Sports-wagen | Volkswagen Golf Variant R-Line

BY Joel Tam

I've said it before - I love wagons! Now one of my favourites just got prettier.


From the time it was first introduced here some four years ago, the Volkswagen Golf Variant was always only available in R-Line form. Perhaps the sporty trim was specced to help alleviate the age-old perception that estate cars look like hearses? I would never know.

Either way, I’m not complaining. Sporty is always nice and the pre face-lifted car had a Golf R-like front, giving it a chunky and handsome frontend. This new refreshed one is no different.

At a glance it looks much like a face-lifted (Mk 7.5) a Golf GTi or R, even from the rear, the new bumper trim with faux dual exhaust tips make it look ‘faster’ than it really is. Have it blue and it might even look like a Golf R Variant!

But that’s not to say that the Golf Variant is slow. Pushing 122 bhp and 200 Nm of torque, the German estate is quite lively to drive thanks to a turbocharged 1.4 TSI that most of us are quite familiar with by now. Give it the beans and you can extract some decent performance from it. But it will struggle a little in high speeds in excess of 150 km/h.

Handling is also one of the Golf’s strengths. Though the steering is too light for my liking, you can still get some sense of feedback from it, allowing you the steer and place the car quite easily as you navigate through traffic or twisty corners.

I do remember the earlier Golf models to have poorer sound insulation too, this new car had very little noise entering the car on the move. Even when the motor was pushed hard, the engine noise was not intrusive.

Inside, the updated car is not much different from the last one. You get paddle-shifters on a multi-function steering wheel. The infotainment is updated to a Discover Pro unit with a 9.2 inch full touchscreen panel with Apple CarPlay, navigation, Drive modes - the works. The instrument panel is now a digital Active Info display.

Flip the boot and the huge trunk will swallow up soccer equipment, your car cleaning kit, luggage and more. It’s deep, yet the space is easily accessible. I just wish that it had a remote/electrically operated boot door.

A car like the Golf Variant makes perfect sense in Singapore (that may be a biased statement as I’m a big fan of estate-cars), it provides the driver versatility and is truly a capable all-rounder. There are a few items I would have liked to have (how about the 150 bhp tune in the Golf R-line and a remote boot door?), but otherwise I’d still be very happy if I had one.