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.
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