What Is It?

The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept should look pretty familiar to anyone who has given a Jetta SportWagen a second glance on the street. The previous generation of Jetta was, after all, a Golf with a trunk before morphing into a wagon.

Now there's a seventh-generation Golf, due in the United States soon as a 2015 model. A wagon version is already on sale in Europe. Since the current Jetta doesn't share the same architecture, it makes more sense to call a new VW compact wagon a Golf variant.

The accepted wisdom is that the great American driving public doesn't like wagons because they don't have a cool image. Other people might think a wagon driver wears home-knitted sweaters and keeps coupons in the glove compartment. Diesel engines aren't popular, either. In that case, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen 4Motion Concept is an ideal opportunity to strike out as a maverick.

A new 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine is one option under the hood. It makes 150 horsepower and should be good for 40 miles per gallon or more on the highway. For those who just can't bring themselves to venture that far into nonconformism, VW offers a gasoline-drinking, 1.8-liter turbo 4-cylinder developing 170 hp. In each instance, all the wheels are driven, hence the 4Motion part of the name.

Compared with the Jetta SportWagen (wagen is German spelling, by the way), this model can swallow about an extra 10 percent of cargo. FYI, the JSW offers a spacious 66.9 cu ft. with the rear seats down.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Yes. Volkswagen calls this car a concept, but the company has already announced that a production version will go on sale in the United States in early 2015. Features include a panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights and an automatic post-collision braking system (many accidents involve a second collision, so this system applies the brakes to bring the vehicle to a stop sooner).

Why It's Important

The outgoing Jetta SportWagen came as a diesel model (TDI) and was kinda cool in a contrarian, fuel-conserving and utilitarian way. Wagons offer plenty of practicality, so the inclusion of all-wheel drive in this model -- along with the chance of saving money at the pumps -- could easily sway some buyers away from the usual compact-crossover suspects.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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