ROAD TEST: Wagon Vs. Crossover – Volkswagen’s 2016 Golf SportWagen Against Mazda’s 2017 CX3 – Forbes

Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2016

Station wagons are a quintessential part of our American landscape despite being unfairly clobbered saleswise over the last 20 years by Sport Utility Vehicles. We found Mazda’s CX3 Grand Touring “subcompact crossover SUV” particularly wagon-like and Volkswagen’s Golf Sportwagen a weeklong blast, and so decided to put them together for comparison here, in case you happen to be on the fence.

2016 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TSI

2016-volkswagen-golf-sportwagen-tsi

It is nonsense-free, this car; you adjust the seats by hand, there’s an actual key that goes in an actual transmission to start and stop it, it’s got a stick shift on the floor with 5 forward gears and a clutch, and there’s nothing fru-fru about it. Our tester was silver, also a masculine, no-nonsense color. Its stick-and-clutch was a refreshing pleasure in a current world of continuously variable transmission, paddle or hockey-puck shifters and other lame ways to move through one’s gears.

Yet the SportWagen’s cockpit is refined, with a handsome, efficient dashboard face, the seats are cloth but comfy, the back seat is roomy and the rear hatch has a pull-over trunk cover to shield your property.

The interior comes in black or beige in S and SE trims; SEL trims give buyers a choice of two-tone black and grey or all black. Its cargo capacity is more than generous, with 30.4 cubic feet available with seats up and 66.5 folded down, with the proverbial 60/40 split seats available. There’s also a unique storage unit under the rear floor where you can either store semi-valuables while parked, or keep your grocery bags upright.

In your infotainment system, “Apple CarPlay” and “Android Auto” make this the first wagon with this technology in this price range. (Around $21,625.)  The system works as well as you ask it to, although you may want to skip buying the car’s available nav system if your Smart phone works particularly well.

We loved this car.  We’d buy 100 of right now if we could and give them away as Christmas presents.

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