American station wagon enthusiasts are usually neglected when it comes to all-new offerings, which is why Volkswagen had them watering at the mouth when it dropped the all-wheel drive Golf R Variant at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week. That’s because not only is the Golf R Variant a wagon (the wagon version of the highly-praised 2015 Golf), but it’s also the wagon version of the high-performance Golf R, with some respectable power (296 hp/280 pound-feet of torque) and performance characteristics. Unfortunately, the Golf R Variant won’t be making it to North America, but it is a strong indicator of things to come from VW to the U.S. market, VW told USA Today.
VW says that it has been losing market share to rival Subaru and its all-wheel drive models in the Northeastern United States and in Colorado. And the Wolfsburg automaker is planning to fight back with the Golf Alltrack. Already announced for Europe, the Golf Alltrack is a ruggedized version of the standard Golf Variant (called the Golf SportWagen in America and previously called the Jetta SportWagen). The Golf Alltrack features all-wheel drive, a ground clearance that’s about two inches higher than a normal model, and plastic body cladding on the lower parts of the vehicle. Expect The Golf Alltrack to land on U.S. shores in late 2016 as a 2017 model.
Meanwhile, the conventional Golf SportWagen will become available in America in April 2015 and feature a four-cylinder diesel engine as standard equipment. For whatever reason, diesel powerplants are nowhere near as popular in North America as they are in Europe, so VW’s move to make it the standard powerplant in the wagon is bold. But here’s the kicker: the oil burner will likely be offered in the Golf Alltrack as well, alongside the 1.8-liter TSI gasoline engine. Which engine VW plans on offering in the standard Golf Alltrack is unknown at this point.
- The Golf R Variant — the high-performance Golf Variant/SportWagen — is not coming to the U.S.
- The new Golf Variant will become available as the Golf SportWagen in America in April 2015 with a diesel engine as standard equipment
- The new Golf Alltrack — a ruggedized version of the Golf Variant/Golf SportWagen — will come to America in 2016 as a 2017 model and will offer two four-cylinder motors — VW’s 2.0-liter TDI diesel along with VW’s 1.8-liter TSI gasoline/petrol