Find a driver who pilots a Porsche and odds are he or she had a VW in their lives at some point. Some use their Volkswagens as mere conveyances, others devote their entire motoring lives to the brand and its growing OEM parts catalog.
When the Golf—the cornerstone of this devotion—entered its seventh generation last year, many were skeptical yet simultaneously excited. The MkV's radical departure from boxiness was an overdue change, but VW couldn't seem to stick with it for too long. The MkVI hit showrooms before the company could fully realize the potential of that more sensual approach. Now the MkVII is here and VW seems to be finding its way back to those familiar and aggressive angles that put the Golf on the map in the late '70s.
Familiar features include the sharp beltline emerging from behind the front fender with the side marker as the starting point. The slight rise toward the taillights keeps everything composed and balanced. Just above the center of the rear wheel, a familiar shape returns to the VW design language, the side window "kink." Not to be confused with BMW's Hofmeister Kink. Similar, but Giorgetto Giugiaro pulled in details and cut marks straight from the DeTomaso Mangusta.
Today, the MkVII SportWagen seems to exaggerate these heritage elements as they add some width and elegantly cocoon the passengers in a suitable budget family hauler without entering minivan territory. Yes, a SportWagen in GTI, R, or even GTD trim would be welcomed with open arms among enthusiasts across the nation, but we'll hold our collective breath to see which final packages will be heading to the United States.
What we decided to do was go a bit A6 Allroad with the Euro SportWagen R concept. Choosing a metallic mustard yellow with black accents allows the body's lines to feel a bit more in touch with its heritage and break away from the monotony of red and blue being the only "outlier" colors in the modern VW palette. Charcoal window trim draws the eye to the iconic shape highlighting that rear "kink." Bulging fenders with durable Allroad rocker panel flares help hammer home the versatility features we'd like to add to VW's portfolio and not keep donating pocket change to our Allroad savings jar. Some go-fast bits are sure to be added to any of the turbocharged models we end up modding, and appropriate airflow is needed. By the same token of opening up that front valance, a wider and more menacing look is achieved.
Stance is always appropriate when creating a "utility" machine. Laying the frame down, via static or air, is bound to pose some long-term problem for those who live in areas with potholed and undulating roads. We chose a more capable rally-inspired adjustable suspension setup with 18x9-inch HRE Vintage Series 501M wheels finished in hunter green.
Practicality, reliability, and aggressive styling are growing pillars of tuning these days. With manufacturers taking personalization more seriously each year, expect an even greater number of crossover parts to enter the catalogs of several brands. VW has been pioneering this method for decades, and its loyal fans around the world have been perfecting it. Porsche and Audi parts eventually find their way onto family VW vehicles, and our take is no different. What we hope to inspire is a generation of modern vehicles that delivers what everyone has been demanding for years: a fair shake at the global VW Group parts bin. Is that so much to ask?