Some of the most useful features on a car are ones we can’t even see.
While they may look different from one another, most modern cars share the same set of features. Infotainment systems, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist – these are technologies you can have in whichever car you choose. When pretty much every car comes with the same set of features, its often clever attention to detail that truly sets new models apart. That’s where this ordinary European-spec Golf SportWagen comes in. Known as the “Golf Variant” in Germany, this car pretty much looks exactly the same as the SportWagen we get here in the United States. However, there’s one key difference, and it’s one Tommy discovered while driving the 1.5-liter Variant in Germany.
Lift an unassuming cover in the cargo area of the Golf Variant, and…
There are some features in cars that we just want to appear when we need them. When we don’t need them, we’d prefer they be hidden away. In fact, Volkswagen agrees, so they’ve actually hidden the towing hitch for the Golf Variant inside the rear bumper. To access the hitch, you pull a plastic tab in the cargo area, and it swings out, ready for use. Volkswagen even integrated the electrical connector for the trailer inside the hitch.
Unlike the U.S.-spec SportWagen, the European Golf variant is actually rated for towing. The 1.5-liter turbocharged version available in Germany is actually rated to tow up to 1,700 kilograms (3,750 pounds), according to the owner’s manual, which we can translate with the help of a clever phone app. That engine produces 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Despite the American version packing a larger, more powerful engine, it isn’t rated for towing at all.
Europeans are known for using ordinary cars to tow their camping trailers (or caravans, depending on where you live), so it makes sense to have this feature. In the U.S., we have trucks for towing instead. Still, it’s a useful feature that you may not even realize if you’re driving a European Golf Variant.
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