2020 Volkswagen Golf: Eighth-generation Hatch Ditches Three-door Model, Adds Electricity

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2020 volkswagen golf eighth generation hatch ditches three door model adds

While it remains to be seen whether non-performance versions of the next-generation Volkswagen Golf make their way to the U.S. (Canadians can expect the basic unit), Europeans now know exactly what to expect.

Launching Thursday at the brand’s Wolfsburg, Germany home base, the new Golf comes packed with technology while retaining the unmistakable profile of Golfs past. Like Jeep’s Wrangler, the Golf isn’t something to be tinkered with by some brash youngster with “big new ideas.” It’s a product of evolution, not revolution.

That said, there’s plenty of new things here, including a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain available in three power flavors. There’s plug-in hybrids, as well, giving buyers an electric option that might be more in tune with their lifestyles than the upcoming ID.3 electric car (or the e-Golf it replaces).

For the model’s eighth generation, the three-door bodystyle seen since the Golf’s inception disappears, with four side doors becoming the order of the day. Depending on market, buyers will also find small three- or four-cylinder engines drinking gasoline or diesel, sans all of that electrified flippery. Two 1.0-liter three-bangers and two 1.5-liter four-bangers join a 2.0-liter diesel for those who feel hybrids just aren’t for them; to the dismay of American purists who can look but can’t touch, these customers will be stuck with slick six-speed manuals in everything but the oil-burning model.

Things are different overseas.

But it’s the mild hybrid system that’s the star here, and it deserves a bit of attention. The engine range employs a belt starter-generator that uses recaptured electrical power to aid the Golf’s takeoffs. It also shuts the engine down while coasting and braking, boosting MPG gains. These “eTSI” units arrive in three flavors, from 109 to 148 horsepower, with the automaker claiming a 10-percent reduction in fuel consumption on the European WLTP cycle.

In mild hybrid models, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic controls the power flowing to the front wheels.

Things get interesting with the GTE plug-ins, as this is where performance enters the picture. Both PHEVs pair VW’s familiar 1.4-liter with an electric motor and 13 kWh battery pack; VW hasn’t estimated what range owners might get from their part-time EVs. Power, depending on market, will be either 201 hp or 241 hp.

Riding atop the latest version of the brand’s MQB platform, the new Golf remains a Golf both in appearance and in size. The slimmer, revamped headlights and mouthier lower fascia are the most notable changes, and the whole affair now stretches just over an inch longer between bumpers. It’s four-tenths of an inch narrower that its predecessor, and eight-tenths of an inch lower. Wheelbase remains basically the same.

Unlike the recent Jetta, the Golf’s suspension carries over — MacPherson setup up front; multi-link in the rear. Those who are quick to toss their Golfs around might notice an improved steering feel, one VW claims offers more feedback.

Inside, it’s digital galore. Most controls have gone the modern route, meaning you’d best get used to using menus and digital slider controls. A 12.25-inch digital display replaces the gauge cluster; on the center stack resides either an 8.0 or 10-inch touchscreen.

Deeper in the car, beyond those screens and shiny buttons, lies VW’s “Car2X” car-to-car technology. With this setup, the Golf “talks” to surrounding vehicles and infrastructure, relaying useful info back to the driver via the information display.

“The new Golf is also the first Volkswagen to connect with its environment as standard, via Car2X: signals from the traffic infrastructure and information from other vehicles up to 800 metres away are notified to the driver via a display,” the automaker stated. “The Golf also shares these warnings with other Car2X models.”

Going on sale early next year, the basic eighth-gen Golf may be a no-show in the U.S., with company brass staying mum on the likelihood of non-performance (read: non-GTI or R) variants making the boat trip. Golf sales suffered badly in recent years, with buyers increasingly gravitating to the higher-end sporting models.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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  • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Oct 25, 2019

    I have a Mk 7.5 after owning a Mk 6 and Mk 7. Great cars all, each one better than the next. Looking forward to the Mk 8! But not excited about all the touch screen controls - they are a bitch to keep clean.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 25, 2019

    That electric naming convention seems like a bad ID.

  • EBFlex This should help Fords quality
  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking today in semi rendered pictures. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.