We’ve been asking for it, and here it is. Volkswagen will introduce the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen concept at the 2014 New York auto show, and it’s got all of the magic words—diesel, all-wheel-drive, wagon, optional manual gearbox—that we look for in a fun, functional, and efficient vehicle.
The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, renamed as a replacement for the outgoing Jetta SportWagen, is built on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture that also underpins the new 2015 VW Golf and GTI. Like those models, the new Golf SportWagen is more powerful, more efficient, lighter, and more spacious than its predecessor. It’s 1.1 inches longer, 0.7 inches wider, and 0.9 inches lower than the old Jetta wagon, and its aerodynamic drag tumbles 10 percent while headroom rises nearly 10 percent.
As Volkswagen phases out the long-lived 2.5-liter inline-five that powered the old SportWagen, two new engines will join the Golf SportWagen lineup. First up is a 1.8-liter turbo-four gas engine (seen also in the 2015 Golf, 2014 Jetta, and 2014 Passat) putting out 170 hp and mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. For more efficiency and torque, buyers can select a 2.0-liter turbo-four diesel engine (TDI) making 150 hp and compatible with six-speed manual and six-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG) transmissions.
Fuel efficiency is said to increase 17 percent over the previous SportWagen. Although no specific numbers are available for any new 2015 Golf models, the 2014 Passat 1.8T returns 24/34 mpg city/highway compared to the old 2.5-liter’s 22/32 mpg, while the TDI model achieves 31/43 mpg ratings. Looking at the old Jetta SportWagen’s ratings of 23/33 mpg city/highway for the manual-equipped inline-five and 30/42 mpg city/highway for the manual TDI, the new Golf SportWagen should post improved numbers that will prove very competitive in the compact segment.
VW is calling the Golf SportWagen TDI a concept as of now, so it’s unclear whether the 4-Motion all-wheel-drive diesel concept will carry over unchanged into a production model. However, we can expect to see the concept's wide array of features when then new Volkswagen Golf SportWagen goes on sale in early 2015. VW will offer a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights with LED running-lights, park distance control, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. As far as new safety tech, we will also see an automatic post-collision braking system that will automatically apply the vehicle brakes after a crash to prevent secondary collisions.
The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen looks just about production ready, so if it arrives in this form when it goes on sale in early 2015, it should be a serious rival alternative to, say, a compact crossover. Be sure to check back next week for full coverage of the New York auto show, beginning on April 16.