Previewed at last year's New York Auto Show, the production 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen bowed in Chicago along with word that this new and highly versatile addition to the Golf family will start at $22,215 when it arrives in dealer this April. This upgraded/updated replacement for the outgoing Jetta SportWagen is built off of the automaker's latest MQB modular architecture and will hit showrooms with a choice of the Golf's 170-horsepower/1.8-liter turbocharged TSI gasoline engine that makes 200 lb-ft of torque or the 150-horse 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel that cranks out 236 lb-ft of torque. The former comes with a 5-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic, the latter with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. 

Marginally larger but up to 137 pounds lighter than the Jetta variant it replaces, the Golf Sportwagen promises to be an economy all-star. Highway numbers for the 5-speed manual TSI are estimated at 36 mpg and the TDI is set to hit 43 mpg -- a figure that bests the Jetta SportWagen by roughly 17 percent. Boasting 30.4 cu ft of cargo space with the second-row split-bench up and 66.5 cu ft with it folded flat, this new Golf hauler offers plenty of practicality as well.

A trio of trim choices 

The new Golf SportWagen will be available in S, SE and SEL trims grades. Beyond a full range of power assists, leatherette seating surfaces and air conditioning, key S model equipment includes 15-inch alloy wheels, a media device interface with iPod integration, touchscreen audio system and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Adding the automatic transmission raises the price of entry by $1,100 - to $23,315 for the TSI S and $26,515 for the TDI with the DSG.

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Moving to SE level ups the ante to $27,815 for a TSI and $28,815 for the TDI but adds standards like 17-inch alloys, the Fender Premium Audio System, a panoramic sunroof and keyless access as well as an automatic transmission to the gasoline-powered model. SE SportWagens also can be fitted with a Lighting Package that brings bi-xenon adaptive headlamps and LED DRLs as well as a Driver Assistance Package with a Forward Collision Warning System and front/rear Park Distance Control. Ringing in at $30,165 and $31,165 respectively in TSI/TDI spec, the SportWagen SEL versions have a navigation system, Climatronic automatic air conditioning, and sport seats with 12-way power on the driver's side. Here, too, Lighting/Driver Assistance Packages are available and like the SE, the SportWagen TDI SEL comes standard with a 6-speed manual while offering the DSG automatic as an $1,100 option.

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