Save for a few years as the Rabbit, the Golf has been a staple in VW’s U.S. lineup for what seems like forever. The SportWagen launched in 2009 under the Passat name, though it was always just a Golf with a Jetta badge. In the 2015 model year, however, VW decided to completely redesign the SportWagen and reposition it in the Golf lineup, like it should have been back when it debuted.

The 2015 Golf SportWagen was previewed by the 2014 Golf SportWagen 4MOTION Concept at the New York Auto Show. Just as I expected, the production model is nearly identical to the concept, save for the fact that VW has yet to confirm 4MOTION all-wheel drive for the version that’ll hit dealers.

As was long the case for the Jetta SportWagen, the Golf SportWagen will enjoy a thin segment in terms of competition. Eventually, the rest of the automotive world will move into this abandoned segment, but for now it’s Golf or nothing, unless you want to move up to a Volvo or down to a five-door hatchback.

Updated 03/09/2015: Volkswagen dropped a series of 70 new high res images for its 2015 Golf SportWagen. Check them out in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.

  • 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    five-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    170
  • Torque @ RPM:
    184
  • Displacement:
    1.8 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    21395
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Updated History

Updated 02/12/2015: Volkswagen announced prices for the new 2015 Golf Sportwagen, which will hit dealer showrooms in April. It will be offered with two engines: a four-cylinder TSI or a four-cylinder TDI, with prices ranging from $21,395 for the base version equipped with the manual transmission, up to $31,445 for the SEL TDI with the DSG automatic gearbox. Full prices list after the jump.

Exterior

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Exterior
- image 620921
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Exterior
- image 620932
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen High Resolution Exterior
- image 620936
It is the ultimate substitute for lumbering SUVs and over-compromised crossovers.

For the 2015 model year, the Golf SportWagen does exactly as I expected it to do: take all the goodness of the 2015 Golf and slap a wagon back end on it. In addition to featuring new looks compared to the Jetta SportWagen that preceded it, the Golf SportWagen is 1.1 inches longer and 0.7 inch wider. In order to help with aerodynamics, VW also lowered the overall body height by 0.9 inch. To give it a more premium cab-rearward stance, VW moved the front wheels 1.7 inches forward.

Around back, VW kept all of the key features of the SportWagen, but it revised all of the body lines and installed revised taillights. Part of the line changes include a lower tailgate that allows for easier cargo loading.

The SportWagen’s looks blend the best of two typically different worlds, as it takes the sporty looks of the Golf and the performance that comes to mind when thinking of the R and GTI, and combined it with the utility of a wagon. It is the ultimate substitute for lumbering SUVs and over-compromised crossovers. The only thing it lacks is the slightly increased ride height that helps with light off-road maneuvering, but if you’re off-roading in your Golf, then I think you have bigger issues than a lack of ground clearance.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 103.7 Inches
Length 179.6 Inches
Width 70.8 Inches
Height 58.3 Inches

Interior

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 620923
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 615930
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 615937
The center sections of these seats appear to be Alcatara or suede for better grip.

Volkswagen gave me very little to go on of in terms of interior details, but as with any VW model, I expect the Golf SportWagen’s interior to be a great place to spend time. Oddly enough, despite the fact that the new SportWagen is almost an inch shorter in height, it actually has 0.4 inch of additional headroom and 10 percent more cargo room.

In the images that VW provided, I can see that a sporty, three-spoke steering wheel greets the driver, while a set of nicely bolstered seats grip the occupants. The center sections of these seats appear to be Alcatara or suede for better grip.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen High Resolution Interior
- image 615928
The entire center stack appears angled toward the driver, giving him easy access to all of the features.

The center console is very clean, and a large touchscreen dominates that space. Flanking the screen are neatly arranged buttons, and under the screen are the HVAC controls, which are also extremely clean. The entire center stack appears to be angled toward the driver, giving him easy access to all of the features.

Volkswagen didn’t go too deep into standard features on the 2015 Golf SportWagen, but it did let us know of a few options. These include a panoramic moonroof, a 12-way power driver’s seat, and Climatronic auto climate control.

Drivetrain

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Drivetrain
- image 615935
This torque monster mates to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

Motivating the standard 2015 Volkswagen SportWagen is a 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower. This engine will be available with two transmission options: a five-speed manual or a six-speed auto. Expect to see increases of up to 17 percent in highway fuel economy when compared to the Jetta SportWagen’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder.

