Volkswagen’s compact two-box model is getting both an update and a new name, the old Jetta wagon set to reappear as the 2015 Golf SportWagen.
It’s a fitting decision considering the new model will share the same modular underpinnings as the all-new VW Golf and Golf GTI we’ll finally be seeing later in 2014 – a full year after those models debuted in Europe.
Like the basic Golf, the SportWagen will be produced at the VW assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, assembly plant. It will be lighter, stiffer and more well-equipped than the old Jetta wagon.
Curiously, the model that will make its debut at the New York Auto Show this week will be a near production-ready prototype bearing a 2.0 TDI 4Motion nameplate. American buyers will, indeed, be getting a turbo-diesel option when the 2015 Golf SportWagen appears – but, at least for the moment – there is no all-wheel-drive package in the plans due to limitations at the Puebla plant. That could change later, though it’s unclear whether VW would upgrade the factory’s capabilities or ship at SportWagen 4Motion model in from elsewhere.
The seventh-generation Golf line is the first to use Volkswagen’s new MQB modular architecture, a platform that will eventually be shared with more VW models than any other chassis. The hatchback version is not only stiffer but 220 pounds lighter, 2.2 inches longer and 0.5 inches wider than the outgoing Gen-6 hatchback.
The wagon doesn’t stretch quite as much, gaining 1.1 inches in length and 0.7 inches in width, the maker noting, “The interior package has been optimized to give more rear-seat leg- and shoulder room.” Although the new SportWagen’s overall height was lowered by nearly an inch, front and rear headroom has been improved by 0.4 inches.
The new Golf SportWagen is also lighter and more aerodynamic, which is expected to mean that the various powertrains will all deliver improved fuel economy for 2015 – some estimates forecasting increases of up to 17%.
The maker isn’t releasing fuel economy numbers but the 2014 Jetta SportWagen TDI gets 30 mpg City, 42 Highway and 34 Combined with a six-speed stick, 29/39 and 33 in automatic trim. Compared to the old diesel, the now version makes 170 horsepower, a jump of 10.
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The 2015 Golf SportWagen will, of course, also offer a gas option, a 1.8-liter turbocharged four replacing the old 2.5-liter inline five. The new direct-injection engine will produce 170 horsepower.
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In production trim, the diesel will be offered with either a six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch automatic. The turbo-four will be offered with either a five-speed stick or six-speed automatic.
In terms of appearance, the 2015 Golf SportWagen adopts some notable changes in proportion. The front wheels are pushed back nearly two inches, for example, compared to the old Jetta wagon, creating what VW Brand Design Director Klaus Bischoff calls “a cab backward impression.” The maker suggests the overall look is that of a more premium luxury model – though the U.S. model will remain front-wheel-drive.
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As with other updated VW models, the 2015 Golf SportWagen will add a number of new features, including bi-xenon headlamps with LED running lamps, a panoramic sunroof, 12-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control and a parking assist system.
On the safety front, it gets a standard post-collision braking system designed to reduce the likelihood of a secondary collision after a crash.