If there's one model we miss in the local Volkswagen range, it would be the Golf GTS.
Also known as the Golf Sportwagen, it combined a lot of things car enthusiasts like in a daily driver. The Golf GTS was practical, good on fuel, and surprisingly punchy thanks to its turbodiesel engine. Sadly, we don't get that anymore since the seventh-generation Golf has ceased production.
However, there might be a substitute for the long-roof Golf, and it's called the Gran Lavida. Yes, there is a wagon version of the Lavida, but it's nothing like the one sitting in local showrooms at the moment. Instead, the new Gran Lavida rides on the same platform as the eighth-generation Golf and seventh-generation Jetta.
But why the Gran Lavida instead of the Golf Sportwagen in Europe? That's because Volkswagen Philippines sources their units from SAIC-VW, so perhaps this model has a better chance of landing here than the German-built Golf.
It's not quite as long as the Golf station wagon, but it can still carry a lot of things at the back. The Gran Lavida has a minimum cargo capacity of 435 liters and a maximum of 1,342 liters, making it just as practical as crossovers. Like most station wagons, this model comes with rails that are ready to accommodate more cargo on the roof. With that, one can say that the Gran Lavida's priority is practicality.
Unlike the Golf GTS, the Gran Lavida doesn't have a turbodiesel. Instead, it uses a gas-fed 1.4-liter TSI (Turbo Stratified Injection) engine that's good for 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque. If the stats sound familiar, it's essentially the same mill that powers the local-spec Lavida sedan. Like its four-door counterpart, it shifts with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
According to Volkswagen, that engine and transmission combination can get up to 21.3 kilometers per liter at a constant speed of 90 km/h. And for those who are curious, the Gran Lavida can even do the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 8.3 seconds; not bad for a station wagon.
All in all, it looks like a promising product. It offers performance, practicality, and efficiency in one package. Sure, it doesn't say Golf on the tailgate, but we think it's a great addition to the local line-up, along with the all-new Lavida sedan.