With a length that slots neatly between that of the shorter Golf hatchback and larger Golf Estate (wagon) in Europe, the Sportsvan concept combines those sharper, sportier styling elements we've seen debut across the entire line of new seventh-generaiton Golfs with a more upright greenhouse. The resulting shape is similar to the Ford C-Max hybrid in the US, offering an upright seating position and loads of cargo space and flexibility.
Indeed, with its interior configured for maximum stowage, the Sportvan Concept can swallow 1,512 liters of cargo. Xenophiles will note that is 53.4 cubic-feet of space (more than the C-Max's 52.6 cubes), and the Sportvan can still handle 17.6 cubic feet of cargo with its seats in their upright and locked position.
When it launches in Europe next year, the Golf Sportvan will be offered with no less than six engine choices (four gas, two diesel), which VW claims are up to 19-percent more miserly with fuel than before and include a stop-start system as standard equipment. Other nice hardware notes include the XDS+ electronic locking differential swiped from the GTI, new blind spot monitoring system and, oh, a heated steering wheel is offered for the first time. While we'd love to see the Golf Sportsvan on sale here in the US, there are no such plans, so we'll continue holding our breath waiting for the Sportwagen's replacement.
Worlds of compacts and minivans meld into the new all-round Volkswagen
Golf Plus successor emphasises sporty design and high level of everyday utility
Wolfsburg / Frankfurt, September 2013. Along with the world premieres of the new Golf R (all-wheel drive flagship) and the pioneering e-Golf (high-volume production car with zero tailpipe emissions), at the 65th International Motor Show in Frankfurt (10 to 22 September) Volkswagen is also presenting a concept car: the new Golf Sportsvan. In this Volkswagen, the worlds of compacts and minivans meld together into a new vehicle that offers more space for active recreation, family and work. The Golf Sportsvan impresses with a perceptibly more spacious and flexible interior (with rear bench seat that offers 180 mm longitudinal adjustment and a cargo capacity of over 1,500 litres) and highly advanced assistance systems. These systems include the Blind Spot Monitor incorporating an assistant for exiting parking spaces, which is being implemented in a Golf for the first time. While driving, the Blind Spot Monitor warns the driver of vehicles in the blind spot. When reversing out of a parking space, the system also recognises approaching traffic behind the car that can be difficult for the driver to see; not only can it then warn the driver, but if a collision is imminent, the system automatically activates the emergency braking function.
Third Golf body version. The Sportsvan is now the third Golf body version to follow the technical layout of the modular transverse matrix (perfected package, new engines), and it shows its 'DNA' links to sporty icons such as the Golf GTI. Derived from the Golf GTI, for example, is the standard XDS+ system; technical speaking, this electronic differential lock is vehicle dynamic functionality that is integrated into the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system. XDS+ makes driving through bends sportier, faster and more precise. The Golf Sportsvan is the successor to the Golf Plus, and will appear as a compact minivan in the middle of next year.
Model series has great potential. The predecessor of the Golf Sportsvan attained significant market share within the compact class. For good reason: its elevated seat position, which optimised visibility, and the longitudinally adjustable rear bench seat have made and are still making this Volkswagen an excellent alternative for those customers who want more flexibility, but do not need a classic 'minivan'. Volkswagen has now refined this concept in the Golf Sportsvan, interpreting it more dynamically and placing it on an even more independent visual foundation. Consequently, the compact minivan has the potential to extend its market share significantly. The ten top sales volume countries for the new Sportsvan are Germany, France and Italy, followed by Austria, Russia, Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
Range of features
Extensive range of standard features. Like the Golf hatchback and Golf Estate, the Sportsvan will launch in the "Trendline", "Comfortline" and "Highline" trim versions. Even the base version offers such standard features as XDS+, the Automatic Post-Collision Braking system, air conditioning, seven airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring indicator, new electronic parking brake with auto-hold function, a 5-inch touchscreen, variable cargo floor, cargo space cover and practical unlatching of the rear bench backrest from the boot space. The Sportsvan is also the first Golf to offer steering wheel heating as an option.
