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.


  • 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
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70

2023 Genesis Electrified GV70

Genesis Waves Their Magic EV Wand Yet Again

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Genesis Electrified GV70 is not only the 3rd all-electric vehicle offering from Hyundai’s luxury division, but it’s also the first Genesis model to be built here in the US. You know, the GV70 was already a big hit with both critics and buyers, so let’s find out if a big pack of batteries and American workers can take it to the next level.

For the 2023 model year, the Genesis GV70 utility has gone electric. And like the Electrified G80 sedan before it, Genesis has integrated an all-electric drivetrain into its existing platform seamlessly and effectively.

Now, it may look almost exactly like the sleek and sophisticated internal combustion powered GV70 SUV that arrived just last year. But packed underneath it all, is the GV60’s next-gen propulsion system that uses a pair of electric motors delivering standard all-wheel drive and 429-horsepower. Both the front and rear-mounted electric motors are 160-kW and produce a combined 516 lb-ft. of torque, relying on energy from a 77.4-kWh battery. Full 350-kW charging capability will get the battery to 80% in just 18-minutes. The Electrified GV70 is rated to travel 236-miles between those charging sessions.

But based on our driving loop, we’d say more is easily possible as we were on pace for over 250-miles; making it an overachiever, much like the G80.

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The approach to the interior is not so much a heavy-handed blast of over-the-top luxury, rather just a soothing blend of high-quality metal and leather materials with soft tones, subtle ambient light, and an airy feel that ultimately delivers a very comforting experience.

There’s an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a 14.5-inch touchscreen that houses standard navigation, and it also has a rotary style control on the console if you prefer that, just don’t confuse it with the rotary gear selector like we did. Lexicon audio, quilted leather, and a suede headliner come with the Prestige package that also includes active noise control and white brake calipers.

Regen braking paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel allow for adjusting amounts of regen up to full 1-pedal driving; or you can let Smart Regen take control, gathering data from past driving history, navigation, and road conditions to determine the appropriate amount of braking. Drive modes include Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport +, and Custom, and Genesis has added some additional sound deadening for this EV.

Based on the incredibly quiet, smooth, and steady highway ride we experienced, we weren’t sure what to expect when we pulled this GV70 up to the line at our Mason Dixon Dragway test track.

Well, not much calmness or serenity here, as this thing absolutely blasted off the line like a rocket, hitting 60 in just 3.9-seconds. That’s almost a full 2-seconds quicker than last year’s 2.5-liter turbo-equipped GV70. It’s hard to beat performance-tuned EVs when it comes to torque delivery, and like the GV60, there’s a boost button on the steering wheel that delivers an additional 54-horsepower for a thrilling 10-seconds, helping us clear the ¼ in 12.4-seconds at 112 miles-per-hour.

The low center of gravity, an electronically controlled suspension, and a Disconnector Actuator System that allows for 2-wheel or 4-wheel-drive operation depending on circumstances, helped keep the Electrified GV70 well-planted through our handling course, and provided a livelier feel than the ICE version.

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Substantial side bolstering of the front seats kept us settled in place very nicely. Great steering feel, very little body roll, and only minor amounts of understeer at its limits. Brakes were equally as sporting, with good feedback and stability, despite the noticeable nosedive that typically accompanies stopping 5,000-lbs. of utility vehicle in just 111-feet, 6-feet shorter than the standard GV70.

There are some subtle changes outside for this Electrified version of the GV70; it gets unique 20-inch wheels, and as in the G80, the signature crest grille gets an aerodynamic makeover, nicely integrating the charging port. Same 2-line lighting theme up front, and in back, where the rear bumper is reshaped now that there are no tailpipes. Cargo area is well finished with thoughtful use of space; at 28.7 cubic-ft. with a max of 56.5, capacity is down a tiny bit, but a small storage bin up front under the hood more than makes up for it.

At 37-kWh/100 miles, the Electrified GV70 rates a good efficiency score. Pricing starts at $66,975, about 20-grand over a base ICE GV70, and 3-years of free charging at Electrify America charging stations is included.

Genesis is slowly but surely electrifying their lineup, and the 2023 Electrified GV70 is not just another step in the process, but further proof that carmakers can progress to EVs without upsetting the entire apple cart of their brand. Forward thinking but staying classy, just what we’ve come to expect from Genesis.


  • Motor Setup: Dual 160-kW Motors
  • Horsepower: 429
  • 0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 111 feet (avg)
  • MW Range: ~254 miles
  • Battery Size: 77.4-kWh
  • Torque: 516 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.4-seconds at 112 mph
  • EPA Range: 234 miles
  • Efficiency: 37 kWh/ 100 miles