I have nothing against the overwhelmingly popular SUVs, but at every opportunity encourage buyers who ask my advice to consider a station wagon instead.

The Volkswagen Golf Wagon is a good example. It’s better to drive, superior value and carries more than many SUVs whose cargo areas are smaller than they seem.

Along with its Tiguan, Beetle and Touareg siblings, the top-shelf Golf Highline is now is available with an optional “R-Line” specification that adds some sporty distinction. Lowered sports suspension, sharper steering, grippier front seats, extra bright trim pieces inside and R-Line badging are part of a $2200 package that’s worth having.

The Golf is the near-perfect modern car design, right-sized, very safe, economical (5.2 litres/100 kms), swift, practical, comfortable and well-made. Fatigue detection, assisted parking, emergency city braking, reversing camera, multi-collision braking, cornering headlights and radar cruise control are among its high-tech features.

With back seats folded, the Golf Wagon can take a load 1.8 metres long, 1.0m wide and 0.9m high. Who needs an SUV?

$36,540 plus on-roads | Wagon
1.4 litre turbo petrol | 103kW/250Nm

FOR: Space, quality.
AGAINST: Not an SUV.
VERDICT: Discerning family choice.