Text and photos by The Lenspeed Team

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Wagons have always been a rarity in the Singapore market. Our traditional saloon-loving population failed to see why they’d want to buy something that resembled a hearse – at least that is what they’d think, anyway.

Step forward to 2016 though and you’d see hearts and minds are changing. Wagons are now on regular offer by distributors, with models like the Mazda 6 wagon, Subaru Outback and Mercedes C-Class estate being on sale for some time now. There is growing appreciation for the extra space afforded by a wagon, yet with car-like driving characteristics and handling.

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This brings the Golf Variant which we test drove recently to the fore. A particularly poignant example of its breed, the Variant is destined for greatness, based on the already-excellent Mk7 Golf, which feels at least a generation ahead of its competitors in refinement, its drivetrain and chassis rigidity.

The very familiar 1.4 TSI does duty in the Golf, which is no bad thing at all, with its smooth power delivery and torquey characteristics. The 7-speed DSG feels particularly suited to the car too, being even more intuitive to your throttle inputs than you’d hope it would be. Although acceleration to 100km/h on paper is 9.5 seconds, you’d always feel it is faster than it is.

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What made our test car a bit special was its R-Line kit. Never mind that it’s technically not a real “R” product from Volkswagen; it at least has some mechanical differentiation from its standard cousins, with sports suspension and larger alloys. Truth be told, the car rides harder than we thought it would, but for most situations it is entirely comfortable and easy to live with. Only but the worst of potholes may unravel it and jiggle some of your passengers.

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The interior, needless to say, is wonderfully put together and is an exercise of German sensibility. The panoramic sunroof is a bit of a party piece too for passengers. Apple CarPlay, which came on our test car, is probably the next best thing since sliced bread for iPhone users. You can project whatever you see on your phone, onto the centre console screen. No more relying on a phone mount to fumble with.

As you may be able to tell, we like this one a lot.

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