A wagon, SUV, and a ‘Bug’ each offers their own unique driving delights
The 2019 Golf SportWagen 1.4T S is what Volkswagen calls “The Sportier Utility Vehicle” – and from our view it appears to be true. This FWD wagon design was sporty enough, offered generous interior/cargo space, was fun to drive, and provided excellent fuel economy.
Our tester was powered by the 1.4-L turbo 16-valve engine (there is a 1.8-L available on the 4Motion AWD trim, the middle of three SportWagen models) and was mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission. Fuel ratings are 29/city and 37/highway (32 MPG overall) and we reaped just under 33 MPG for a weeklong drive.
We liked the electro-mechanical rack and pinion steering on the 103.5-inch wheelbase SportWagen, and its unitary body construction with two solid mounted subframes that created a tight feel. The front suspension is a strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. On the multi-link rear there are also coil springs, telescopic dampers, and a slightly smaller anti-roll bar. Overall handling was delightful.
The interior space on the Golf wagon is generous (cargo capacity 30.4 cubic feet; 66.5 cubic feet with rear seats folded) and the 60/40 rear-folding seat makes it quite usable. It offers high-quality materials, a tilt/telescoping (and leather-wrapped) steering wheel, and instrumentation is functional without being overly complicated. There are lots of tech standard (rear view camera, USB ports, Bluetooth technology, and more), and a six-speaker audio system.
One of our favorite standards on the Golf SportWagen is the heated/foldable outside mirrors that also have integrated turn signals. We also like the LED front and rear lighting, Hill Hold Control system, plus the 15-inch all season tires (mounted on alloy wheels) gripped the well.
Now, our best “like” is the price on the S model of the SportWagen. Base price is $21,895 and we had but one option, a Driver Assistance Package (forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind sport warning, etc.) for a mere $450. With all this small wagon offers, that’s a great price.
Plenty of likeable features on the Ford Edge
Our recently tested 2019 Ford Edge ST AWD was an enjoyable vehicle both on- and off-road. Part of our happiness with this midsize SUV is related to the peppy 2.7-L turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost engine that creates 335 HP and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with stop/start, Ford’s first use of this technology in an eight-speed. EPA/DOT fuel ratings are 19 MPG/city and 26/highway, just about what we experienced over seven days.
The top of four trims, the Edge ST has multiple standard features that we both like and appreciate, including LED lighting, LED fog lamps that we used three times successfully, heated outside mirrors that fold, rain-sensing wipers, aluminum sport pedals, ambient interior lighting, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio/cruise controls, a Ford performance tuned suspension, Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, plus safety/function features such as Lane-Keeping System, Blind Spot Information System, pre-collision warning, rear-view camera, and more.
Add to those likeable features the Intelligent AWD with sensors that monitor torque and traction. With the 2019, however, is Ford’s first offering of the AWD Disconnect that allows the rear axle to be disconnected so the SUV can operate in front-wheel-drive.
Our only dislike on the Edge were the 21-inch performance tires on our test unit (part of an option package) that made the handling more challenging and the ride less pleasant. Just weeks before this test, we drove a 2019 Edge Titanium and felt the standard 20-inch all-season tires offered a better ride.
The Edge is one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 12 SUVs, and 2019 contender for Motor Trend’s SUV of the year. While a base Edge starts just under $30,000, the ST AWD begins at $42,335 and works up with packages and options.
Bye, bye, Beetle
Over the past 39 years of testing and reviewing cars and trucks, we’ve driven perhaps 10 Volkswagen Bugs, but a late-May test of the 2019 Beetle 2.0T Final Edition SE may have been our last. As its name implies, the Beetle is going away with final production in Puebla, Mexico, in late July.
The first VW Beetles came to the U.S. in 1949 and were basically the same for model years 1950-1979. For those of us who drove those very plain, no frills Bugs, it was crystal clear they were vastly underpowered, not very comfortable, and had heater/defroster systems were almost non-existent. But they were cheap and a few gallons of fuel allowed the Bugs roll down the road for days.
Over the years, the Beetles became more stylish, indeed more comfortable, and powered with dramatically improved engines. The third-generation 2019 Final Edition is a very cute, and quite usable, FWD car – a perfect final version with a 2.0-L TSI engine, 17-inch wheels/tires, heated/folding outside mirrors, plentiful tech and safety features, and a power sliding moonroof.
Our Beetle SE had an MSRP of $23,045 with no options. Just as it should be for a final edition that became the New Beetle in 1998.