2020 Volkswagen Golf Review

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2020 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The Golf gets few changes for the 2020 model year, which will almost certainly be the last for the seventh generation of this classic hatchback. Volkswagen debuted the eighth-generation Golf in the fall of 2019 and is selling it in other markets as a 2020 model. The all-new Golf, however, is not confirmed for sale in the United States, and with its manufacturing moved overseas, that’s looking less likely every day. VW does say that it will sell the eighth-gen GTI and Golf R models here, but if you want a base Golf, the only certain way to get one is to buy the 2020 model while it’s still around.

Fortunately, much of the desirability that makes the Golf historically popular remains in the seventh-generation car, which is on sale now. It’s sold in a single trim (TSI) as a four-door hatchback. The Golf TSI is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder rated at 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Two transmissions are available: an 8-speed paddle-shiftable automatic, or if you prefer rowing your own, there’s a 6-speed manual.

Standard features include full leather seating, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, a sunroof, and WiFi capability. Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system, and a reversing camera are also included. Every Golf comes with forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The Golf has always been respected for its versatility, and that remains in the 2020 model. It offers almost 53 cubic feet of cargo space with its 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks lowered, which is more than the also space-efficient Honda Civic Hatchback.

The Golf earns EPA estimates of 29 mpg city, 35 highway, and 33 combined when equipped with the automatic transmission and 28 city, 36 highway, and 31 combined when fitted with the manual, numbers that are on the low end of this fuel-economy-sensitive segment. Speaking of the compact hatchback segment, a number of rivals offer newer designs and potentially better value, depending on a buyer’s priorities. Buyers should also consider the Honda Civic Hatchback for its classic build quality and smart design, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback for its fuel efficiency, or the Hyundai Elantra GT for its 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Whether or not the next-generation Golf makes it stateside, the current version remains a very reasonable small car offering excellent space at a fair price.

Updated

Josh Jacquot is an automotive journalist who has held positions at both enthusiast- and consumer-based automotive publications for more than 20 years. With a far-reaching knowledge of all things automotive, his career has put him behind the wheel of everything from snowplows to 600-horsepower rallycross cars. His driving resume includes wins at the national level in NASA Rallysport competition and the California Rally Series in addition to one regrettable night at the inaugural 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Though he likes most anything that can be driven, he has a particular affinity for box flares, Campagnolo wheels, and gratuitous wings and ducts. Someday he will own an Renault R5 Turbo.

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