2018 Volkswagen Golf Walk Around

Volkswagen is stubborn in its clinging to pure rather than trendy styling, and bless their hearts for it. The Golf is clean, especially the SportWagen, and it’s a great relief. It’s not edgy, it’s smooth. No attitude. It mirrors the engineering.

That said, the GTI does bring some sport and maybe attitude. Its stance is lower, on the sport suspension, while the red brake calipers show between the spokes of the 17-inch alloy wheels. There are side skirts and a rear diffuser, as well. And you can’t have a diffuser without showing your attitude.

The Alltrack has some exterior elements that the cleaner SportWagen doesn’t have: cladding on its lower sides, foglamps, a honeycomb grille, and its own bumpers.


The cabin is as clean as the body, functional and spacious. The materials are not expensive but don’t feel cheap. The instrumentation is intuitive and easy to read and operate. The driver doesn’t have to work to understand his car, unlike so many German cars. The centerstack is oriented toward the driver, and the gauges are hooded so there’s no glare. Some thinking has clearly gone into the design.

The GTI and Golf R have a sport steering wheel and shift knob, stainless steel pedals, and an instrument panel with no-nonsense gauges. The sport seats are a plaid fabric, with a black headliner and red ambient lighting.

We got great seat time during one week in a 4Motion SportWagen, a long road trip, and we found the cabin to totally easy, comfortable, relaxing, and very quiet. The powertrain and suspension had much to do with that, of course.

The front seats are the best, perfectly supportive and easy to adjust for all body sizes. The leatherette feels a bit rubbery, while the less expensive but rugged plaid upholstery feels just fine.

There three touchscreens: base 5.0 inch, upper trim 6.5 inch, and top option 8.0 inch. This big screen gets its own new infotainment system.

It might be a bit tight in the back seat for three passengers, but it’s easy to climb in and out. In the hatchback, there are 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, that’s quite a lot. The seatbacks lower with a quick pull release, to open things up for 52.7 cubic feet. Bring in the SportWagen, and you have 30.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat, and 66.5 with it folded, although unfortunately it doesn’t fold completely flat.

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