By on January 21, 2021

 

Golf

VW today announced the end of the road for the base Golf for North America. The question is, will you miss the base Golf when it’s gone?

VW

Don’t weep too long, as the 2021 Golf is still being produced in quantities that should last through the end of the year. Before that, a 2022 model, the Golf R, will appear in showrooms, a much more robust package than the current Golf TSI, which features a 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection engine. With 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, the TSI engine is mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic. The GTI will also remain.

VW

What is replacing the current Golf will be the 2022 Golf R, a variant we covered previously. The Golf R offers a 2.0-liter EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 315 hp, 27 more than the prior Golf R, and 310 lb-ft of torque, up from 280 lb-ft, the most powerful hot hatch VW has ever sold, at least in the U.S. With the most sophisticated 4Motion all-wheel-drive system yet, all that power can be routed through either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The 2022 Golf R can reportedly reach 62 mph in 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph on the track.

Mini

The strategy VW is employing is one that will keep the Golf in the U.S., and should satisfy the hardcore loyalists who loved the R32, and will likely buy the new R. We wondered if this wasn’t a game plan Mini should adopt, particularly with their sales off as far as they have been. Maybe if they offered only the John Cooper Works versions of their vehicles, it might make them more profitable, and thus sustain the brand in the U.S. indefinitely. It may be a long shot at this point, but we’d rather see Mini give it a shot rather than just folding their tent and going away.

Ed. note — It has come to my attention that our verbiage in the original story was a bit misleading. This wasn’t our intent, nevertheless, this story has been updated to improve clarity. To be clear — the base Golf remains on sale outside of North America, but won’t be sold in the North American market. The Golf GTI and Golf R will remain available for sale in North America.

[Images: Volkswagen, Mini]

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62 Comments on “QOTD: VW Golf – Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone? [UPDATED]...”


  • avatar
    Garrett

    Frankly, the one reason to buy a base Golf was the TDI. Now that it’s gone, why not just get the GTI?

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      I can think of about 7 thousand reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        Yes, but if you want to save money, just buy a Hyundai or Kia and enjoy the improved reliability.

        The base Golf since Mk III has never had an engine that was a good match for the chassis.

        Realistically speaking, the GTI has what is an appropriate base engine for the US. They could have called the GTI the Golf, and called the Golf R the GTI and nobody would be complaining.

        • 0 avatar
          blppt

          I disagree. The 1.8T (before it was replaced by the 1.4T) was plenty powerful enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            @blppt: +1 . And the suspension was sporty enough without being too harsh. A nice daily driver that wouldn’t embarrass itself in the twisties. But I guess that wasn’t enough.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          To many Americans past a certain age, the Golf will always be a Rabbit. That makes it one of the few areas where the the judgement of older and younger generations are in full agreement.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Garrett, the 1.8t (golf version) was a monster in it’s category, and in that timeframe, 2015 till 18, they offered the best interior and a suspension no one ever complained about. The problem with the golf is one of perceived value based on category, and it’s only interesting bc so much of the world disagrees with our market on the issue.

          Look at it this way, the GTI is vw’s home run product. Everyone agrees on the value there, or at least understands the argument. The golf was 90+% there in order to provide that potential to the gti, every a3 etc, which made it a much nicer car than the price point suggested. The 1.8t thrown into the mix was unnecessary, and presumably tdi logistics prompted (otherwise they would have waited on the 1.4 engine line production). Overshooting on that engine, combined with overcontenting ’16-17 cars bc tdi,made the golf value argument so absurd that it’s lack of popularity totally justifies VW abandoning it here.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Too bad, it’s been the best small car in the world since… a long time ago?
    I’m starting to think America doesn’t deserve good cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Having owned a couple of VWs, that’s simply not the case.

      Honda builds better small cars when you weigh all the attributes like a normal person would. VWs always have just enough issues to where you need loyal customers to waive those issues away – much like Subarus.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        +1

        It has become too competitive a field for VW to play in, outside of a home home market where it can lean on influencing all manners of bizarre and arcane “climate” regulations to get a leg up on those less connected. That, and the sheer inertia of its history in Europe: Dealer networks customer relations……

        Unless Germany AG wises up, the Golf won’t be the only icon to meet that fate. Engineering increasingly to weirdo requirements, rather than more narrowly to paying customers’ desires, never ends well in the long run. Even if it can be lucrative for awhile, for those who happen to be positioned favorably wrt currently fahionable weirdo requirement authors.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          VWOA no longer gets to have the base Golf, just the GTI and the R for next gen. Nothing is happening to the iconic Golf as such elsewhere. Though I’m sure Germany could use some wising up as per your sound advice.

          • 0 avatar
            stevevw

            Canada isn’t getting the base Golf 8 either. When Volkswagen of America sneezes, Volkswagen Canada gets a cold.

