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2014 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

Volkswagen appears to be listening to the tiny, but obnoxiously loud, voices of the forum goers and automotive journalists. At this year’s New York Auto Show , they displayed this shiny new Golf SportWagen Concept with a new 2.0-liter TDI engine, three pedals and 4Motion AWD.

Hello, Beautiful.

This latest machine may have “concept” in its name, but there is very little about this car that won’t make it to production. Volkswagen has already stated it will be coming to U.S. shores as a replacement for the near ancient Jetta SportWagen. The new Golf SportWagen will provide a modern model for U.S. buyers that is underpinned by the new MQB architecture (the current Jetta SportWagen is actually still a fifth-gen car underneath).

VW has also confirmed the powertrain options will include the new 1.8-liter turbo gasoline engine and the updated 2.0-liter TDI diesel. Shifting will be accomplished by either a traditional manual transmission or a choice of automatics. What is not confirmed, and what makes this car a “concept” is that sweet 4Motion all-wheel drive system like you get in the Golf R . VW is stating that it may come, but no firm plans have been made yet.

Start those forum threads now, kids.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept.

Exterior

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

Some of the more intelligent design features include the expansive slabs of glass and thinner C and D pillars to improve visibility.

Anyone making a passing glance may not immediately notice that the Golf SportWagen is an all-new car, but there are a few subtle details that make all the difference. Some of the more intelligent design features include the expansive slabs of glass and thinner C and D pillars to improve visibility. Blind Spots can be a major issue in wagons, and it’s nice to see VW take this into account.

Thankfully, Volkswagen is adding some nice new options to the car like a huge panoramic sunroof, and the sweet Bi-Xenon headlamps with the Advanced Front-lighting System are returning. The AFS lights are the ones that turn the headlamps when you turn the steering wheel.

2014 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept - Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase103.8 inches
Length179.6 inches
Cargo area41.5 inches

Interior

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

VW claims that headroom, rear legroom and rear shoulder room have all been improved.

Apart from the sharper and cleaner design that comes to all Mk VII cars, the new SportWagen is longer, wider and lower than the old model. That means better aerodynamics, visual proportioning and even more space. VW claims that headroom, rear legroom and rear shoulder room have all been improved.

The rest of the interior is very traditional Volkswagen. It is clean, well assembled and features lots of black. It may not be the most exciting thing to look at, but it is very functional, ergonomically sound and features plenty of cubbies and cup holders.

Volkswagen may not make the prettiest interiors, but it’s hard to fault them on execution or refinement, especially at the price levels they play in.

Drivetrain

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

The new TDI engine outputs 150 horsepower, a 10-pony improvement, and fuel economy is expected to jump by as much as 5 mpg.

Under the hood is where the majority of noticeable improvements take place for this new SportWagen. The old 2.5-liter five-cylinder has been exorcised to be replaced by the new 1.8-liter turbo. This new engine is no more powerful than the old one, but it is much lighter, will deliver a huge boost in fuel economy, and has a better torque rating. If you opt for the gasoline engine, your transmission options are limited to a five-speed manual (why not six, VW?) or a six-speed auto slushbox.

Jumping up to the TDI nets you a wholly superior set of drivetrain options. The engine itself is VW’s new EA288 TDI Clean Diesel engine, a 2.0-liter unit that handily trumps the current TDI. The new TDI engine outputs 150 horsepower, a 10-pony improvement, and fuel economy is expected to jump by as much as 5 mpg. Transmission choices for the diesel include a six-speed manual or Volkswagen’s fancy six-speed DSG dual clutch auto.

If Volkswagen approves it for American consumption, the 4Motion AWD system is basically the same Haldex-based system found in the Golf R. That means a front bias for fuel economy with the ability to shuffle power to the rear for stability and performance in slippery conditions. Even with AWD, expect the TDI model to return 40+ mpg on the highway.

2014 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept - Drivetrain Specifications

Type2.0-liter common-rail, turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine
Horsepower150 HP
TorqueTBA
Transmissionsix-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch automatic

Prices

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

Obviously, as this is just a concept, there is absolutely zero *official* pricing information. That said, expect this new model to closely mimic the current SportWagen pricing. That means a starting price of around $21,000 to $22,000 for the lower-tier gas model. Prices could hit close to $26k if you go heavy on the options. Going for the oil-burner gets more expensive, with a starting price that will hover near $27,000. Traditionally, the TDI comes loaded with many of the more desirable options as standard. If you maxed the option sheet, the price will climb, but I wouldn’t expect it to cross the $28,500 barrier.

The 4Motion system will likely carry a $750 to $1,000 premium. Paying $30,000 for a Golf sounds a bit nuts, but when you consider it is a fully featured, fully optioned, wagon with more space than many small SUVs, and a fuel economy rating around 40 mpg, it makes a bit more sense.

Competition

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza

When it comes to sporty wagons, there is basically zero competition for Volkswagen. The only real game in the market used to be Subaru Subaru , but the Outback has become much more of a crossover than a true wagon, and Subaru has killed most of the hatched variants of the Impreza.

On a base-to-base level, the 5-door Impreza is cheaper than the Volkswagen, and it comes standard with AWD in every trim, but it is far from matching the German’s build quality or performance. Fuel economy falls closer to parity on paper, but real world driving would likely favor the torque-heavy SportWagen.