Premium class technologies. Highly innovative assistance systems are making their way into the vehicle, such as the aforementioned Blind Spot Monitor with assistant for exiting parking spaces that is being offered for the first time in a Golf. In addition, technologies such as DCC dynamic chassis control, the Front Assist surroundings monitoring system with City Emergency Braking, adaptive cruise control (ACC), Driver Alert System, PreCrash Occupant Protection system, Light Assist and Dynamic Light Assist main beam control systems, driver profile selection, Lane Assist lane-keeping system, Park Assist parking assistant, an entirely new generation of radio and radio-navigation systems (top system: Discover Pro with WLAN hotspot) and a 400 Watt sound system ("Dynaudio Excite") with subwoofer and new centre speaker (high on the dashboard) will be available. Another new system on-board the future Golf Sportsvan: Car Net for transmitting online information such as the Google EarthTM maps service. This means that premium class technologies are increasingly making their way into the compact class.
Up to 19 per cent more fuel efficient. At its launch next year, the Golf Sportsvan will be offered with a range of six new engines; they are all equipped with a stop-start system as standard and are up to 19 per cent more fuel-efficient than the previous versions. All of the engines available at market launch conform to the Euro-6 emissions standard. The four turbocharged petrol direct-injection engines (TSI) produce 63 kW / 85 PS, 81 kW / 110 PS, 92 kW / 125 PS and 110 kW / 150 PS of power. The range of the turbodiesel direct-injection engines (TDI) covers two power levels: 81 kW / 110 PS and 110 kW / 150 PS. Except for the 63 kW TSI, all of the engines may be combined with an optional automatic dual clutch gearbox (DSG). The 1.6 TDI BlueMotion with 110 PS is representative of just how efficient the new engines of the Golf Sportsvan are: its estimated fuel consumption will be a low 3.7 l/100 km (equates to 95 g CO2/km) – the best value in the field of compact minivans.
MQB enables maximum flexibility. The Golf Sportsvan concept car was created as the third body version of the model series, after the classic Golf hatchback and the Golf Estate, and it is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB). Thanks to this design layout, it was possible to extend the body over its 2,685 mm wheelbase, which is 107 mm longer than that of the Golf Plus. Compared to the hatchback Golf and the Golf Estate, the wheelbase has grown by around 50 mm.
Longer than the Golf, shorter than the Estate. With a bumper to bumper length of 4,338 mm, the concept car is 134 mm longer than the Golf Plus, 83 mm longer than the Golf hatchback and 224 mm shorter than the Estate. At 1,807 mm the Sportsvan is just 8 mm wider than the Golf and Golf Estate; the previous model was 48 mm narrower. The Sportsvan and Plus are nearly identical in height without roof rails (1,578 and 1,580 mm, respectively); the Golf, however, is 126 mm lower, and the Golf Estate without roof rails is 117 mm lower. Also highlighting the dynamic presence of the Golf Sportsvan is its 20 mm shorter front overhang. Meanwhile, the rear overhang was lengthened by 46 mm; among other benefits, this increased the size of the luggage compartment.
Clear positioning. These dimensions show that the Golf Sportsvan is carrying on the mission of the Golf Plus within the model series. It offers maximum space and versatility over an even more compact exterior length – longer than a Golf, shorter than a Golf Estate. Its greater height not only results in more vertical cargo space, but also permits the higher seating position that is appreciated by many users in this model series. Nonetheless, the Sportsvan, which is equipped with two rows of seats, is lower (-56 mm without roof rails) and shorter (-59 mm) than a Touran, which follows a different interior concept and incorporates up to three rows of seats.
Dynamic proportions. The exterior dimensions of the Golf Sportsvan give it a more extended look than the Golf Plus; together with its completely new and sharply contoured styling, this gives it an independent and sophisticated look. With its taut body shapes and precisely drawn lines, the Sportsvan transfers the design quality of the new Golf to the class of compact minivans. The taller Golf Sportsvan also expresses dynamic proportions with its longer wheelbase, and the extremely prominent character line also unites objectivity and elegance. "For us, the Golf Sportsvan is an ambassador of a new design idiom. Its quality and precision form the foundation for a dynamic yet smart charisma," says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand.
