Versatility, increased cargo capacity and a more fuel-efficient base engine -- along with the available diesel engine -- should keep the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen in a class of its own and 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 Jetta 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, however, first with the popular Passat wagon and now with the Jetta SportWagen. With the redesigned 2015 Jetta 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 before. The European version -- the Golf Wagon -- will be up to 232 pounds lighter than its predecessor, although specs for the North American model are still undecided. The Euro model also offers 20 percent more space behind the rear seats. If that kind of cargo increase carries over to the U.S.-bound SportWagen, that's an increase of about 6.5 cubic feet for a total of nearly 40 cubic feet.
A turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine will likely perch at the bow of that new platform, generating 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and replacing the current, tired 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder. A 2.0-liter turbodiesel will also return with 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The current SportWagen offers both six-speed manual and six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmissions. Since the next Golf should offer the same, we expect the 2015 SportWagen to offer both two- and three-pedal options.
Inside, expect slightly more rear passenger legroom, as well as more room for arms and elbows. Chrome, aluminum and piano-black trim pieces blend with additional soft-touch surfaces, lending the SportWagen a traditional, premium feel.
The new Jetta SportWagen should go on sale in late 2014. 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 Jetta SportWagen stands alone in its price bracket. Sure there are other wagons, like the 2013 Acura TSX SportWagon or the BMW 3 Series wagon, but both cost well north of the Jetta SportWagen's starting bid. Check back for a full review of the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.
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