The SportWagen is also trumps in space. As a more traditional five-door hatch, the Impreza can’t match the interior volume that the VW can manage.

Once you start looking at the TDI powered SportWagen, suddenly the market becomes very empty.

Audi A3 TDI Wagon

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

If you really want to find a competitor for the TDI SportWagen, you actually have to look at the Volkswagen Group’s very own Audi A3. Audi just announced at New York that the diesel powered A3 wagon was returning.

The real issue here will come down to price, refinement and personal preference. The A3 TDI features the exact same platform and engine as the SportWagen. The Audi will have a nicer interior, and the Quattro AWD system will be a difference maker, but on the whole they will drive exactly the same.

Interior space will be close to identical, but the Audi will offer nicer options. Along with that improved interior and nicer options list with a big price hike. Spec for spec, the Volkswagen Volkswagen will likely hold a $3,000 advantage over the Audi. It will be interesting to see if the if there is any sales cannibalization between the two cars.

Conclusion

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

All in all, the new SportWagen is a huge improvement for all potential US buyers. For the first time in over a decade, there is going to be a modern and fully featured wagon at a reasonable price point. With the Outback moving into SUV territory an AWD SportWagen could fill a big gap in the market. Even if we don’t get a 4Motion version, the new engines will increase the performance and fuel economy of every SportWagen sold. A better car is a better, and I think Volkswagen may have a pretty big hit on its hands if it markets this thing correctly.

LOVE IT
  • Even more interior space than before
  • Completely new platform and engines
  • AWD, TDI and three pedals in one package
LEAVE IT
  • 4Motion AWD still not confirmed for US
  • Gasoline model has worse transmission options
  • TDI model a little expensive

Press Release

Volkswagen of America, Inc. will debut a concept version of the latest SportWagen model that features a 4MOTION® all-wheel drive system and the new EA288 TD®I Clean Diesel engine at the New York Auto Show. The concept previews the all-new Golf SportWagen that goes on sale in early 2015. Based on the new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, the Golf SportWagen will continue the trend introduced by the seventh generation Golf whereby it is lighter, bigger, roomier, more fuel efficient and more powerful than the outgoing SportWagen model.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

Thanks to the extensive use of high and ultra-high strength steels, the new SportWagen bodyshell is lighter than the current Jetta SportWagen and offers an enhanced crash structure. Throughout the car, incredible attention to detail has optimized components—such as the seats, air conditioning unit, and even the electrical architecture—to help save weight.

The Golf SportWagen is 1.1 inches longer and 0.7 inches wider than the current SportWagen model. It is also 0.9 inches lower, which benefits both aerodynamic performance and the car’s proportions: the CdA number has been reduced by almost 10 percent compared with the previous generation. 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.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

The SportWagen has long been a top choice for customers who want a car that’s fun to drive and offers a large cargo area that is truly versatile. This new SportWagen is even more appealing, offering nearly 10 percent more cargo room with the rear seats folded than the outgoing model. Essentially, the Golf SportWagen provides a sportier alternative to compact SUVs.

The new SportWagen will be offered with two powertrains. The Golf SportWagen will be powered by a 170 horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® engine, mated to five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. These powertrains offer manufacturer highway fuel economy that’s improved by as much as 17 percent compared to the 2.5-liter Jetta SportWagen.

The TDI Clean Diesel model will be powered by the new EA288 2.0-liter common-rail, turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine that makes150 horsepower, an improvement of 10 hp over the current SportWagen model. The TDI model will have a choice of six-speed manual or DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

Design

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

The design team, led by Walter de Silva (Group Design) and Klaus Bischoff (VW Brand Design), created a timeless and sophisticated new SportWagen, using the principles of Volkswagen’s Design DNA. Thanks to the MQB architecture, which dictates a fixed relationship between the front wheel centerline and the pedals, the car’s proportions have changed. The front wheels, for example, are now 1.7 inches further forward than on the current SportWagen design. This has created what Bischoff calls "’a cab backward impression’. That’s what we call the proportions of premium-class vehicles, where the hood is long and the passenger compartment is a long way towards the back."

Compared with the previous generation SportWagen, the new car’s front end looks completely different, thanks to the way that the hood slopes down into the front fenders instead of the fender peaks being higher than the hood. This new SportWagen features more angular horizontal design cues, with a slender radiator grille.

At the back, the clean surface around the VW badge, the wide rear window, and the geometric taillights are typical SportWagen features, even though the lines are completely different. The tailgate, for instance, allows for a lower load height than before, while the overall effect emphasizes the additional width of the new car.

Features

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept

Along the lines of the new Golf 7, the SportWagen will bring a number of available new features to market including a panoramic sunroof, 12-way power driver’s seat, Climatronic® automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs and the Advanced Front-lighting System, Park Distance Control, and available 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

In addition, the new SportWagen features a new standard driver assistance system called the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This system automatically engages the vehicle’s brakes after it is involved in a collision in order to help reduce secondary collisions and to help bring the vehicle to a stop. The system is triggered when the airbag sensors detect a primary collision and it is limited to a maximum retardation rate of 0.6g by the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) unit. The driver can effectively override the system at any time; for example, it is disabled if it recognizes that the driver is accelerating. The system is also deactivated if the driver initiates braking at a higher rate than 0.6g.


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