Volkswagen Group of America may launch a rugged, all-wheel-drive wagon based on the next-generation Golf to rival the Subaru Outback, Automotive News reported, citing sources privy to the carmaker’s product plans. VW has approved an all-wheel-drive version of the redesigned Golf-based Jetta SportWagen, which will be rolled out in the United States in late 2014.
According to sources, the German carmaker is high likely to turn the AWD version into a spin-off model with higher ground clearance and body cladding, which is similar to the Alltrack concept unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show. VW is already selling a model -- a modified Passat wagon called the Passat Alltrack -- that rivals the Subaru Outback in Australia.
The German carmaker, however, discontinued the Passat wagon in the US when it introduced the Chattanooga-built Passat in 2011. An AWD Outback powered by a 2.5-liter engine paired to a six-speed manual has a starting price of $23,495.
On the other hand, a front-wheel-drive Jetta SportWagen powered by a 2.5-liter engine mated to a five-speed manual has a base tag of $21,390. All prices include shipping. Despite the SportWagen having the price advantage, the Subaru Outback had outsold it nearly five times in the in the United States in 2012.
Subaru of America, Inc. is introducing the latest iteration of its Outback SUV, which for the 2013 model year comes with a revised design, more efficient powertrain and the new EyeSight driver-assist system. Moreover, the 2013 Outback boasts of improvement in its chassis as well as new amenities and infotainment features.
Up front, the new Outback is defined by a new grille as flanked by new headlights. The front end also features a new front bumper and fog lights. Interestingly, the Outback comes standard with the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, unlike most of its rivals that offer all-wheel drive as an option. Moreover, the new Outback still boasts of higher ground clearance than many of its rivals at 8.7 inches.
Powering the new 2013 Subaru Outback is an array of new efficient engines. For instance, 2.5i versions are now powered by a new 2.5-liter double overhead cam (DOHC) FB series Boxer engine that delivers 173 hp of output and 174 lb.-ft. of torque. Aside from being more powerful than its predecessor (plus 3 hp and 4 lb.-ft.), the new engine generates greater low-end torque across a broad speed range, which results to a more responsive drive for Outback 2.5i models.