2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Episode 3511
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

By now you’ve heard all the Volkswagen turbo diesel fiasco. Residual values, VW stock prices, and brand image have all taken a beating over recent months. But, what’s been lost in all of the hubub is that there’s a new Golf Sportwagon. And, despite the diesel disaster, the Sportwagon deserves it’s time in the spotlight.

For those fans that were upset over the demise of the Jetta SportWagen, we have great news. It’s hasn’t really gone away, it’s just been re-designed, and renamed, as the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. 

And that means it is now using VW’s fantastic MQB architecture, and the benefits of that are almost endless. It weighs less, is more economical, and despite shifting from Jetta to Golf nameplates, it even has about the same amount of space inside. 

We’re certainly okay with the expansion of the Golf lineup, as it has always been one of our favorite cars. But what we’re not fine with of course, is the recent news regarding Volkswagen’s deceptive practices when it came to getting their TDI diesel’s emission’s certified.

We spent time in a urea-injected TDI equipped SportWagen back in the summer, before all of this came to light. And averaged 37.0 miles-per-gallon, which is actually better than the Combined Government Fuel Economy Rating of 35, to go along with 31-City, and 42-Highway.

We’ve always been huge fans of the TDI and have always gotten exceptional fuel economy results, but perhaps in retrospect we should have known it was almost too good to be true. It’s not a total disaster however, as independent testing has concluded that with a software fix, fuel economy might decline as little as 5%. 

Ultimately it will be the consumers that will decide the TDI’s fate when and if Volkswagen gets things sorted out.    

We also drove a TSI-equipped gasoline fueled SportWagen; and here we also bested expectations, averaging 33.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular. The official Combined is only 29, with 25-City and 35-Highway. Its legitimate Energy Impact Score comes in at 11.4 barrels of oil consumed yearly with CO2 emissions of 5.0-tons. 

The 1.8-liter I4 in the TSI is rated at 170-horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque and is available with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. 

Compared with a Golf 5-door, there’s 12.0-inches of additional length, yet it rides on a wheelbase that’s actually been shortened by a bit. Overall length, however, is almost exactly the same as the departing Jetta SportWagen. 

As far as design, there’s only so much you can do with the two-box wagon shape, the Golf’s take is without a doubt more purposeful and less bloated than the Jetta’s. 

The forward portion of the interior doesn’t depart at all from the simple Golf theme, and we’re just fine with that. Material quality is good, and seat comfort better than expected. 

Cargo capacity in the hold is down slightly to 30.4 cubic-ft., but after dropping the rear seat backs, the space expands to 66.5 cubic-ft. And that’s much more space than all of the rapidly growing subcompact crossovers have to offer.  

And it’s much more fun to drive as well. Here at the track, it was as capable as we hoped, and handles way better than a car this big should. The extra 100-pounds or so of weight over the hatchback did nothing to compromise handling here; or ride quality on the way back to the office. 

0-60 times were quicker in the TSI, as you would expect, though not by much. 8.7 TSI, verses 9.0-flat for the TDI. Both are a little sluggish off the line, while they wait for their turbos to spin up the boost. 

So naturally, the TSI completes the 1/4-mile more quickly as well; taking 16.2-seconds to trip the lights at 88 miles-per-hour. Stops from 60 averaged a good 125-feet. Brake feel was great and fade was minimal.

With all of the pricy cars we test these days, at $22,215; the Golf SportWagen packs about everything you could want in a tidy, highly affordable package. 2016 editions tack on only a couple hundred dollars more. For the time being, the TDI is not available pending recertification. Expect about a three grand premium when it returns.

So, while VW’s deception has certainly tempered our enthusiasm for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, and it’s in fact difficult for us to recommend any Volkswagen at the current time, the SportWagen is still a good idea. But even good ideas need the proper timing to be great ones.

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.8 liter I4
  • Horsepower: 170
  • Torque: 199 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.7 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 16.2 seconds @ 88 mph
  • EPA: 25 mpg city/ 35 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.0 tons/yr
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 3/4 Front

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Big Changes for Volvo’s Smallest SUV

Episode 4337
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Volvo’s march towards full electrification is well underway, and it doesn’t look like anything will stop it. Now, there are currently four fully-electric SUVs you can reserve on their website. However, only two have made it onto our streets here in the U.S. including their first EV, the XC40 Recharge. Which, as it turns out, continues to get better and better.

