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VW of America introducing the Golf SportWagen; increased cargo volume and fuel efficiency; up to 43 mpg highway with diesel

Volkswagen of America is hosting a media drive in Austin this week to introduce the newest US member of the seventh-generation Golf family, the Golf SportWagen. Based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture introduced with the latest Golf generation, the SportWagen replaces the Jetta SportWagen in the Volkswagen US line-up. (The Golf SportWagen was also the basis for the hydrogen fuel cell Golf SportWagen HyMotion concept shown at the LA Auto Show last November. Earlier post.)

The Golf SportWagen will be offered with two powertrains: the third-generation EA888 1.8-liter, 170 hp (127 kW) turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine (earlier post) mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission; and the EA288 2.0-liter, 150-hp turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TDI diesel (earlier post), fitted with a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Volkswagen is taking a more aggressive pricing stance with the diesel, reducing the base price of the TDI S (entry-level) model by almost $2,000 compared to the older SportWagen.

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Positioning. Volkswagen is emphasizing that (a) the SportWagen is based on the award-winning Gen 7 Golf and that it is, fundamentally a Golf; and (b) that the SportWagen offers the versatility of a compact SUV combined with the fuel efficiency and driving dynamics of a sporty compact. Included in the competitive set is the Prius v (earlier post).

All the powertrains deliver comparable or more power along with improvements in fuel economy. These fuel economy figures better all non-BEV compact SUVs on the market, while offering comparable cargo volume—30.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 66.5 cubic feet with the seats folded flat.

Quick comparison of fuel economy and cargo
  Golf SportWagen 1.8T Golf SportWagen TDI Toyota Prius v Subaru Crosstek XV AWD Hybrid Honda CR-V
Fuel econ. city (mpg) 25 31 44 30 27
Fuel econ. hwy (mpg) 36/35 43/42 40 34 34
Rear cargo (ft3) 30.4 30.4 34.3 21.5 35.2
Rear cargo w/ seats down (ft3) 66.5 66.5 67.3 50.2 70.9

TSI engine. The TSI gasoline unit is a member of the latest EA888 engine family and replaces the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine of the previous Jetta SportWagen model. When equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission, the Golf SportWagen’s EPA estimated highway fuel economy has improved by 5 mpg over the previous 2.5-liter Jetta SportWagen to 35 mpg (6.7 l/100 km). The EPA rating for the manual transmission model is 36 mpg (6.5 l/100 km) on the highway.

The engine produces 170 hp at 4800 rpm—the same maximum output as the 2.5-liter unit it replaces—but its increased torque peak of 199 lb-ft (270 N·m) (for automatic transmission models) occurs much lower in the power band. Because the broad swathe of torque starts at 1500 rpm—2750 rpm lower than in the previous engine—and lasts until 4750 rpm, the engine offers much better acceleration as well as helping to deliver better fuel economy and lower emissions than before.

Augmenting the EA888’s 16-valve, dual-overhead-camshaft layout is variable cam phasing on the intake side. The single-scroll IHI turbocharger feeds intercooled air through the aluminum-alloy crossflow head down into the cylinders, where it meets fuel delivered by a high-pressure direct-injection system.

At just 290 pounds (132 kg), the new engine is also lighter than the five-cylinder unit, due to a combination of compact design, streamlined componentry, and a focus on lightweight materials. The cast-iron engine block uses a casting with a wall thickness of just 0.12 inches to reduce its weight to 72 pounds (33 kg), while a lightweight polymer oilpan and aluminum-alloy screws and fasteners also trim mass.

Other changes that help the engine shed pounds include a reduction from eight to four counterweights on the crankshaft and the use of smaller diameter main bearings. The engine is also extremely compact, illustrated by the way in which the exhaust manifold has been integrated directly into the cylinder head. This not only improves the system coolant operation (aiding in rapid warm-up and improving efficiency) but also allows greater thermal management of the exhaust stream.

TDI engine. Compared with the previous Jetta SportWagen’s TDI Clean Diesel engine, the new 2.0L EA288 diesel improves EPA estimated fuel economy from 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) on the highway for the manual transmission model to 43 mpg (5.47 l/100 km), and from 39 mpg (6.0 l/100 km) for the automatic transmission model to 42 mpg.

