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.
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.