By Joe Bruzek on April 11, 2014
Competes with: Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback, Ford C-Max Hybrid
Looks like: A more chiseled, carlike wagon
Drivetrain: 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder with five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission; 150-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder with six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmissions
Hits dealerships: Early 2015
Say goodbye to Volkswagen's Jetta SportWagen and hello to the 2015 Golf SportWagen taking the Jetta's place as one of the few dedicated station wagons competing against an entire segment of compact SUVs. The new wagon will make its North American debut at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
Volkswagen's replacement sits on the new 2015 Golf platform to offer increased interior and cargo volume compared to the outgoing Jetta wagon. The Golf wagon is longer, wider and also lighter, more fuel efficient and still available in a diesel TDI version — with a new, more powerful engine — while a new turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine improves fuel economy up to 17 percent.
This wagon is definitely firing on all cylinders. Icing on the cake for the New York Auto Show is that Volkswagen is showing off a TDI wagon concept with all-wheel drive, a configuration that readers have been asking about for some time.
Bumper to bumper, the Golf SportWagen is 1.1 inches longer than the outgoing Jetta wagon and more than a half-inch wider. It also sits almost an inch lower for improved aerodynamics that combine with the longer hood and more chiseled front styling to give the wagon a more carlike look compared to the previous frumpy wagon. The Golf uses high-strength steel to reduce weight; it also optimizes components such as seats, air conditioning and electrical architecture to further reduce weight. Available features include bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
The additional exterior size helps on the inside with 10 percent more cargo room with the rear seats folded that Volkswagen says matches compact SUVs' size and versatility. The Golf wagon also gains nearly a half-inch more front and rear headroom as well as more rear leg and shoulder room than the Jetta wagon. Available interior features include a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control and parking assist.
A 170-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine replaces the 2.5-liter five-cylinder as the base engine offering. Volkswagen claims fuel economy is boosted as much as 17 percent in highway ratings compared to the outgoing engine, which was rated up to 33 mpg on the highway with manual transmission and 30 mpg with automatic. Base engines are paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic.
The TDI diesel engine in the 2015 Golf SportWagen is a new 2.0-liter making 150 hp, up 10 hp over the existing TDI Jetta wagon with highway ratings up to 42 mpg. No torque numbers were available at this time. A six-speed manual transmission or dual-clutch automatic are the diesel's transmission choices.
Front-wheel drive is the only option at the car's launch. However, Volkswagen is bringing an all-wheel-drive concept version of the TDI-powered wagon to the New York Auto Show. If it's something you want, be sure to let VW know.
New with this model is a standard post-collision braking system that automatically engages the brakes after an initial accident to avoid potential secondary collisions.
Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe