Versatility, increased cargo capacity and a more fuel-efficient base engine -- along with an available diesel engine -- should make the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen a great alternative to SUVs and crossovers.
Premium cabin materials and construction; more interior room and cargo capacity; refined driving dynamics.
Current model's sluggish throttle response with automatic transmission; TDI's premium price.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen will be larger, lighter and more fuel-efficient than before.
Americans don't buy wagons. Or so goes the refrain when carmakers are asked why they don't offer their European wagon models in the States. If more wagons were available and they contributed to an automaker's bottom line the way crossovers and SUVs do, it could be a different story. Volkswagen cracked the wagon code for Americans a while ago. First there was the popular Passat wagon, then a Jetta variation, and now the new Golf SportWagen. With the redesigned 2015 Golf SportWagen, Volkswagen reaffirms its faith in the small-wagon fan base.
Based on the all-new, front-wheel-drive Golf platform, the SportWagen promises to be larger, lighter and more fuel-efficient than the Jetta SportWagen it's replacing. Not only does the name change, but the new wagon is longer (1.1 inches), wider (0.7 inches) and lower (nearly an inch) than the outgoing model, yet passengers gain about a half-inch of headroom in the cabin. The Golf SportWagen also promises to offer nearly 10 percent more maximum cargo space.
A turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine will generate 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It replaces the current, tired 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder and will pair with a choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. A 2.0-liter turbodiesel (TDI) also returns with 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. This model offers a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Inside, expect more rear passenger legroom, and more room for arms and elbows. Chrome, aluminum and piano-black trim pieces will blend with additional soft-touch surfaces, lending the SportWagen a traditional, premium feel. Standard and optional features will include 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, parking sensors, 12-way power driver seat and post-collision braking that halts movement of the car after a collision.
The Golf SportWagen goes on sale in early 2015. Pricing hasn't been announced, but expect the new model to hold close to the current base price of around $21,400, and $26,300 for the diesel. With its unique blend of versatility, space and low, carlike height, the Golf SportWagen stands alone in its price bracket.
Sure there are other wagons, like the BMW 3 Series wagon and the Volvo V60, but both cost well north of the SportWagen's starting bid. Check back for a full review of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.