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2016 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The Volkswagen Golf returns for 2016 largely unchanged—and that's a good thing. This year marks the seventh-generation Golf's second year in the U.S., and it's safe to say the newest Golf impressed in the first. If you're looking for a zippy 2- or 4-door hatchback with plenty of versatility and a proud pedigree, the Golf could be your ride.

Sitting on the same platform as the Audi A3, the Golf has made a name for itself as a reasonably priced, fun-to-drive car that's still plenty practical. Thanks to its 22.8 cubic feet of cargo room (52.7 cubic feet with the rear seats down), it has plenty of space for whatever you need to haul around (not to mention 4 friends if you kick some of the gear out). Couple that with its standard 1.8-liter 170-hp 4-cylinder engine and there's no way your friends won't enjoy the ride.

Not only that, the Golf returns up to an impressive 25 mpg city/37 highway/30 combined when the 1.8-liter engine is mated to the available 5-speed manual transmission (step up to the 6-speed automatic and those numbers become 25/36/29). Not impressed? Volkswagen also offers the Golf with a 2.0-liter 150-hp 4-cylinder diesel that brings fuel economy up to a staggering 30/45/36 (and yes, you can get the diesel with your choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic).

New for 2016 Volkswagen adds its MIB II infotainment system with USB to all Golf models, with every version but the base TSI getting a 6.5-inch touchscreen to go along with it (the TSI gets a 5-inch touchscreen).

Buyers who opt for the budget-friendly TSI (which is available only in 2-door form) get a comfortable ride with USB connectivity, a color touchscreen, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth streaming, an 8-speaker stereo, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.

Those who want a few more niceties in their ride will have to step up to the S (available as a 2- or 4-door), which now comes with a standard rear-view camera (leaving the TSI as the lone Golf without the popular safety feature). The S also boasts steering-wheel-mounted controls, Volkswagen Car-Net (which works with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink), and SiriusXM satellite radio. Both the 2-door and 4-door versions of the S are available in TDI form, giving you the option of choosing that delightful 2.0-liter diesel engine. If you're looking to get a little sun as you drive, you're in luck—the 4-door gasoline-powered S has an available panoramic sunroof.

If you really want to live large, take a look at the SE, which comes with your choice of gas or diesel engine and sports heated front seats, a Fender 8-speaker stereo, a panoramic sunroof, leatherette seats, 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, and (new for this year) keyless entry with push-button start. Available options on the SE include adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights and the newly updated Driver Assistance Package, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and Volkswagen's new Parking Steering Assistant—a system that will steer your car for you when parking (in both parallel and perpendicular alignments).

Move up to the top-of-the line SEL and you'll be treated to a 4-door Golf with your choice of gas or diesel engine, plus dual-zone climate control, touchscreen navigation, 18-inch wheels, and a power driver's seat. Also available on the SEL are Bi-Xenon adaptive headlights and the Driver Assistance Package.

No matter which Golf you choose, you'll get a fun, sporty and practical ride. Oh, and did we mention safe? The 2016 Golf (when equipped with forward-collision warning and autonomous emergency braking) received a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Zach is a gearhead and travel junkie who loves to check out cars wherever he goes. Having lived abroad in Germany and Russia, he has grown particularly fond of European cars, but has found nothing able to top his love for his first car: a 2001 Toyota Tacoma.

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