The optional engine is a 2.0-liter, common-rail diesel engine that delivers 150 horsepower – 10 more than the Jetta SportWagon’s TDI engine – and 236 pound-feet of torque. This torque monster mates to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. Expect highway fuel economy in excess of 40 mpg with the diesel setup.

While VW didn’t get into the drive system under the skin of the SportWagen, I can only assume that it’ll come standard with front-wheel drive. Given the concept version of this wagon had 4MOTION all-wheel drive, I assume we’ll see that on the production model too.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 1.8-liter turbocharged 2.0-liter common-rail
Output 170 HP 150 HP
Torque 184 LB-FT 236 LB-FT
Transmission five-speed manual/six-speed automatic six-speed manual/DSG® dual-clutch automatic

Prices

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Emblems and Logo Exterior
- image 615948
Model Price
Golf SportWagen TSI S (manual) $21,395
Golf SportWagen TSI S (automatic) $22,495
Golf SportWagen TSI SE $26,995
Golf SportWagen TSI SEL $29,345
Golf SportWagen TDI S (manual) $24,595
Golf SportWagen TDI S (DSG automatic) $25,695
Golf SportWagen TDI SE (manual) $27,995
Golf SportWagen TDI SE (DSG automatic) $29,095
Golf SportWagen TDI SEL (manual) $30,345
Golf SportWagen TDI SEL (DSG automatic) $31,445

Competition

Mazda3 Hatchback

2014 Mazda3 Hatchback High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 512763

The only true compact wagons on the market come from premium automakers, and they cost significantly more. To get something similar to the Golf SportWagen in its price range, you’ll have to look at the 2015 Mazda3 hatchback.

In terms of looks, I am partial to the Mazda3, as it is unique, sporty, and elegant. Under the 3’s hood is a standard 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that develops 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. There is an optional 2.5-liter engine that bumps the output to 184 horses and 185 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, these engines are nearly as fuel-efficient as the Golf’s TDI engine, at up to 41 mpg highway for the 2.0-liter and up to 37 mpg or the 2.5-liter.

The Mazda3 certainly wins the price war, as its base trim level starts at $18,945 and its range-topping Grand Touring model runs just $25,545, but there are two areas where the Mazda3 falls short. One of those is cargo area, as it can only carry up to 47.1 cubic feet. The other issue is that it isn’t available with all-wheel drive.

If you can look past those two issues than the Mazda3 is a great alternative to the Golf SportWagen.

Volvo V60

2015 Volvo V60 High Resolution Exterior
- image 540430

With a base price of $35,950, the Volvo V60 is a little too expensive to compete with the base-level SportWagen, but for those looking into a fully loaded model, it may be a great idea to take a look at it.

In its base setup, the V60 T5 Drive-E comes standard with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This power hits the front wheels via an eight-speed Geartronic transmission. This allows the base V60 T5 Drive-E to hit 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds, and still deliver 37 mpg highway and 25 mpg city.

In terms of build quality, safety, and luxury the VW simply cannot keep up with the Volvo despite how far VW has come in recent years.

Conclusion

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 615932

There are few model lineups that are as eclectic as the Golf. You have the inexpensive base-model Golf, the peppier GTI, the insane R, the thrifty diesel, the eco-friendly E, and now the SportWagen. With limited competition in the compact-wagon segment, the Golf SportWagen is bound to rake in plenty of cash for VW until other automakers catch on and release their own inexpensive wagons.

  • Leave it
    • * A little pricey
    • * The Mazda3 proves to be a worthy alternative
    • * Can we get an R version please?

Press Release

The all-new Golf SportWagen that goes on sale in early 2015 is based on the new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture. The new 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 model.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 615930

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 aerodynamic performance, fuel efficiency 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.

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.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 615931

The new SportWagen will be offered in front-wheel drive form, with two powertrains to choose from. The first is a 170 horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® engine, mated to five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. Manufacturer highway fuel economy is estimated to have 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, and 236 pound-feet pf torque. The TDI model will have a choice of six-speed manual or DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

Design

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.”

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Interior
- image 615932

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

Along the lines of the new Golf 7, the SportWagen will bring a number of available new features to market including a panoramic power tilt and slide sunroof, 12-way power driver’s seat, Climatronic® automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs and the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), 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 (APCBS). This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking system addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.

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