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New VW Golf R “Variant” Gets the Go

First look in LA – but will the performance wagon come to the US?

by on Nov.18, 2014

Volkswagen's Golf R wagon is expected to go on sale next year in Europe, but U.S. fans will be left in the cold...for now.

There’s a certain level of cruelty in Volkswagen’s decision to debut the new Golf R “Variant” at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. It’s like teasing a dog with a bone, or holding a jar of candy just out of a child’s reach. You see, VW is confirming this will be the first-ever wagon version of the new Golf R but, for the moment, it will only confirm plans to put the new model on sale in Europe, starting next spring.

There’s certainly a lot to like about the Golf R wagon, starting with its 296-horsepower 2.0-liter TSI engine. That’s more than enough to launch from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in 5.1 seconds, on the way to an electronically limited 155 mph top speed.

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By comparison, that’s off a modest 0.2 seconds from the shorter, lighter hatch version of the Golf R. It helps that the Golf R wagon uses a six-speed DSG linked to a performance-tuned 4Motion Haldex all-wheel-drive system to ensure the maximum amount of power goes to the pavement. The new XDS+ electronic locking differential system adds torque vectoring to improve cornering. (more…)

Might Millennials Diss Boomer Parents and Revive Station Wagons?

Estates, shooting brakes and sportbacks.

by on Mar.29, 2013

Station wagons like Volvo's V60 may lead a revival of the segment.

Like a lot of folks in New York trade unions, Terry Keegan got his in through his family, but’s not always “like-father-like-son.” Baby Boomer Terry Sr. grew up in the back of a station wagon, often relegated to watching the world go by out the back window, his older siblings getting to ride up front. But when it was time to start his own family, Keegan opted first for a minivan and then a “cooler” SUV.

Now it’s junior’s time to express his individuality, the Millennial pausing for a moment as he dashed through the Jacob Javits convention center to check out the new Volvo V60 R-Design wagon.

“That’s not like the wagons my dad used to hate,” he laughs. “I don’t see the wood panels. This thing is really hot. I could see myself driving it.”

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Maybe it’s simply a classic case of generational revolt, but industry planners are watching closely to see whether the long-dismissed station wagon is finally – after several false starts – ready for a revival.


VW Reveals Next Jetta SportWagen

German maker fills in the blanks after images leak out ahead of Geneva unveiling.

by on Mar.04, 2013

What VW has dubbed the GolfVariant may land in the U.S. as the next Jetta SportWagen.

To Europeans, it may go by the decidedly un-hip name of the new Golf Variant but motorists back in the States could soon know it as the next-generation Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen.

As they say, a rose by any other name…Volkswagen hopes this one will smell sweet to buyers around the world. The new “Variant” is based on the next-generation Golf hatchback introduced late last year and is not only more modern in appearance but lighter, more fuel-efficient and markedly better-equipped, according to the German maker.

Hitch Your Wagon!

VW was saving the launch of the new Golf Variant for the Geneva Motor Show but a number of images leaked out ahead of time. Specific details, however, remained top secret until a Monday night auto show preview. Among the key improvements, the next-generation Golf Wagen will weigh in about 232 pounds lighter than its predecessor. And for Europeans, at least, a new TDI BlueMotion diesel version is expected to yield more than 71 miles per gallon.