Though it's more readily known as the Jetta SportWagen here in the U.S. (with a few tweaks to make it look more like the Jetta) the Golf Variant is how the rest of the world knows this compact wagon, and it's getting an all-new version at this year's Geneva Motor Show.
This is what we'll see in the U.S. as the replacement for the Jetta SportWagen, most likely as a 2015 model.
A TDI BlueMotion version of the Golf Variant will be offered in Europe with a 110-horsepower engine rated at 71.3 mpg in the European combined scale--a figure which could still work out in the 50-60 mpg range under EPA testing if it were to come here.
Two all-wheel drive versions will also be offered, with 105-horsepower and 150-horsepower TDI Clean Diesel engines. Volkswagen says a natural gas (CNG) version is also in the works.
In total, eight engines will be available in the Golf Variant, with 85, 90, 105, 122, and 140-horsepower gasoline engines, and 105, 110, and 150-horsepower diesel engines. A five- or six-speed manual transmission is standard, depending on the engine chose, and most of the turbocharged gasoline and TDI engines can be had with an optional DSG dual-clutch transmission.
So what's new besides the powertrains? The latest Variant adds cargo space to the tune of a 41.5-inch long area behind the rear seats, which grows to 72.1 inches with the second row folded. VW says this increases the cargo volume behind the rear seats by 20 percent, and 9 percent with the rear seats flat. A new roller blind is also added to cover the cargo area from prying eyes. The blind can be stowed under the floor when not needed.
Compared to the Golf hatchback, the Variant is 12.1 inches longer, though it's identical from the B-pillar forward. Wheelbase is also slightly longer, up 2.3 inches to 103.8 overall.
As for features and content, the Golf Variant promises all of the standard bits you'd expect (at least in European models), with seven airbags, electronic stability control, power accessories, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold function, split-folding rear seats, electric power steering, and a 5-inch TFT touchscreen display. Optional upgrades include 5.8-inch and 8-inch touchscreen displays.
Advanced safety in the form of PreCrash is also available, pre-tensioning front seatbelts in the event of a potential crash, while also closing the windows and sunroof to leave just a small gap--all to improve the performance of the airbags. Other available high-tech systems include City Emergency Braking, Automatic Distance Control, Lane Assist, Driver Alert, Dynamic Light Assist, and more.
The Golf Variant launches in Europe this August, but we expect it to arrive sometime in 2014 here in the U.S.. For all of our Geneva Motor Show coverage, check out our hub page.