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2018 VW Golf Sportsvan might not come to U.S., but its technology could

Jonathon Ramsey

Concerning our American readers, you're about as close as you're going to ever get to a Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan. However, even though Volkswagen's compact MPV won't come to the U.S., it might showcase some features we'll see immigrating to our domestic Golf.

The minor design revisions outside get spread throughout: new halogen and LED headlights, new LED running lights, LED taillights as standard equipment, nipped-and-tucked bumpers, new wheel designs in three sizes, and new colors like the pictured Cranberry Red.

Interior surfaces make do with "new decorative trim, fabrics and leather seats." We're more interested in the revamped infotainment systems, topped by the new Discover Pro unit with a 9.2-inch glass screen. It replaces the Discover Media system that currently maxes out with an 8-inch screen. The Discover Pro omits all mechanical inputs save for two rotary/push knobs; almost all system functions are controlled by using the touchscreen, the five capacitive buttons along the side of the screen, and swipe gestures. For the first time, the top-tier infotainment gets a configurable home screen.

The three other infotainment systems were redesigned, too: the entry-level, formerly-5-inch Composition systems get 6.5-inch screens, and the 6.5-inch Composition Media and Discover Media units increase to 8-inch screens. They're all controlled with two rotary knobs and eight function buttons.

VW engineers combined the functionality of Lane Keep Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control to introduce Traffic Jam Assist. Available in models with the dual-clutch transmission, Traffic Jam Assist works from standstill to 37 miles per hour (60 kilometers per hour), autonomously braking, accelerating, and maintaining either the center of the lane or the driver's preferred place in the lane. VW says, however, that the system works "only on condition that the driver's hands are on the steering wheel and participating in steering, to ensure that the driver can intervene at any time." If Traffic Jam Assist detects the driver isn't actively involved in piloting, the system will try to "rouse the driver in escalating stages." If that doesn't work, the Sportsvan will activate its flashers and brake to a stop.

Additional tech goodies include automatic emergency braking when the car detects a pedestrian in front, more functionality for the Park Assist aid, ACC operability up to 210 km/h instead of 'just' 160 km/h, and upgraded Trailer Assist to make straight-line backing easier over longer distances.

Under the hood, three new gasoline TSI engines, two with cylinder deactivation and one that employs the Miller combustion cycle, will be sold alongside two turbodiesels.

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