Making its debut in Geneva, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf Variant - Wagon in U.S. speak - gives a first look at a vehicle we can expect to see arriving in America as some point in the future. Based on the new Gen VII Golf that was recently introduced in Europe and on sale there this August, this handsome hauler will be marketed here as the replacement for the Jetta SportWagen, and likely carry a 2015 model-year designation.
Like the new Golf hatchbacks, the Variant is based on VW's advanced MQB modular front-drive platform architecture that endows it with significantly greater stiffness and rigidity but reduces weight - in this case by some 232 pounds -- compared to its existing Golf wagon counterpart. Over a foot longer than the Golf 5-door hatch and benefitting from an additional 2.3 inches of wheelbase, the Variant uses the same body bits to the B-pillar but gets all new sheetmetal and glass from there back highlighting its more sloping roofline with unique soft fascia, liftback and taillamp designs.
The Golf Variant's well-integrated stretch yields meaningful increases in interior volume highlighted by 20-percent more cargo space with its 60/40 split rear seat up and nine percent more room with it folded. Other practical touches include a variable-height load floor with hidden stow space and a removable roll-up cargo cover. Like its Golf VII siblings, the new Variant also comes with a full range of standard power assists, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering column and a 5.0-inch TFT central touchscreen display.
European buyers will have a choice of multiple new turbocharged and exceptionally fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines, all fitted with a Stop/Start system that can cut consumption by up to four percent. The mix includes 1.2-liter EA211-series TFSI gasoline motivators that produce from 85 to 140 horsepower as well as EA288-family TDI turbodiesels that make 105 to 150 horses. Transmissions include engine-specific 5-speed or 6-speed manual units as well a VW's 6-speed DSG dual-clutch.
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When this new SportWagen-in-waiting hits showrooms here, it's expected to offer a 1.8-liter/4-cylinder TFSI EA888 engine that should make around 170 horsepower as well as the 150-horsepower/2.0-liter version of the EA288 TDI engine. Also making its first appearance in Geneva will be the Euro-spec Golf Variant 4Motion model fitted with VW's all-wheel-drive system. Although that feature is not offered on the current Jetta SportWagen, it could become available at some point on this follow-up model.
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