Autojourno Nirvana: The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL.
There's a bit of an inside half-joke in automotive journalist circles that the ideal car is a brown diesel station wagon with a stick shift.  Well, it wasn't brown and it didn't have a stick (though you can get one), but the all-new 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI checks off all the other boxes and shows just why those of us who eat, sleep and write cars find the combination so appealing.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL.
First, a disclaimer.  My time in the Golf SportWagen TDI was a lot shorter than I'd have liked it to be, with far fewer miles driven than optimal.  It arrived two days before I was due to leave on a five-day family vacation to Southern California.  We would have taken the SportWagen (in fact, it was my ride of choice), but our schedule put us back in Folsom one day past the scheduled pickup date and the prep and delivery folks couldn't stretch the loan that extra day, so it spent five of the seven days it was in our hands parked 400 miles from my eager hands.

In the two days I was able to drive it, though, it was immediately a favorite.  Solid, strong, reasonably quick and seriously fuel-sipping.  The EPA says 31 city/42 highway and I believe that.  The needle never moved off  "F" during the time I had it.  If I had been able to take it on our 1,100 mile vacation and had been willing to abandon my "never let the tank drop below a quarter full" rule, the 13.2 gallon tank times 42 miles per gallon suggests the trip could have been made on just two tanks of diesel with eight miles to spare.

Interior view of 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI SEL interior.
Ours was the top-of-the-line SEL. Outside of the luxury class, Volkswagen is turning out the best interiors in the industry right now, and the new Golf cockpit is no exception.  Going all the way and getting the SEL gets you a lot for your $31,445.  18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, fog lights, heated, power-adjustable and foldable mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, a cooled glove compartment, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle, leatherette seating surfaces, a rearview camera, navigation, a killer Fender premium audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and keyless entry.

Options?  Just two...a lighting package (adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps, LED running lights and LED interior lighting) for $995 and the Driver Assistance Package (collision warning, automatic post-collision braking and front and rear parking sensors) for $695.  With $820 destination charge, the bottom line was $33,955.

Basically, it was love at first drive on a very brief blind date.  Hopefully, the good folks at VW will get us back behind the wheel again soon (maybe a manual transmission example?) when we can spend many more hours and miles deepening our appreciation.