Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Smooth, economical engines
  • No hybrid or electric options
  • Performance versions offer thrills

Depending upon your requirements you can mix and match a variety of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines with both manual and DSG automatic gearboxes, with the greatest Volkswagen Golf Estate performance delivered by the R version.

READ: We compare the hot VW Golf R against its SEAT Leon Cupra rival

Both it and the GTD are your sportier choices with the estate body: unlike the hatchback, there is no GTI derivative. Neither is there a GTE plug-in hybrid nor all-electric version either.

Petrol power

As part of the 2017 facelift, the fuel-efficient 1.0-litre TSI BlueMotion and 1.2-litre TSI powerplants were dropped in favour of two revised versions of the 1.0-litre TSI.

Entry-level Golf Estates see an 85hp edition of this three-cylinder engine, producing 175Nm of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is the only gearbox available here and the quoted 0-62mph of 12.6 seconds may indicate how this entry-level engine may struggle with the Estate’s weight, especially when fully laden.

Likely to be more popular is the 110hp version of the same powerplant, producing 200Nm of torque from 2,000rpm.

Available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, it appears quite sprightly on paper, with both versions posting a 122mph and a 10.4-second 0-62mph time.

Joining the range in 2017 are two new 1.5-litre TSI Evo powerplants in 130hp and 150hp forms. The former replaces the previous 125hp 1.4-litre TSI, and the latter is limited to GT and R-Line models.

Performance and torque figures for the 130hp 1.5-litre are yet to be confirmed, but both are available with a six-speed manual or optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

Regardless of gearbox, the 150hp 1.5-litre produces 250Nm of pulling power, achieves a top speed of 135mph and has a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds.

Rapid Golf Estate R model

Sharing its 2.0-litre TSI engine and 4Motion four-wheel drive system with the hatchback, the Golf Estate R packs a 310hp punch, with 380Nm of torque at 2,000rpm delivering the accelerative force.

Worry not that the only gearbox option is the seven-speed DSG automatic, this remains one very quick wagon: top speed is electronically governed to 155mph, while it darts to 62mph from a standstill in 4.8 seconds.

Diesel derivatives

Smallest of the diesel engines are a pair of 1.6-litre TDIs, in 90hp and 115hp forms. They deliver 230Nm and 250Nm of torque, respectively, both driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual. A seven-speed DSG automatic is available on the punchier engine.

While the lower-powered version has yet to have its performance figures announced, the gutsier derivative manages 124mph and requires 10.7 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint, irrespective of gearbox.

The larger 2.0-litre TDI is also available in two outputs: 150hp and, exclusively for the GTD and GTD BlueLine, 184hp. Six-speed manuals and seven-speed DSG automatics are available with both versions.

With 340Nm of torque available, the less-powerful version only requires a sprightly 8.9 seconds to undertake the 0-62mph dash, with the manual pressing-on to a top speed of 135 mph; 1mph more than the DSG-equipped version.

For the GTD and GTD BlueLine, torque’s increased to 380Nm, still from 1,750rpm, which shaves a full second off the 0-62mph time for manual versions, dropping to 7.8 seconds on DSG-equipped models. Top speed is 144mph for both transmissions.

Smooth-shifting DSG automatic gearbox

The optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox changes gear seamlessly with very little jerkiness under most driving conditions. It can be sluggish to engage from standstill however, leaving you floundering at roundabouts or junctions.

  • Safe, predictable handling characteristics
  • Superb traction on Golf R especially
  • Effective adaptive suspension system

Like its hatchback counterpart, this-generation Volkswagen Golf Estate has been on quite a diet, during which it’s lost a considerable 105kg compared with its predecessor. Additionally, it’s lower and has a wider, more muscular stance. These factors pay dividends in terms of improving the handling, which feels barely different to the hatchback Golf.

By keeping its weight closer to the ground the Volkswagen Golf Estate is able to remain more stable through corners, having less of a tendency to roll as it sweeps through bends. This also helps when the overall weight of the car increases with a heavy payload in the boot.

Turn the Golf Estate through corners on a twisty B-road and it’s a lightly rewarding, pleasant companion – but it’s not a sports car wearing a huge backpack, at least in the lower echelons of the range.

The electric power steering system offers little real feel of what the front wheels are doing but by becoming heavier at higher speeds it compensates for it reasonably well. You can vary the weighting via the driver mode controls.

Never do you feel detached from the driving experience and corners can be tackled quickly due to the Volkswagen’s high levels of traction, amplified by the standard-fit XDS electronic differential metering power to the front wheels.

Choose the optional Adaptive Chassis Control system to switch between Normal, Comfort and Sport suspension modes via the dashboard touchscreen. Driver and passengers will notice a difference between the settings, mainly by the ride quality changing. Thankfully selecting Comfort doesn’t make the Golf wallow through bends, nor does Sport have you searching the floor mats for any lost fillings.

High-performance Golf Estate R

With its 4Motion four-wheel drive package and an uprated XDS+ electronic differential – the latter shared with the GTD – for even sharper cornering, the Golf Estate R is as impressive as its hatchback counterpart.

Traction is rarely found wanting as the system detects when wheels are beginning to spin and diverts power to the remaining ones within fractions of a second.
You can cover ground very quickly but, although it’s not as fast, the Ford Focus ST Estate is likely to put a bigger smile on your face thanks to its lairiness being cranked up. The Golf R is its more demure foil.