The compact station wagon segment accounts for just 3% of the Brazilian car and light commercial market, including SUVs and pickups. Consumers’ reluctance to buy them increased with the rise of compact ‘monovolume’ models like the Chevrolet Meriva and Citroen Picasso and a shortage of innovative wagon models.

Last year, 92,000 small station wagons were sold, led by Fiat’s Palio Weekend (47%), VW’s SpaceFox (35%), Peugeot’s 207 SW and VW’s previous-generation Gol-derived Parati (both 9%).

The SpaceFox was launched in April 2006 and remained unchanged until now. Sales so far in 2010 have been low because buyers were waiting for the same changes as the October 2009 Fox update.

Now VW’s most modern compact wagon has come back out of its corner fighting for segment leadership which it held in 2007 when Fiat lagged behind updating the Weekend.

Styling changes are along the same lines as the recently updated Fox with the new ‘DNA’ and corporate grille and, unseen, drag coefficient improved by 6% to Cd0.336, better than the shorter Fox.

New tail lights have lost circular elements and there are other minor rear end changes such as red reflectors each end of the bumper and hidden exhaust pipe.

The interior gains the same, smart instrument cluster introduced with the new Gol in 2008, and carried over to the Fox, and above-average material quality for the segment has been specified for the 2011 model year. There are 17 storage spaces and a rear seat adjustable fore and aft is standard.

New suspension settings have improved ride and handling, especially on rough pavement.

Despite more standard equipment, VW has lowered the SpaceFox’s recommended sticker price 1%, now ranging from R$49,000 (US$27,500) to R$58,000 (US$32,500).