A quick look at VW’s newest car.
When the Volkswagen Golf came to the U.S. in 1975 it was called the Rabbit — a name that conjures up a lot of interesting discussion. (Just try mentioning it some time!) At the time, the Volkswagen Rabbit was a two- or four-door hatchback with a front-wheel-drive, great fuel efficiency, and roomy cabin space.
In 1995, the Rabbit changed its name to Golf — a play on the Gulf of Mexico. There have been several iterations since; at one point the Rabbit came back again to replace the Golf.
Once again Golf is morphing: for 2015, the Golf SportWagen is replacing the outgoing Jetta SportWagen.
Since the first sketches were drawn at the Volkswagen design studio — led by Walter de Silva (Volkswagen Group Design) and Klaus Bischoff (VW Brand Design) — the SportWagen was intended to be an essential member of the Audi A7 family, so you know the design of the SportWagen is solid. However, the seventh-generation edition to VW’s Golf family does not carry the Audi price tag. Pricing starts at $21,395 for the S model with manual transmission, a reduction of $700 over the previous base Jetta SportWagen.
“The new Golf SportWagen is a fun and sporty choice for everything and everyone — not just practical parents,” says Brandy Schaffels, AskPatty Chief Editor. “It can carry a ton of groceries and a carload of kids, a mega haul from Home Depot, or simply your painting canvases and supplies.” Plus, it’s small enough to fit into a parking spot in New York City.
It’s Got Great Technology.
Available driver assistance features include the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, the Forward Collision Warning System, and front and rear Park Distance Control. The Forward Collision Warning system uses a radar sensor to help monitor the distance of traffic ahead of the vehicle to help alert the driver to critical front-end collision situations, with audible warnings and a clear warning symbol in the instrument cluster. The new Automatic Post-Collision Braking system, standard on the SportWagen, builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact. The system applies the brakes when the airbag sensors detect a primary collision to help stop vehicle momentum after impact.
On the outside – taking a solid stand
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is 1.1 inches and 0.7 inches larger than the Jetta SportWagen, and 1.1 inches lower. The updated proportions give the vehicle a lower visual center of gravity and a more forceful stance.
Cabin talk – lots of room and comfy details
Interior volume has grown to 94.3 cubic feet of passenger area volume, up from 91.7 cubic feet for the Jetta SportWagen with extra head, leg, and shoulder room. The cabin is tastefully styled with soft-touch plastic (that doesn’t look cheap), piano-black trim, and leather-wrapped handbrake, shifter knob, and steering wheel. The SportWagen’s 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment center, standard on all models, has a touch sensor, enabling gesture controls like swiping and even pinch-zooming.
The SportWagen’s trunk is comparable to a compact SUV. With the rear seats up, the SportWagen has 30.4 cu.-ft. of space; when the 60:40 split rear seat is fully folded, it can store 66.5 cu.-ft.
A panoramic sunroof is standard equipment on all trim models; in the interior, everything — from seat placement, spacing between pedals, and shifter height — has been adjusted, angling the center stack towards the driver, making the car easier to get cozy in.
Locomotion – great mpg and a diesel option!
The 2015 Golf SportWagen weighs up to 137 pounds less than outgoing Jetta SportWagen. Those along with other improvements amounts to improved mpg, better driving dynamics, and a quieter ride.
The SportWagen will be offered with two powertrains. Standard is the 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder TSI engine matched to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission offering 36 mpg highway. Or buyers can choose the 2.0-liter, 150-hp turbocharged four-cylinder TDI Clean Diesel, with a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission boasting 43 mpg hwy.
The final word
If you love the idea of a wagon, this is an economical and well-built vehicle. Competitors for the VW Golf SportWagen include the Subaru Outback Subaru XV Crosstrek and Toyota Prius v.
Disclosure: I was a guest of VW at the launch event; opinions expressed are my own.