Many people buy small SUVs these days but if you must have a station wagon, then consider Volkswagen, writes Chris Nixon.

The new Volkswagen Golf 7 wagon, sibling of the hatchback World Car of the Year, makes a strong case against SUVs. The choices are a 90TSI, 90TSI Comfortline (both petrol), 103TSI Highline (petrol) and 110TDI Highline (diesel), all with standard auto. Prices start from $25,540 and add up to $1850 for the hatchback.

The wagon’s extra 308mm overall length is all in the boot. Load volume with the rear seatbacks up increases from 505 litres in the superseded model to 605 litres; folded, it’s up from 1495 litres to 1620 litres. Load length with the back seats folded goes from 1558mm to 1831mm, long enough for a bed. Spring-loaded seatbacks are selffolding.

Safety gear includes driver fatigue detection and multi-collision braking. A $1300 option package buys radar cruise control, pre-crash protection and city emergency braking. It’s a good-looker. Strap a couple of expensive bikes on the roof and you’ll look like action-man/woman, not daddy or mummy.