Volkswagen Releases Something to Tide Over the Golf Fanboys

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen releases something to tide over the golf fanboys

The eight-generation Volkswagen Golf is on the way, but, with still roughly a year to go before its unveiling in Europe, the automaker needs to keep Golf fandom primed. Thankfully, VW’s been more judicial in its teasing than, say, Toyota or Fiat Chrysler. Like any great romance, the timeless art of seduction demands space between advances.

So here we have the latest — an elegant sketch that looks like the logo for a 1950s European air carrier. It’s the 2020 Golf. Yes, it’s hard to see the 48-volt mild hybrid system in that image.

Expected to appear atop a modified (read: lighter) version of the car’s current MQB platform, the 2020 Golf has a tough job ahead of it. That is, it needs to stop the slow retreat of loyal buyers.

Despite hatchbacks being inherently useful for many families, the influx of crossovers into the once car-dominated European market has added pressure on VW to get this long-awaited revamp correct, if such a thing is possible in this day and age. The next Golf should see its dimensions grow somewhat, especially its width. Maximizing interior volume will be key, but so too will be thrifty powerplants. European regulators (and lawmakers) are real prigs.

Of course, we know VW’s solution for the latter issue: mild hybrid powertrains. The automaker plans to outfit both its entry-level gas and (overseas-only) diesel powerplants with a 48-volt belt starter-generator system to take some of the heat off its internal combustion partner. GTI models gain a mild-hybrid system, too, though VW is quick to point out its “boost” capabilities — the system provides a short-lived handful of electric force to the engine’s crankshaft under acceleration. Otherwise, mild-hybrids are useful in reducing fuel economy when idling (preventing idling, actually) and coasting. With the new battery on board, it’s likely the GTI will gain an electrically-operated turbocharger.

It shouldn’t be too hard to identify the model when it comes out. As the sketch shows, the next Golf’s face sees most of the alterations, with narrow headlamps mimicking those seen on other models. Autocar reports that LED running light accents are a sure thing, and the trademark wide C-pillar and upright rear hatch can clearly be seen above. What isn’t known is if the many Golf variants, including the SportWagen, will all return for 2020.

Somewhat ominously, VW has promise an exceedingly digital cockpit the the upcoming model, with many functions formerly controlled by buttons and switches giving way to touchscreen or touchpad control. That’s a gamble, as we all remember the Great Honda Volume Knob Controversy.

It’s been a tough year for the Golf in the U.S. While the model saw a refresh for the 2018 model year, sales of the Golf family are down 38 percent, year to date. November saw a 42 percent year-over-year loss. Overall, the Volkswagen brand fell 8 percent through the end of November.

The eight-generation, 2020 Golf should make its first public appearance in late 2019.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Dec 10, 2018

    "Despite hatchbacks being inherently useful for many families..." You know, I keep hearing statements like this in the fanboi nation. "Oh, hatchbacks have HUGE interior, they're SO useful..." Yeah, no. When the cover is on and the hatch is closed, my current GTI trunk is tiny compared to the trunk in my previous 2013 ILX. And I figured out why--it's 11 inches shorter, not to mention a tad narrower. And I use it as an enclosed trunk--I have to. And it barely fits my backpack plus an umbrella back there. In fact, not only is the umbrella almost too long to fit sideways, my snow brush *is* too narrow to fit sideways. Oh sure, take the cargo cover off and put the rear seats down and you have some good space there. But suddenly we're down to front seat passengers only, so how is that "useful for many families"? And of course, now everything there is open to prying eyes, so you don't want to keep anything back there. I'm not saying you need a Suburban, but the Golf and its ilk are not the "practical jack of all trades" saviors that the fanboi world puts forth.

    • See 6 previous
    • Whynot Whynot on Dec 11, 2018

      Agreed 100% jalop1991, the benefits of hatchbacks are often overstated. I love my Golf when I'm moving, or hauling something large, but I'm a single guy with no family so it is not a big deal if I have to put the rear seats down. You definitely notice the compromised "trunk" vs a traditional sedan when going to say, the airport with a bunch of luggage.

  • Jfk-usaf Jfk-usaf on Dec 11, 2018

    Looks like a Volvo

  • Cprescott The pandemic changed the sales game. No longer do dealerships need inventory. After two years people are accustomed to having to order what they want and then extorted on the price by the dealer for that privilege. Now used cars with 75k are selling for $5k more than I paid for my 21k, 2016 model back in January 2019. I pray my car won't get totaled and I have but 13 payments left to make on it. I may never buy another car again.
  • Grein002 I hope you meant "take the Ranger out behind the *barn*" rather than "bar". I think something completely different happens "behind the bar".
  • Cprescott Suddenly there is no reason to buy ugly anymore. The Silverdodo is dead. Long live the less hideous Colorado.
  • Cprescott Portable BBQ's for everyone!
  • Lou_BC The 2023 ZR2 is burdened with GM's 8 speed. It's been allegedly "fixed" so it doesn't gear hunt and shudder. I still won't trust it. The turbo 4 cylinder should address the lack of torque found in the V6. I test drove a full-sized Trail Boss. I could make it gear hunt. The turbo 4 didn't seem to be lacking in power, at least for an empty crewcab with a 6.5 box. It lacked anything resembling character. It had next to zero compression braking even with tow/haul engaged. Chevy should have continued offering the VM Motori based inline 4 diesel that's in the older Colorado trucks. I do like the fact that the 2023 comes with 33's standard and IIRC the wheel hubs/axles etc. have been beefed up to handle the larger rubber. The bolt pattern (IIRC) is shared with fullsized 1/2 tons opening up one's choice for aftermarket wheels.