The EA288 turbodiesel engine family is designated the modular diesel matrix, or MDB (earlier post), and will form the basis for future US-market Volkswagen diesel products. Just like the MQB platform, the concept is best understood by visualizing the MDB engine as a grouping of standardized modules available across the Volkswagen Group.

The EA288 is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection diesel engine, a thorough update from the previous unit. Despite the similarity in basic specifications, the only aspect that carries over from the previous EA189 unit is the cylinder bore spacing.

The new engine produces 150 horsepower—10 more than before—at 3500 rpm, as well as 236 lb-ft (320 N·m) of torque at 1750 rpm.

The compact EA288 engine has the intercooler for its turbocharger system integrated directly into the intake manifold, which serves a two-fold purpose of increasing throttle response and performance as well as lowering emissions. The engine block is cast iron, with a forged steel crankshaft that runs in five main bearings and has four counterweights.

In order to counteract engine vibration and maintain smooth operation, the EA288’s crankshaft is connected to two gear-driven counter-rotating balancer shafts that spin at twice engine speed. Friction has been reduced by about 15% in the engine, thanks to the use of roller bearings for the drivetrain side camshaft, increased piston-to-wall clearance, and lower piston-ring tension, among other measures.

The aluminum-alloy crossflow cylinder head has a number of unique features. First, the camshafts are integrated into a separated housing by a thermal joining process, ensuring a very rigid camshaft bearing while keeping the weight low. Second, each overhead camshaft operates one intake valve and one exhaust valve per cylinder (as opposed to one camshaft for intake valves only and one for exhaust), allowing for greater air delivery and swirl.

Like its gasoline-powered brethren, the EA288 Clean Diesel TDI engine places strong emphasis on thermal management, which is evident in the cylinder head’s two-section coolant jacket, as well as a three-part cooling circuit and switchable coolant pump. Compared to the previous engine, emissions are reduced by up to 40 percent, helped by siting the exhaust after-treatment module close to the engine and by the use of a low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system.

Chassis. The Golf SportWagen shares the same MQB chassis architecture as the rest of the Mark 7 Golf line. The unitary construction chassis has two solid-mounted subframes with bolt-on front fenders, and utilizes new technologies such as the laser clamp welder, which produces “wobble seam” welds in a wave pattern to maximize strength in a limited space, offering up to four times the strength of a traditional spot weld.

The stamped steel body and chassis boasts a large percentage of high-strength, hot-formed steel. This technology, along with the use of newly developed ultra-high-strength steels, allows much of the chassis and body to be constructed from thinner and lighter parts without any loss in strength. Additionally, due to the use of selective thickness for parts, a single component can be tailor-rolled to have as many as 11 zones of varying thicknesses.

The use of high- and ultra-high strength steels and advanced manufacturing techniques enables the new SportWagen to be 137 pounds (62 kg) lighter than the outgoing Jetta SportWagen despite new features and an enhanced crash structure.

Suspension. The all-new Golf features a strut-type front suspension. At the back, the 1.8T models have a multilink arrangement with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The TDI Clean Diesel models use a compact torsion beam rear suspension with coil springs and telescopic dampers.

The seventh-generation Golf braking system has substantial 11.3-inch vented front discs and 10.7-inch solid rear discs (10.0 inches for the TDI) with standard three-channel ABS with electronic brake pressure distribution. The rack-and-pinion steering features electric power assist and features a 13.6 to one ratio that allows for 2.76 turns from lock to lock.

All 2015 Golf models are equipped with the XDS Cross Differential System—a feature previously only seen on the performance-oriented GTI model. This technology acts somewhat like an electronic substitute for a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, working by actively monitoring data from each wheel sensor. If the suspension becomes unloaded, the system automatically applies braking to the driven inside wheel as needed to help reduce understeer (the tendency for the front wheels to run wide). This not only helps the Golf’s stability, but also improves handling and cornering performance.

