2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen – First Look and Review

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It truly shines when it comes to cargo space. It starts with 30.4 cubic feet (861 liters) of space, and folding the rear seats down more than doubles that to 66.5 cubic feet (1,883 liters). Just how much can 66.5 cubic feet hold? The contents of two of the largest “super capacity” refrigerators filled to the brim.

DRIVING THE 2015 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SPORTWAGEN

On an unusually rainy day in Austin, Texas, I drove both the TSI and TDI versions of the Golf SportWagen. The TSI is equipped with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that develops 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, while the TDI comes with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel outputting 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

From the driver’s seat, it’s hard to discern which engine is under the hood until you accelerate, at which point the massive torque generated by the diesel (as well as diesel clatter as the powerplant approaches 5,000 rpm) makes the answer obvious. Handling is otherwise similar but fuel economy isn’t. While the TSI achieves a respectable 36 mpg (6.53 l/100 km) highway and 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km) city, it pales in comparison to the TDI’s figures of 43 mpg (5.47 l/100 km) highway and 31 mpg (7.6 l/100 km) city. The diesel is mated to a six-speed manual while the petrol variant has a five-speed.

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Highway fuel economy figures with the six-speed automated manual transmission, Volkswagen’s DSG, are one mpg lower, namely 35 mpg (6.72 l/100 km) for the TSI and 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) for the oilburner.

It’s noteworthy that the Golf TDI hatch and wagon are two of the first beneficiaries of the Wolfsburg-based automaker’s new 2.0-liter four-cylinder EA288 diesel engine. It has the same displacement as the outgoing engine but it’s all new and one of the first built using the MDQ, or Modular Diesel Matrix, engine platform. It’s lighter, smaller, and more efficient than its predecessor yet produces an additional ten horsepower. From a driver’s perspective, there’s less engine vibration and noise, and exhibits better throttle response.

My time behind the wheel was split between the TSI with a five-speed and the TDI with the DSG. The five-speed shifted quite precisely but acceleration was leisurely at best. It’s a different story with the oilburner and six-speed DSG. This is where the SportWagen begins to offer drivers some Fahrvergnügen.

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