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Volkswagen Golf SportWagen: Wood paneling not included (pictures)

Most US buyers may not appreciate station wagons, but for those that do, Volkswagen has the updated Golf SportWagen, a wagon with loads of cargo space, an economical diesel engine and even a manual transmission option.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Volkswagen released a major update to its Golf SportWagen following last year's update of the Golf hatchback range.

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The Golf SportWagen comes with either gasoline or diesel engines.

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This 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel makes 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and achieves average fuel economy around 35mpg.

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Toward the rear, the proportions of this new SportWagen make it feel less like a compact and more like a full-size wagon.

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To make room for the diesel exhaust clean-up system, Volkswagen uses a torsion bar rear suspension in the SportWagen TDI, while the gas engine version gets a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension.

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The filler for diesel emission fluid, or AdBlue, sits next to the fuel filler.

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The Golf SportWagen shows off a very squared-off back end, styling taken up in other areas of the body.

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The impressively large cargo space can hold 30.4 cubic feet of anything with the rear seat up, and 66.5 cubic feet with the rear seat down.

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Volkswagen uses a clean, modern design for the cabin.

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Semi-buckets in the rear bench make it more suitable for two passengers, rather than three.

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This panoramic sunroof comes standard with the SE or SEL trim levels.

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Volkswagen offers a lighting and a driver assistance package, but most features come packaged in at trim levels, which range from S to SE to SEL.

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The electric power steering responds sharply to inputs, a typical European steering trait.

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Whether diesel or gasoline engine, the Golf SportWagen can be had with six speed manual or six speed DSG automated manual transmission. The automated manual uses computer-controlled clutches for efficient gear changes, and can shift automatically.

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S and SE trim level Golf SportWagens get this 5.8-inch touchscreen, working as the stereo and phone interface.

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Navigation comes standard at the SEL trim level, and is not available in the lower trims.

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The destination menu bar pops up over the map screen.

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This example of the Golf SportWagen shows it with a roof rack. Michael Klopotowski, Volkswagen’s product planner for the Golf family, noted that bicyclists can more easily reach the rack, which sits on the 5 foot high roof, as opposed to with a taller SUV.

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These 18-inch wheels come standard at the SEL trim level.

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Volkswagen offers adaptive cornering lights as part of the Lighting package, for $995.

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