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The Volkswagen Golf was first introduced in the United States in 1974 and is now in its 7th generation. We wrote about the latest version of the Golf back in our September 2014 issue, when the Golf Mark 7 sedan was introduced to the press. Unfortunately, at that time, the Golf SportWagen was not yet in production. We promised then, that as soon as possible, we’d bring you the details on the new Golf SportWagen. While the wait was long, it was worth it.  Recently, we had the chance to test two different trim lines of the Golf Sportswagen, one a manual and the other the automatic. They were fun to drive and impressive in many ways. 

AUTOMATIC & MANUAL

For our 2015 Golf SportWagen comparison test, we got into both an automatic and a manual transmission version of this car. The first of our drives was in manual transmission, seen here in blue. The manual proved to be the mileage master of the two. The DSG automatic car, seen here in red, was not as frugal on fuel as the manual. However, it bested the EPA-rated 42 highway on the open road routinely during our testing. Both were fun to drive and got great mileage.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Our two testers were a blue S trim that had a 6-speed manual and a red SE trim with the 6-speed DSG automatic. Of course, both were equipped with the new EA288 2.0 L diesel engines. The new TDI 4-cylinder is smoother and quieter than the last generation engine and produces 40-percent fewer emissions too. Technological improvements and the use of DEF fluid make this possible. Yes, VW finally had to introduce DEF fluid in anticipation of ever increasing emission restrictions to come. It’s not all bad; the DEF fluid does allow for more tuning options, and the overall results are more horses from this new 2.0L and even better mileage.

Overall, both the new Golf SportWagens proved to be comfortable, fun to drive and frugal on fuel. Overall, the new Golf SportsWagen is spacious enough for two adults and three dogs to take a road trip across two states. While the TDI can fit in any-size garage or carport, it is also big on features and capacity. Best of all, the TDI diesel offers some of the best mileage we’ve seen out of any diesel we’ve driven. DW

The 6-speed manual transmission (A) is well matched to the RPM needs of the diesel engine. It was smooth shifting and seemed perfectly geared for the little diesel under the hood. We found that properly driven, it will best the automatic in the mileage department. The DSG automatic (B) has a shift gate that allows it to be driven as an automatic manual for a more sporty driving experience, or as a standard automatic: Put in into “D” and forget about it.

The new generation of 2.0L TDI engines, the EA288 family, requires DEF fluid. This was inevitable, as emissions standards are becoming more restrictive. When looking up DEF in the owner’s manual, it is listed under ADBlue. In Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is commonly referred to as ADBlue. Thus, all European cars sold in the USA refer to DEF as ADBlue in the manuals.

Here you see a comparison between the older style Jetta SportWagen (right) and the new 2015 Golf SportWagen (left). Believe it or not, the 2015 Golf SportWagen is similar in size, on the outside, as its older brother: the Jetta Sportwagen. It does have a two-inch longer wheelbase, but the bodies are virtually the same length, width and height.

The 2015 Golf SportsWagen is a great car for the family or singles with active lifestyles. It is compact and easy to maneuver in traffic, and has the capacity to carry lots of gear for weekends away.

SPECS:
2015 VEHICLES: Volkswagen Golf SportWagens

Two were tested: an S package-manual and SE package with DSG Auto.
Engine Type: I-4, Turbo Diesel
Displacement: 2.0L (122 cid)
Horse Power and Torque: 150 hp, 865 lb-ft.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
Transmissions: 6-speed manual on S package and 6-speed on DSG automatic SE
EPA MPG rating: 31 city; 43 Highway; 35 combined for both transmissions.
Owner Estimates at press time: 44.6 MPG (See: FuelEconomy.gov)
Best Tank During Testing: 64.3 MPG in the manual. 

The Golf SportWagen is roomy enough for a mountain bike or a few dogs in the back. If you lead a sporty life, or have a large family, the extra room will be much appreciated. Compared to the last generation Jetta SportWagen, this model has slightly more passenger space and legroom.

Here you can see a comparison of the Golf SportWagen’s cargo capacity with the rear seats up and folded down. This little car has lots of carrying space: 30.4-Cu. Ft. with the rear seats up and 66.5-Cu. Ft. with them down.

The climate control system is split to offer different levels of air temperature to the vents on each side of the passenger compartment. This potentially relationship-saving function is standard. The seats were also heated separately.

The 2015 Golf SportWagen has an odd triangular window right over the dash at the A-pillar. This helps see what would be hiding in a blind spot if the glass weren’t there. In addition, we found it a great place to store your sunglasses.

The driver assist info system offers eco tips as you push along. Besides recommending up and down shifts points, it also warns that open windows eat fuel. This warning about windows is found on both the automatic and manual cars.

The SE package comes with a monstrously large sunroof that covers almost two-thirds of the roof. The part that actually opens to the air is about half of the total glass area.

Our best tank in the Golf SportWagen TDI manual was a 64.3-mpg tank run on the open road. Our overall average was less but still higher than the EPA number. Not bad for a 144-mile run though the Mojave.

In our travels, testing mileage on desert back roads, we found what might be the most expensive diesel fuel in California. This lone station in the middle of the Mojave Desert is the only game in town…for miles around. However, with the amazing mileage of the TDI engine, we just stopped for a photo!

Our little Golf SportWagen might not haul as much gear as this rail running capable F-450, but is has enough capacity for the average family. It also offers mileage numbers that the F-450 won’t see even if rolling down hill in neutral.

SOURCE:
Volkswagen
VW.com