and quiet except for that but it's REALLY annoying"

Erik H., AZ (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Windows"

Jonathan P., CA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"check engine light problem...part solved by software recall and cheanging to top tier 93 octane fuel"

Bernard H., PA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"There is a recurring check engine light. They have not been able to permanently fix it. Over the past 6 months it has been back to the service department 4 times. Service departments are not convenient -- no walk-in or Saturday service, and almost no loaners. Mind you, the car runs great"

Joe R., NY (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"This car has problem that VW apparently cannot fix. Every once in a while the car will power down dramatically and stutter/shake when the gas peddle is pushed. It is like an athlete limping off the field! The EPC code comes on when this occurs. After a minute or two the the car works again but the EPC code remains on until the car is restarted. The car has been in the dealer several times for this issue since new. On and off for over 2 years!!! At one point it sat at the dealer for about two months as they said they were waiting for a fix from VW. They said they had several cars with the same issue. During that time I was given a loaner car. I have no complaints with the dealer. They have been great. It was last fixed at the end of last summer. The problem recurred two weeks ago. I have not taken the car back in because I am trying to get in touch with someone in VW management about this. My attempts have so far have been frustrating to say the least! Last summer when the problem occurred I contacted VW customer relations and attempted to speak with someone in management. I was told that was not possible. I asked for the phone number or email address of the VW Canada president. I was told that she does not have one. I then tried to asked to speak to someone in VW technical through my dealership. I was told that if they gave me a number they would get in big trouble with VW. Someone did eventually call (after the dealer spoke with them) and left a message. When I called back they did not reply. The car was then fixed for (I think the third or fourth time) and I decided not to pursue the issue further. Since the last repair the car has been fine until the car did the same thing about two weeks ago. I consider this a safety issue. Under the right circumstances it could result in an accident. At present, I am trying again to get in touch with someone in VW management. So far I am not successful. I am hoping to get a clear statement from VW about what they think the nature of the problem is and how they are going to next try and fix it. If they fix it and it again reoccurs then I want VW to replace the car as it will then have a defect they cannot obviously resolve. As it is this car cannot be sold to anyone under good conscience . It is defective. I am hoping Consumer Reports can help out in some way with this."

Anonymous, ON (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Oil leaks

"Oil pan leak. Replaced 2 part oil pan & oil sensor. $600 repair covered by warranty."

Anonymous, VA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"The whole radio infotainment system had to be replaced due to cd not ejecting. Biggest problem was transferring subscription of Sirius XM to the new radio without paying a transfer fee."

Tom M., OR (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen freezes up

"Radio reset itself, froze and then went blank regularly. Tested twice and VW replaced it as it was a defective part not receiving data from required source"

Matthew S., MD (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"The in-dash navigation system started to fail to initialize after starting the vehicle. The dealer diagnosed the problem as a failed radio unit, in which the navigation system is integrated. The dealer replaced the radio unit at no charge despite the car being beyond its warranty period. There have been no issues since replacement."

Anonymous, NY (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Radio

"Radio completely stoped working, replace under warranty. Sunroof drain plugged up or kinked during manufacture causing car to flood, replaced passenger, back seat and all carpets under warranty"

Matthew S., MD (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Sensor failure"

Anonymous, (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Slipping transmission

"It showed up after I had made a turn after slowing down or had stopped Around 3 times before I tooted the car to be fixed. The incidents were not consecutive. The VW service people fixed the problem."

Anonymous, IL (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"The sensor transmits a message to stop driving the car, either the engine/transmission symbol lights up or the dash says Put in park while driving. It took a number of visits to the dealer to figure out that it was a transmission solenoid problem. Apparently, this turns out to be the subject of a recall, but no solution is yet available. It has occurred more than once."

Joe R., NY (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel cap

"Even when tightened properly can still cause engine light to go on. Also, fuel cap door became stuck and could only be opened with a screwdriver until replaced"

Anonymous, KS (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Fuel pump

"Gave out at 25000 miles, had to be towed to the dealership"

Michael H., IN (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Engine problem light kept going on, car ran rough. They finally diagnosed after two trips"

Anonymous, KS (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"From moment of purchase, A/C did not blow cold air. Dealer said everything was fine. I located a VW TSB re compressor problems with this model. Another dealer checked A/C system, said compressor was fine, but added refrigerant, which helped a little. When hot, I drive Tiguan"

Anonymous, VA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Air conditioning was intermitantly bad. It turned out to be a sticky valve and I had to make several trips to the dealer before they were able to verify the problem."

Anonymous, CO (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Keyless entry

"warning light on dash says "battery low" for both keys - despite having changed the batteries already after less than one year of ownership. Dealer gave bogus answer about not storing the key closer than 20 feet to the car. ."

Joe M., CA (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Twice I have had to have the rear bumper repainted as paint was peeling where it met the body. My guess is too tight a fit, which caused rubbing. Otherwise the paint is fine."

Anonymous, CO (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8T 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Sunroof

"Sunroof drain leaked three times, first due to poor manufacturing as the drain pipe was twisted and second leak caused by a poorly sanded weld, causing the seal to detatch. Third time drain plugged up. In each case car filled with water - first two covered by warranty and third time by insurance at $4500.... Service recall only to clean drain so the serious flaw in the car's design is understood by VW as I have seen complaints about it on the internet and class action lawsuits in states other than my own."

Anonymous, MD (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Thermostat

"Thermostat sensor was bad and caused an error code. Did not notice any performance issues. Was replaced under warranty."

Anonymous, UT (2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

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