Hitch your wagon

by Petrol Mum
VW Golf R wagon

Are you caught between a hot hatch and family commitments? Still want to feel the thrill of driving, but need boot space and room in the back seats? Then the Volkswagen Golf R wagon could be the vehicle for you.

The Golf R wagon has a longer wheelbase than the Golf R hatch, but the lowered chassis still gives its side profile a sleek stance and with this Lapiz Blue metallic paint it is very handsome indeed. Lightweight 19” alloy wheels, a prominent front spoiler with IQ.LIGHT matrix LED headlights with Dynamic Light and a diffuser flanked by four chrome-plated twin tailpipes with LED rear tail lights complete the sporty look exterior of the Golf R wagon.  

Power comes from a 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder inline turbocharged petrol engine generating 235kW of and 420Nm of torque. Acceleration is decent with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds. The official combined fuel consumption is 7.4L/100km and for my week with this performance wagon I used 9.9L/100km. The wagon grips the tarmac thanks to 4MOTION all-wheel drive with R-Performance torque vectoring and the flexibility of Adaptive Chassis Control. I thought the Golf R wagon had a comfortable ride, but the exhaust could be louder in sportier drive modes.

There are six drive modes to select from in this wagon, Comfort, Sport and Race and then three sub-modes under Race, Drift, Special, which has been tuned on the demanding Nürburgring-Nordschleife, and Individual mode. Under the Individual mode you can customise Dynamic Chassis Control, steering, drive, engine sound, adaptive cruise control and light assistance. The quickest way to access the performance of the Golf R wagon is to hit the ‘R’ button on sporty-looking steering wheel, taking you straight to Race mode. The all-wheel drive is paired with a 7-speed DSG transmission and the taco above the dash acts like a shift indicator and flashes red to indicate when you need to shift up, if you are ‘manually’ changing gears with the plastic steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Considering the sporting pedigree of the Golf R, I do think these paddle shifters should have been metal.  

Thankfully the front seats do live up to the Golf R name, these Black Nappa leather appointed seats feature gorgeous perforations with a blue highlight and an embroidered ‘R’ on the fixed headrests. Both front seats are heated and cooled and the driver’s seat has power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, 2-way lumbar with three memory positions. The passenger seat only has manual adjustment for recline, forward/back and one seat height.

The Golf R wagon has what VW calls an ‘Innovision Cockpit’, the combination of a Digital Cockpit Pro with multiple customisable views and a high-resolution 10-inch Discover Pro Navigation System ($1,000 option) offering an array of infotainment options, plus the driver gets head-up display as well. I like how the infotainment screen and dash have been incorporated together. On the downside the gloss black surrounds do attract dust and the screen gets bad finger-marks on it. The infotainment has gesture control and once again I could not get this to operate correctly. Like the Golf R hatch I previously drove, the voice control did not work for me for making calls, changing the radio station or setting a destination on the sat nav. Media sources include My Media, Bluetooth, FM/DAB+ and AM, which had poor reception in the outer suburbs of Sydney.

The carbon-style decorative inserts and selectable ambient lighting with 30 colours to choose from finish off the cabin ambience nicely in the Golf R wagon. I also liked the stubby gear shifter and its matt grey plastic surround, so dust is less of an issue. The central cup holder can accommodate different sized cups and has a removable rubber mat at the base to make it easy to clean up spills or there are large storage cubbies in front doors that are felt lined to prevent rattles. At the front of the centre console is a pad for wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto that easily connected to my smartphone. The phone is placed under a cover and this removes the temptation of picking your phone up and above the cover there are two USB-C ports and a 12V outlet in the centre console.

The rear seats have ample head and leg room for two adults to fit and the Golf R has two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but the vehicle width means most likely that only two car seats would fit. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with three different sized, rigid cup holders in it and there is good-sized drink bottle storage in the rear cubbies and these are felt lined to prevent rattles.

Rear passengers have separate digital temperature control with two central vents with manual on/off and direction control and if required the rear temp can be controlled from the front of the vehicle as well. Under the vents there are two USB-C ports and at top of the front seats are two pockets to store devices.

The Golf R wagon has gesture open boot, but not close as far as I could tell? Or you can open/close from button under boot lid, key fob and button in cabin. The boot is a good size and easily swallows the weekly shop and most likely a pram and a small shop. There are four substantial tie downs, two hooks, one light and one 12V outlet and being a low vehicle also means that it is easy to reach right into the boot. For extra room the rear seats have a 40:60 split with manual release in the boot plus a central ‘peek-a-boo’ door for long items. The tyre repair kit is neatly packaged in the side of the boot, but the lack of a spare tyre did make me nervus with these low-profile tyres.

All eighth generation Golfs have a 5-star ANCAP (2019) safety rating and have eight airbags comprising driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, rear seat side airbags and curtain airbags, front and rear. The ANCAP Adult Occupant Protection score is 95% (36.29 points out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 89% (43.77 points out of 49). For convenience the Golf R has a standard rear-view camera with an outline of the vehicle adjacent with 360o sensors with Park Assist, auto lights and rain sensing wipers. 

The Golf R comes standard with VW’s IQ.DRIVE, a suite of active safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control, Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, Front Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Monitoring functions, Lane Assist and Traffic Jam Assist. ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in most scenarios. ANCAP tests of the lane support system functionality showed some GOOD performance, including in several of the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios. Overall performance of the lane support system was classified as GOOD and the ANCAP score for Safety Assist is 80%.

All new Volkswagen vehicles come with a 5 Year Unlimited kilometre warranty and a 1-year membership to Volkswagen Roadside Assist. If you service your Volkswagen at an authorised Volkswagen Dealer, you can receive an additional 12 months Roadside Assistance. The service interval for the Golf R wagon is one year or 16,500km, whichever occurs first. Owners can purchase an upfront 5-Year Care Plan for the Golf R that covers standard service costs can be purchased for non-commercial use vehicles for $ $3,000 (first service free), saving $833 off the Assured Service Pricing RRP.

VW Golf R wagon front

The Volkswagen Golf R wagon has style, power and practicality making it a great family car option that isn’t an SUV. The Golf R wagon is priced from $68,990 excluding on-toad costs and as tested my Lapiz Blue wagon was $69,990 excluding on-roads. Find out more using the online Configurator or visit your preferred Volkswagen dealer.

A great blend of power and practicalityThe plastic paddle shifters
The front seatsPatchy AM radio reception in outer Sydney area
Three-zone climate controlExhaust could be louder

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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