Safety Systems. All Golf models are equipped with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC). The Forward Collision Warning system uses a radar sensor to help monitor the distance of traffic ahead of the vehicle. The sensor acquires both the position of stationary cars and motorcycles as well as those moving in the same direction as the Jetta. Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning helps alert the driver of critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a clear warning symbol in the instrument cluster.

Driver Assistance Systems. The SE and SEL models are also available with the Driver Assistance Package that adds a Forward Collision Warning and front and rear Park Distance Control systems.

The new Automatic Post-Collision Braking system is standard on the SportWagen. 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 to reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.

Models and pricing. The Golf SportWagen is available with two engines and in three trim leves: S, SE, and SEL. Pricing starts at $21,395 for the 1.8T S model with manual transmission; this equates to a content adjusted reduction of $700 over the previous base Jetta SportWagen, according to Volkswagen. The base TDI S starts at $24,595 and offers a six-speed manual gearbox and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels as standard, with a dual-clutch DSG automatic available for an extra $1,100. KESSY keyless access with push-button start and a rearview camera are among the standard features.

The US market is, unfortunately, not slated to received the newly introduced Golf Variant GTD, which, like the Golf GTD (earlier post) features the 184 PS (135 kW) TDI engine. (Earlier post.)



Diesel, the sucker fuel.
Since diesel more expensive then premium gas, it's a loser for most drivers.
You'll actually spend more money on a dirtier, micro-particle cancer source.
Not smart Germany.
Where is your plugin-hybrid sportwagon already, where the consumer Actually Saves Money and Fuel.


This is old farted fraudulous marketing to name this clean diesel. There is no clean diesel whatsoever, this is very dirty, you can smell any diesel and it suck a lot and it's bad for the health. Also it cost more and the town of paris and London want to banish them.

What kind of website this is spreading falsity like that. It's called greencarcongress not dirtytoxiccarcongress.


Modern diesels(tier 4) are cleaner than modern Gasoline cars...

That being said, diesel cost a lot more to refine, it cost a lot to remove the sulfur.

Diesels are not the best thing in the light duty/ non commercial market. There is a lot of expensive things that can go wrong if not properly cared for.

So basically in the public they have no real benefit, in industry they do. There is usually a premium cost added to the price of the vehicle over Gasoline, and in the US that will almost never be recuperated due to the cost premium of diesel over gasoline fuels.

Diesels have more expensive oil changes, and often times now at greater frequencies than gasoline. The high pressure fuel system on a diesel is probably the most sensitive and costly parts on the vehicle.

After-treatment is also very sensitive to driver input and maintenance, incorrect procedures, wrong fluids, and ignorance can cost thousands to an unsuspecting owner...


According to EIA, ULSD actually costs less on the U.S. west coast than regular gasoline at this time (by about $0.10/gallon).

From an environmental perspective, rigorous studies have found that diesel technology is among the "cleanest", if not the "cleanest", of any technology currently available when evaluated over the entire life cycle (LCA).


Stop spreading falsity on diesel benefit, this is a poison and manufacturers are spreading false benefits because they have to get rid of it because it is a part of crude petroleum so they have to sell it, it's physical. Also to cover their aXX they charge a premium on the technology and say that it is clean. The problem is that it don't burn completely so harmful pollutants that you can see and smell are emitted into the atmosphere. They remove the sulphur from it but the refinery have to get rid of it so it end-up into the chimneys of the refinery instead of the exhaust tip of a car or trucks.

They can't physically ban diesel, this is impossible but at least remove any diesel cars or small trucks from cities like the town of paris recently decided.


Good luck with that VW. The rest of Europe is quickly turning against diesel and the US will stall out now because it's so expensive here and it's "clean" credentials are very tenuous at best.


The above comments are the false ones.


"...Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas...."


"...Diesel, which has relatively high damages in 2005, has one of the lowest levels of damage in 2030. This result is due to the substantial reductions in both PM and NOx emissions that a diesel vehicle has been required to attain after the 2006 introduction of low-sulfur fuel...."

Source: National Academy of Sciences, "Hidden Cost of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use."

How about some citations for the negative diesel technology comments?


A PSA Peugeot official said recently that diesel after-treatment exhaust system is expected to last some 230 or 240 thousand kms (approx 145,000 miles).

