Making its debut in New York, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Concept will be heading to America in production form early next year. Originally presented at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show as the VW Golf Variant, this de facto replacement for our current Jetta-badged SportWagen is already on sale in Europe. Based on the same corporate MQB modular architecture used in the Gen VII Golf and GTI models, it features VW Group's latest powertrain technology. As a result, this latest Golf family member is larger yet lighter than its current Jetta namesake and has more power and better fuel economy.
As with the Golf and GTI, the Golf SportWagen benefits from all of the latest weight-saving and enhanced crash-protection designed into the stronger MQB platform. While clear family ties remain, the exterior styling of the Golf Sportwagen is edgier and cleaner aerodynamically than the Jetta -- which is 1.1 inches shorter, 0.7 inch narrower and almost an inch taller. These subtle dimensional changes pay significant dividends inside the well-finished cabin. There's more headroom front and rear, along with greater rear leg and shoulder room. The cargo area is 10-percent larger with the aft seat folded.
Here in America, the Golf SportWagen will be available in front-wheel-drive -- although VW is wisely "considering" making 4Motion all-wheel drive an option. Buyers can choose between a gas or diesel turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Standard issue will be VW's new 1.8-liter/170-horsepower gasoline EA888 TFSI unit backed by a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic, which promise to deliver up to 17 percent better mpg than the current 2.5-liter Jetta SportWagen. The TDI Clean Diesel will be fitted with VW's new 2.0-liter/150-horse EA288 engine paired with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.
Although the SportWagen's trim and features have yet to be finalized, expect to see a good deal of 2015 Golf goodies turn up here as well. Volkswagen confirms the car's standard equipment includes its new Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that engages the brakes after an initial impact to reduce the chance of a secondary hit. Known options include a panoramic sunroof, 12-way power driver's seat, Climatronic automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights and 18-inch alloy wheels as well as the Advanced Front-lighting System and Park Distance Control. Pricing, EPA and other pertinent details about the new Golf SportWagen will be announced closer to its on-sale date.
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