Side profile. The silhouette of the Golf Sportsvan emphasises an extended look, to make it appear lower and in general sportier than the Golf Plus. Defining design traits of the Sportsvan include its very long side window look, sharply drawn character line that integrates the door handles and which were designed specifically for the Golf Sportsvan, the exterior mirrors that are mounted on the door shoulder, and the D pillars. Klaus Bischoff comments: "It was a great challenge and at the same time a great pleasure to implement the advantageous proportions of the Sportsvan in an independent form. A typical trait of the new design: the prominent character line on the car's sides. This only works if the designers and engineers are following the same goals – of quality and precision."
In particular, the design team used the prominent character line to create a clean, well-defined shoulder, which gives the car a more muscular, powerful and wider appearance. The high art of carmaking is not only reflected in the design of this line – which appears as though cut by a knife – but also in the production of these light- refracting edges that are precisely worked into the doors, wings, D pillars, headlights and rear lights. Maximum precision is also required in body manufacturing to integrate the door handles with their upper termination into the character line with millimetre precision. Among competitors, details of this type – if they are implemented at all – are only found in premium class automobiles. The handles are worked so precisely into the design of the side line that when viewed from a distance they appear to meld into the body.
Since the exterior mirrors are, as described, directly mounted on the door shoulders of the Golf Sportsvan, there is room for an additional side window in the vicinity of the A pillar. This improves all-round visibility and stylistically lengthens the surface of the windows. The same applies to the fifth side window at the D pillar, which lengthens the transparent surface towards the back of the vehicle and ensures optimal visibility there. Despite this change, the design of the c-shaped D pillar forms a stylistic bridge to the C pillar of the classic Golf. Sophisticated: Highline versions of the later production vehicle will include frames in chrome look for the side windows; until now, this detailing was a characteristic of mid- and premium class cars at Volkswagen.
Front end. Designers also defined a new direction when designing the front end. In the Golf Sportsvan, a design was developed for the bonnet and its transition into the windscreen that makes the vehicle look more extended and elegant – radiating more sophistication. To attain this goal, the strong character line once again comes into play, extending all the way into the headlights. At the same time, the roof has a distinctive light-refracting edge that extends from the A pillars down to the radiator grille. Between these lines and the bonnet that is contoured upwards in a V-shape, the designers have incorporated powerful wings with a shoulder that is also visible here. This has resulted in a front section that appears longer, more powerful and impressive.
At the same time, the front end now has much more charisma, being based on a new type of shaping and an independent layout of radiator grille, headlights and bumper. The three horizontal struts of the radiator grille together with the headlights and the U-shaped LED daytime running lights of the bi-xenon headlights integrated there (optional) create a modern and passionate interpretation of the horizontally aligned front styling. Other style elements are the winglets – struts in the lower area of the bumper that act like small wings, framing the middle air intake and the fog lights.
Rear end. The theme of generously sized glass surfaces and optimal visibility is a common thread running throughout the rear section. Here, in contrast to the previous model, there is a significantly wider rear windscreen, which provides for optimal all-round visibility and clean lines. The top of the window is framed by the roof spoiler which has air guide elements worked into its sides. Under the window are the two-part rear lights, whose shapes form aerodynamic trailing edges and take up the contour of the character line on the sides so that they meld with the sporty shoulder section.
Sophisticated and driver-oriented. Interior designers of the Golf Sportsvan created an interior that is as high-end and stylistically sophisticated as it is clean and fresh. The dominant element here is the newly designed dashboard. Drivers of the current Golf or Golf Estate will find the instruments, central touchscreen of the centre console and controls to be familiar. Yet the design of the dashboard, in which all of these elements are embedded, was redesigned down to the last millimetre. This is also true of the door trim panels with integrated ambience lighting (standard in "Highline", optional in "Comfortline").
Centre console has a sporty incline. While the Golf Plus had a very vertical dashboard, the one in the Sportsvan is now more exclusive, lower and wider, and appears to have 'wings' that unfold to the left and right. In between, there is now a centre console that is inclined towards the driver with a touchscreen, climate control switches and the gear shift. The area between the seats ascends forwards near the gear knob just as in a high-class sports car, and this creates an ergonomic environment that makes the driver and front passenger forget that they are sitting in a compact minivan. Between the driver and front passenger, there is also a centre armrest (version- independent; adjustable in height and length) with an integrated storage compartment and two cupholders. Other practical storage bins are located on the dashboard above and in the door panels (with storage capacity for a 1.5-litre bottle in front and a 1.0-litre bottle at the rear). From the "Comfortline" trim version, the production version of the Golf Sportsvan will also be fitted with sliding drawers under the front seats as well as pockets and folding tables on the backrests of the front seats. Overall, the high-end plastics and accents are eye-catching, and this creates an ambience which overcomes traditional boundaries of the compact class and clearly bridges over to mid-class cars.
