Many issues in Europe are inferior to what’s in america. Showers are typically weak and ineffectual, hotel-room air con a merciless hoax, and the dimensions of each restaurant parts and parking areas usually measly. However there are areas the place Europeans get pleasure from clear benefits, together with the flexibility to decide on automobiles such because the Volkswagen Golf R wagon.
Whereas Europe has many SUVs, it hasn’t given up on station wagons. So, though the Volkswagen T-Roc R affords the identical powertrain in a barely taller bundle, consumers are additionally capable of choose the Golf R on this intriguing longroof kind. And is not this a extra elegant and sensible resolution than one more crossover?
After driving one within the U.Okay., it is genuinely exhausting to consider a better-rounded all-rounder than a 315-hp all-wheel-drive Golf wagon. With a vast funds, you could be inclined to appoint the Audi RS6 Avant as a substitute. Alas, most people do not have bottomless pockets, and the VW is significantly lower than half the value in Europe.
From the entrance finish to B-pillars, the Golf R wagon is unsurprisingly just like its hatchback sibling. Behind that, it will get an extended rear door due to a 1.9-inch wheelbase stretch, but it surely’s on the again that the most important and most blatant adjustments have occurred. Total size has elevated by a considerable 13.9 inches to 182.8 inches. The wagon’s cargo maintain is about 60 p.c roomier, which equates to eight extra cubic toes of quantity with the rear seats in place. Weight has gone up too, with the R Wagon’s roughly 3600-pound curb weight making it about 240 kilos heavier than the hatch.
The additional mass means the Golf R wagon is slower than the hatchback—which laid down a 3:04.3 time at Lightning Lap—however to not an egregious diploma. The 5200 rpm at which the turbocharged engine begins to ship its full 315 horses is barely not often reached underneath even fast highway use, whereas the utmost 310 pound-feet of torque shall be skilled repeatedly provided that it is current from simply 2100 rpm. The seven-speed DSG transmission shuffles its ratios each speedily and deftly when acceleration is known as for, and though it’s doable to shift manually utilizing the steering-wheel paddles, there by no means gave the impression to be a lot level in doing so, and the shifters themselves are plastic and really feel insubstantial.
The remainder of the dynamic expertise additionally feels higher tailored to freeway than byway. The R wagon’s steering is correct, and the automotive has a way of high-speed stability that feels as if it could be nicely suited to an unrestricted autobahn. Cruising refinement is sweet, too, with 100 mph seeming no louder than 80 mph must be. But though the R’s variable-ratio steering is exact at decrease speeds, it affords little pure suggestions, with the extra aggressive Sport and Race drive modes including additional resistance with none improve in sensation.
Chassis settings are pliant to the purpose of generally feeling comfortable. Our automotive was outfitted with the adaptive dampers, that are an extra-cost choice in Europe. They provide no fewer than 15 configurations out there in Particular person mode, however even of their firmest setting the R nonetheless had a lot of vertical motion over bigger bumps. The wagon has clearly been designed to be pushed exhausting whereas loaded; it rode noticeably higher with 4 occupants and round 100 kilos of baggage aboard.
Just like the hatchback, the R wagon has a torque-biasing rear differential meant to sharpen cornering response, and European consumers may even pay additional so as to add a Drift mode—a compellingly ludicrous choice that our automotive did not have. The diff provides its help subtly, sending torque to the skin rear wheel to assist the automotive to show in tighter corners however with out ever creating the aggressive, tip-in sensation of the final Ford Focus RS’s energetic system. It makes for high-speed, low-effort progress. This automotive is fast and stress-free versus a machine that delivers frequent adrenaline highs.
As with different variations of the eighth-generation Golf, the inside is barely underwhelming. We beloved the R’s blue plaid material seats and the great vary of driving place adjustment. We have been much less eager on each the fussy person interface and the touchscreen, which is difficult to function with out inadvertently brushing the touch-sensitive ledge beneath that controls temperature and audio quantity. The digitally augmented engine observe that’s piped into the cabin additionally gave the impression to be attempting to breed a five-cylinder soundtrack, surprisingly—possibly it is paying homage to the inline-five model of the fourth-generation Golf that Volkswagen as soon as provided (once more solely in Europe). Though the wheelbase stretch offers a slight improve in legroom for rear seat passengers, it’s nonetheless tight in again for grownup passengers.
In a parallel universe, one the place the crossover both hadn’t been invented or had been hunted to extinction, the Golf R wagon would possibly work nicely within the States. Or, certainly, wherever that folks wish to mix efficiency, practicality, and character. The longroof feels extra grown-up than the hatchback and could be simpler to stay with or to place extra stuff into. Its absence is our loss.
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