The 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge started out as just the plain old XC40 back in 2019. It then acquired the Recharge signifier in 2021 when it became the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle here in the U.S., not to be confused with the XC40 Recharge PHEV… Plug-In Hybrid… which unfortunately is not sold here.
Got all that? Good, let’s talk about what has changed recently to make the XC40 Recharge EV better than ever.

It may look mostly the same as when we last saw it back in 2021, but it did get some styling tweaks last year, and underneath that skin, and all the vegan and recycled materials, are some big changes for 20-24.
Foremost is a bigger battery. It comes in a new two-wheel-drive version of the XC40. Up to now, all XC40 Recharges have been all-wheel drive. With just a single 185 kilowatt motor rated at 248 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque and a larger 82 kilowatt-hour battery pack, range jumps from the previous max of 223 miles to 293.

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Dead Front
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 3/4 Front
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Headlight
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Volvo Badge
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Profile
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Rear Profile
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Stamped Name
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 3/4 Rear
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Dead Rear
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Taillight
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Badge
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Dead Front2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 3/4 Front2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Headlight2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Volvo Badge2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Profile2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Rear Profile2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Stamped Name2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 3/4 Rear2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Dead Rear2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Taillight2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Badge

Now, we put it to the test on a cold and rainy spring day, and fell well short of that max number. But our pace of 251-miles, at the end of our driving loop, was still a significant improvement.

Twin-motor all-wheel-drive XC40s keep the same 78 kilowatt-hour battery as before, but also take advantage of that new rear motor, as well as get an upgraded front motor too. New software treats that front motor as more of a traction assist to be used only when needed.

Power built more gradually, more like a traditional ICE powertrain. We’ve been seeing that approach from other EV makers recently as well, and we’re onboard with that.

So, range is up for it too, now rated at 254 miles. Full one-pedal driving is also included. XC40s with the extended range battery have a charging upgrade too, now taking up to 200-kilowatt DC fast charging for an 80% charge in 28 minutes.

As for charging off the starting line at our test track, it certainly didn’t have the rush of acceleration that the twin-motor displays. Power built more gradually, more like a traditional ICE powertrain. We’ve been seeing that approach from other EV makers recently as well, and we’re onboard with that.

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Dashboard
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Steering Wheel
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Central Display
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Volume Knob
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Digital Cluster
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Central Display Alt
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Shifter
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Front Seat
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 7
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Rear Seat
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Rear Climate
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Trunk
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Harmon Kardon Speaker
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Door Interior
2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Dashboard2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Steering Wheel2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Central Display2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Volume Knob2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Digital Cluster2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Central Display Alt2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Shifter2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Front Seat2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge 72024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Rear Seat2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Rear Climate2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Trunk2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Harmon Kardon Speaker2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Door Interior

Once full power did arrive, we hit 60 in a still quite quick 6.4 seconds; and power delivery stayed strong throughout the quarter-mile instead of tapering off like many EVs do. The full quarter-mile catapult ended in 15.2 seconds at 92 miles-per-hour.

Volvo has also tweaked the suspension to provide a smoother ride on the street, but with the same low center of gravity as before, combined with rear-wheel drive, the XC40 Recharge felt more than capable through our handling course.

Nothing really changes inside. All occupants are met with a pretty plush yet very practical design. That means great materials, good comfort front and rear, and Volvo’s Google-based infotainment system.

XC40 Recharges are available in 3 trim levels: Core, Plus, and Ultimate, with all three now available in either rear or all-wheel drive. With the Twin Motor now essentially a $1,750 option, prices range from the base Single Motor Core’s $53,745 to top Twin Motor Ultimate at $61,845.

With a comprehensive powertrain and drivetrain makeover, the 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge accomplishes more than just offering more range and more options for buyers, it has become a more compelling EV choice than ever.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: single rear (185-kW)
  • Battery Size: 82-kWh
  • Horsepower: 248
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft.
  • EPA Range: 293 Miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.2 seconds at 92 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 116 feet (avg)
  • MW Range: 252 Miles
  • Efficiency: 32 kWh/100 miles