High level of comfort, even on long trips. The new Golf Sportsvan is a car in which Volkswagen once again brings the focus back to maximum on-board comfort. The vehicle is already very comfortable to enter, thanks to the wide-opening doors and the elevated seats, as on the previous model. What is known as the H-point (hip point) of the front seats lies 7 mm lower than in the previous model, but its height is 59 to 85 mm above the H-point of the Golf and Golf Estate, depending on the seat height setting. A new feature of the Golf Sportsvan is the optional ergoActive seat with 14-way adjustment; this very ergonomic driver's seat offers such features as electric 4- way lumbar support and a massage function. Compared to the previous model, interior length has grown by 30 mm.
Positive atmosphere. Also providing for a very positive atmosphere are a bright "Ceramique" interior, which is being offered for the first time in a Golf, and the large, optional panoramic sliding sunroof whose transparent surface extends into the rear seating area.
The new Golf Sportsvan also benefits from the basic concept of the modular transverse matrix (MQB) in terms of the space it can offer. Although the concept car is exactly the same height as the previous model, its interior height in front was increased by 10 mm to 1,017 mm, and at the rear it improved 32 mm to a maximum height of 1,008 mm.
More space in the second row. The Golf Sportsvan offers significantly more space in the rear seating area than the previous model, thanks to its extended wheelbase and larger rear overhang. The maximum distance between the H-points of the front and rear seats was improved from 865 to 898 mm for the second row of seats (rear bench seat adjusted to the rear-most position). In practical terms, this approximately 30 mm has a tremendous positive effect, because even people measuring 1.90 metres can now sit comfortably, one in front of the other.
Multifunctional rear bench seat. As mentioned, another key characteristic of the new version is the 60:40 split rear bench seat that features individual longitudinal adjustment of its sections. The entire three-seat bench can be adjusted up to 180 mm in a fore-aft direction (previous model: 160 mm); as an alternative, the individual seat on the right side of the vehicle (40 per cent) and the double-seat on the left side (60 per cent) can be individually adjusted over a range of 180 mm. In addition, rear passengers can adjust the angle of their backrests.
Unlatching of the rear seat backrests from the luggage compartment is very practical. All three rear backrest elements (left 40 per cent, centre 20 per cent, right 40 per cent) can be folded down separately. The straps are in easy-to-access locations in the lower areas of the backrests; when unlatched, the backrest sections automatically fold forward, creating a nearly level surface together with the cargo floor. The cargo floor itself can be removed entirely very swiftly or adjusted in height. The floor can be latched into a high position at the same level as the load sill or to 130 mm below it.
Up to 74 litres more cargo space. Compared to the previous model, cargo capacity was increased 74 litres to 498 litres (rear bench seat in standard position, which is 50 mm forward of the rear-most position).
When the two separately adjustable sections of the rear bench seat are moved to their front-most positions, up to 585 litres (gain of 66 litres) of cargo fit into the luggage compartment of the future Golf Sportsvan. When a cargo deck up to the backrests of the front seats and up to the roofliner is used, a maximum storage capacity of 1,512 litres is available – a gain of 62 litres.
Interior length. The concept car's maximum interior length of 1,791 mm is a top value in the competitive field; the previous model had an interior length that was 31 mm shorter. If the backrest of the front passenger seat is folded down (optional feature in all trim versions), this opens up a 2,484 mm long cargo surface that is completely level. Loading is also easy: the minivan's load sill was lowered by 13 mm to 652 mm, which makes lifting and loading back-friendly.
One of the most versatile vehicles of the compact class. The combination of detailed solutions shows that Volkswagen is offering the best of the worlds of hatchbacks, estate cars and minivans as a new, sporty all-round vehicle in the form of the future Sportsvan. So, next year the European automotive market will be enriched by one of the most versatile vehicles of the compact class.