How much does the replacement cost?


Alex, it depends on the unit, how its made, if the Selective Catalytic Reduction filter is connected to the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst and have to be replaced as one. That would be very costly.

Technically, if it is serviceable and there is not abuse or neglect it should last the life VW provided. If abused by using a high ash oil, poor fuel quality/burn, or lots of short trips, it could clog up... or worse crack, melt, or permanently be clogged by ash.

that being said they can cook the Particulate Matter out of the substrate and make it like new.

They aren't cheap, but I don't how much these new one's would cost. My advice is look up the cost of the SCR on the outgoing model.


I meant to type in Peugeot, my mistake.

Nick Lyons

@Cheese: ...diesel cost a lot more to refine,...

I don't think this is true. Diesel is expensive because of overall world demand and constrained supply. Refining costs are not driving diesel fuel prices, market demand is.

It is interesting that its price does not necessarily move in sync with gasoline prices--where I live (in CA) it is sometimes more expensive than premium, sometimes less.

Jason Burr

I hate people who spread lies through ignorance. The outgoing PZEV(Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) is actually MORE polluting than the same year TDI (Clean Diesel). The new TDI is even lower emissions.

It is the older cars in use, before modern emissions regulations came into effect, that are the main problem. BTW there are plenty of GASOLINE cars with sooty bumpers, so don't tell me its all diesel's fault.


Jason Burr

**Update to above** The study includes the US Passat TDI and the Euro Passat TDI. EU is still coming inline with US diesel emissions standards and the study was current in 2012 when the cars in question were released.


thomas p

The engine is too big. It'd have to be around a 1.6 litre for me to be interested. VW always puts too big diesels into its cars. Now if they came out with a truck version, I'd be interested.


I said 2 time to not buy diesel cars or small trucks. These vehicles have their exhaust tips lower than big diesel tractor-trailer trucks so I have to smell and breath diesel fumes and I don't like it, is it clear now ? Diesel is just a marketing gimmick costing more with false castastrophic results. A lot of peoples in paris and London died because of diesel, a lot more are sick on a daily basis.

Jason Burr


Here, let me be clear. You may not like diesel, but you are wrong about the exhaust. Here is the coffee filter test;

BTW International Navistar built a diesel school bus and performed the same test, with the same result.

I have tried this and even a new GASOLINE car exhaust leaves a noxious odor and foul taste, but not on the TDI.

You are free to express your opinion, but please stop spreading lies and fallacies to support your opinion.



Since,according to you, thankyou kindly, I'm free to express my opinion, here is mine: You must be one of these people who, having discovered how much better fuel mileage you can get from a diesel, think it is the best thing since sliced bread, and will not hear a word against it.I'm with Gor on this in that I have to spend too much time breathing the stinking stuff whenever on the roads, following even the newest diesel models, and there have been enough reports on this website of the harm it can do, but you will be asking too much of my memory to cite the references, as you so eagerly do to back up your opinion. You clearly keep a file of these for just such a purpose, so that I'm even tempted to believe you must work in the diesel engine or refining industries.Further, if you are going to accuse someone of spreading lies, you had best be prepared to prove that with something more than just a You-tube link, and also accept that cyber-bullies are not welcome here. Regulars on this site will know that Gor is a harmless and often entertaining individual who adds to our pleasure in sharing thoughts about the future of personal transportation, so leave him alone please.


EPA held a conference in Research Triangle Park, NC, last month (February 2015) on ultrafine particles. Gasoline direct injection (GDI) vehicles have been shown to emit as much as 8000 times as many ultrafine particles at start up as a DPF-equipped diesel. This is especially problematic with vehicles equipped with stop/start systems.

Since almost all car manufacturers are going to GDI, and ultrafine particles are becoming a bigger public health concern, why is there no outcry from the commenters here about new gasoline engines?


Carl, I am not aware if GDI increases PM emissions... but I would wager under most operation circumstances the GDI would be cleaner than Port, throttle body, or even carburetor in practice. I will agree that they do release a fair amount of PM emissions, though not nearly as bad as unfiltered diesels.(my thought is in the high torque situations where the engine will run rich to meet demand, will be much higher than port injection is because these engines do make a lot more torque comparatively.)

