QOTD: What Do You Say to This Reader?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what do you say to this reader

Yesterday brought the big reveal every Volkswagen aficionado has waited breathlessly for: the Golf Mk. 8, VW’s latest iteration of a fun and sprightly hatch that’s put smiles on the faces of Euro-leaning Americans since the debut of The Rockford Files.

And…we might not see a regular Golf again, at least not in the United States. Falling sales of the seventh-gen Golf prompted VW brass to remain noncommittal about the introduction of a next-gen model lacking GTI or R badging.

Looking at the variety of mild and plug-in hybrids offered to Europeans come 2020, one reader recalled America’s not-too-distant TDI love and wondered aloud why greenies in the U.S. (presumably) can not get a crack at an electrified Golf. Do you think they should?

It never ceases to amaze me that VW wouldn't at least try a hybrid in America…all the diesel fans I think would consider it…but NO. Plus so American VW fans are expected to embrace all electric before they see if they even like a hybrid.

— Rob Rosson (@RossonRob) October 25, 2019

Volkswagen certainly has a fan base on this continent, and the brand’s long-legged TDI models, even after the scandal, diesel discontinuation, and emissions fixes to remaining units, are still in high demand. Fuel economy and good road manners still appeals to some buyers.

Just last month, I found myself in a rented Golf in Canada’s Cape Breton Highlands, navigating winding, cliffside roads amid early fall foliage. It was a lovely trip, and the car’s thrifty 1.4-liter turbo four tackled those inclines and curves with aplomb, returning fantastic fuel economy.

VW’s new breed of Golf offers a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain capable of boosting MPGs by 10 percent, the automaker claims. Two plug-in hybrids are also up for grabs, promising an unspecified amount of gas-free miles and punchier power delivery.

And yet VW of America is on the fence, at least officially, about returning any of those non-performance Golfs to U.S. shores, preferring instead to focus (mainly) on gas-powered crossovers and the brand’s upcoming electric models. Gas or electric, no in-between. That’s essentially what VW of America brass told me the other week in Chattanooga.

No one expects any of the ID-badged EVs to be entry-level in price, and it’s worth noting we’re not getting the base ID hatch the Europeans get. It’s true that regular Golf sales fell off a cliff in recent years — a phenomenon not helped by the elimination of the TDI models. VW would rather import those which it can sell, and those happen to be the hot and hotter GTI and R.

That said, we haven’t had the opportunity to purchase an electrified Golf that’s well-suited to the day-to-day lives of roadgoing Americans (read: not the e-Golf), so who’s to say it wouldn’t be worthwhile bringing a hybridized Golf to these shores?

What say you, B&B? Worth it, or not?

[Image: Volkswagen]

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2 of 33 comments
  • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Oct 25, 2019

    I have only ever bought the GTI yet something about not bringing the non-GTI and R models to the US bugs me.

  • Irvingklaws Irvingklaws on Oct 26, 2019

    Replaced my mk4 Golf GLS with a 2010 TDI because it was the only upscale Golf to be had short of a GTI. Plus there was a federal tax credit to sweeten the deal. Replaced with a 2017 GTI SE after VW bought it back, again because they had severely curtailed upscale Golf trims. The GTIs a great car, but the 18” rims and skinny sidewalls require constant vigilance for potholes on crappy NJ roads. I’d spend GTI money on an upscale Golf with 4-motion. But that ain’t happening in the states...ever. EVs aren’t in the running until range, performance, convenience, and price meet or exceed the equivalent combustion models.

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