Volkswagen releases new station wagon, Golf SportWagen

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Volkswagen has released the new Golf SportWagen, a station wagon that features great gas mileage and a 6-speed manual option that is perfect for wagon enthusiasts. (KABC)

If you're someone who likes station wagons, there aren't a lot of them out there. In the U.S., most buyers prefer an SUV, or at least something that resembles one.

But station wagon fans are in luck with Volkswagen, which has recommitted to the wagon market in this country with the new Golf SportWagen.

It essentially picks up where the former Jetta SportWagen left off, and it gets styling cues from the other Golf models to go with the name.

It's trim in size, but fairly useful. The Golf wagon is both stylish and roomy at the same time. Sticker prices start at under $25,000.

Here's more good news for a growing number of buyers: optional diesel power. Like many of VW's other models, the Golf wagon is available with a new version of the company's TDI clean diesel, in addition to the gasoline engine. And unlike most diesels on the market, buyers have the option to get a 6-speed manual transmission.

Fuel economy for the TDI is rated at 31 city and up to 43 highway. Though the fuel tank only holds a bit over 13 gallons, the projected highway range is more than 550 miles.

Even though there are SUVs in Europe, many Europeans still prefer station wagons. Drivers in Europe also tend to prefer diesel engines, and manual transmissions are much more popular in Europe than they are in the states.

So in a way, the Golf SportWagen equipped with the TDI engine and the manual transmission is probably the most "European" car available in the U.S.

This car is also likely to appeal to a very vocal group of auto enthusiasts. The automotive web site Jalopnik has made a running theme of endorsing a diesel-powered station wagon with a manual transmission as the "ultimate vehicle."

There is just one problem. The final piece of that "perfect Jalopnik vehicle" is that it must be painted brown, a color Volkswagen doesn't currently offer. To achieve absolute perfection in the eyes of enthusiasts, a repaint to brown might be needed.

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