The reason why diesels are being targeted first, is because they are low hanging fruit. Even while gasoline cars outnumber diesels, diesels before aftertreatment were the largest contributor to NOx and PM by a lot.

I'd wager in another 8-15 years we'll see PM filters on cars, or see the death of ICE as we know it.(Opting for generators and a serial hybrid setup like the volt)

That being said, land transportation pollution is fairly small compared to maritime, and other pollution sources. Home HVAC uses a large amount of our fossil fuels, yet it is only making small progress to rectify inefficiencies.


CheeseEater - I agree with you on all of your points except that unfiltered diesels have been the largest contributor of PM by a lot.

There have been several source-apportionment studies which have shown the gasoline cars actually contribute much more PM than diesel (in the U.S. where gasoline vehicles predominate). The initial landmark study was conducted in Denver ("Northern Front Range Air Quality Study") and showed that gasoline sources were responsible for about three times as much ambient PM as diesel sources. This was in the late 1990s which predated widespread use of DPF on diesels.

Gasoline vehicles, both PFI and GDI, have been shown to produce very high PM emissions in some "off-cycle" conditions, for example, very cold ambient temperatures.

EPA estimates that about 40% of gasoline engine PM emissions at start-up are black carbon (BC), meaning that the total PM emissions from those gasoline cars under those ambient conditions would exceed 100 mg/mile and over 200 mg/mile in some cases. Just for reference, the current PM limit under Tier 2 is 10 mg/mile (0.01 g/mile).


You mentioned "gasoline engine PM emissions at start-up".
How long does the high pollution at start-up last (at 20 degC, at 5 degC, at -10 degC). If engine with stop-start system stays warm during those ~1 min stops, do PM emissions jump during restarts?
I know that Prius engine has system to keep its warmth for longer, as it is often turned on and off.
VW/Audi have introduced some models that use 'sailing', i.e. disconnect and turn off the engine when gas pedal is released, say on downhill sections, or when approaching intersections/traffic lights. They claim ICE restart within 0.2 sec or so. Apparently they don't worry about increased pollution at restarts.

Another issue is about durability of those particulate filters (for both diesel and GDI engines). If there is no mandatory emission testing for vehicle registration renewal (every year or every 2 years), then there will be plenty of old cars that will be extremely poluting, to negate the benefits of cleanliness of the best emission systems on new cars.
Despite the latest emission systems on new diesels, I'm still able to smell stopped (and very slow moving) diesel cars. I don't know what they emit, I simply don't like it.


Alex - apparently the high PM emissions at start-up occur even when the engine is warm. There have been a few studies which show that a hybrid version has higher particle number emissions than the conventional version of the same car (Toyota Camry) as a result of the frequent hot starts.

I have a 2010 diesel car (U.S.-spec Tier 2 Bin 5) with about 85,000 miles on it, and my son has a 2014 diesel car of another make and model, and neither of them have ever had detectable odor, even during cold start in an enclose garage. There may be a slight "burning" odor if the cars are turned off during DPF regeneration events, but nothing perceptible other than that. I have also been behind NTDE diesel pickup trucks (Fords and GMs NTDE easily identified by the "ventilated" tailpipe), and have never notice any perceptible odor.

Gasoline engine cars are subject to potential catalyst (TWC) failures when the cars get old. Where I live, there are old gas cars/pickup trucks that emit what I consider a very objectionable odor, which I don't like, as far as that goes.


interesting article on increased Camry hybrid PM emissions.
Actually hybrid and non hybrid Camry do not use the same engine. The hybrid version of the engine is Atkinsonized. It may also use EGR (as newer Prius models do).
Probably more relevant would be to do similar study on two cars with the same engine, one with stop-start, another without (or best with that feature disabled). Or with a VW/Audi model, one with DCT transmission and 'sail' feature (I mentioned it above in previous post), another car without the 'sail' feature, say same engine with manual transmission, both driven over the same hilly terrain, where 'sail' function frequently gets activated (i.e. engine gets turned off and on).

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