    • 0 avatar
      stevevw

      When Chris Matthews – before he left MSNBC – said that presidential candidates shouldn’t propose energy policies that make Americans fear they’ll have to give up their F-150 pickups, I realized I was living in the wrong country.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    “VW today announced the end of the road for the Golf…”

    “The strategy VW is employing is one that will keep the Golf in the U.S. …”

    So I won’t be able to buy a Golf in 2022? Except … I will be able to? And it will come with an extra letter badge on the hatch? Clear as mud.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I am a little confused by this story as well. Are they saying the only Golf variant that will remain on sale past 2021 is the Golf R? Which, as I recall is about twice as much as a standard Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The story implies the Golf is being discontinued altogether. It isn’t. The model is just being discontinued in the U.S. Apparently the Golf R and GTI live on.

        https://www.motortrend.com/news/volkswagen-discontinues-the-golf-in-america/

        Sloppy writing…

  • avatar
    Cicero

    “Golf R” doesn’t suggest a clean break from the present model, but I suppose it has more of a performance vibe than if VW had called the new one the Foxtrot.

  • avatar
    JMII

    And there goes another one. As I stated in the post about the Celica anything sporty + hatchback = no sale. Very sad as “hot hatch” is my favorite kind of vehicle. It gave you practical plus fun all in one low cost package.

    My brother has a previous generation Golf R and it blows the doors off true sports cars on track. Its amazing what that little AWD turbo grocery getter can do in terms of performance.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Except that we’ll be getting the Golf R. We just won’t get the slow version known as the normal Golf.

      Subaru should take notice, and maybe put decent engine/transmission combos in more of their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        The Golf R is the high zoot performance variant, and is expensive, it’s not at all in the same class.

        This post is written as if the author doesn’t know that. I can’t imagine anyone considering the regular Golf would be cross shopping an R.

  • avatar
    RangerM

    The form factor of the Golf is completely practical.

    Not being a True Believer in VW cars, I can’t assume any VW isn’t a complete POS (especially so, once the warranty runs out).

    Getting rid of the 100,000 mile warranty was a mistake for their reputation, imo.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Yes. I was contemplating Golf SE around 2019/2020. The warranty partly helped with my lifelong admiration of VW, but cheapness and practical nature that could not comfortably ever sign on the dotted line. Then they dropped the warranty, and decontented for 20/21.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    I was completely satisfied with my 1985 Mazda GLC hatchback. Would have bought another Mazda without looking at anything else, but Mazda didn’t make any hatchbacks in 98, so I bought a Civic hatchback.

    I was completely satisfied with my 98 Civic hatch. Would have bought another Civic without looking at anything else, but Honda didn’t make a Civic hatchback in 2014, and the Fit was a no-go. Bought a VW Jetta wagon.

    I am completely satisfied with my 14 VW wagon. Would buy another VW wagon or hatch without looking at anything else, but VW doesn’t make reasonably priced hatchbacks and wagons anymore.

    Fortunately, Honda will be making a Civic hatch when I’m next in the market.

    Because I refuse to pay thousands extra for a Golf R loaded with stuff I care not one whit for.

  • avatar

    Golf R and GTI models continue here in the new (ugly) generation. Regular Golf just wasn’t selling well enough to keep.

  • avatar
    Driver7

    I owned a 1977 VW Rabbit – in yellow, just like the early model featured in this post.
    I miss the taut, responsive handling of my old Rabbit.
    But I don’t miss the wretched reliability of that Rabbit.
    My next car was a 1989 Honda Civic sedan, one of the legends of the Golden Age of Japanese Autos.
    If I could afford a VW Golf R, in addition to a reliable late-model sedan, I would be tempted. I miss the VW steering feel.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I won’t miss it any more or less than I would any other unreliable, cheap, and slow car.

    I’m saddened only that it’s destined to be replaced by something I like even less, an electric CUV.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Jason, @Tim Healey:

    Please read this sentence and tell what is being communicated here:
    “VW today announced the end of the road for the Golf, after four decades, nearly 2.5 million sales, and seven generations of the venerable brand. ”

    Sounds like VW’s discontinuing the Golf altogether, doesn’t it? Wow, that’s quite a shocking move on VW’s part, isn’t it? I mean, that car’s a strong seller in Europe, and the company just brought out a redesigned model last year. Did VW just lose its’ mind?

    As it turns out, no, VW did not lose it’s mind – the author of this article just got his facts wrong. The model is just being discontinued in the U.S.

    For reference, here is how an accurately-written article about this news story looks:
    https://www.motortrend.com/news/volkswagen-discontinues-the-golf-in-america/

    Come on, guys…this is just sloppy journalism. And it’s now a commonplace occurrence on this site. I think someone needs to do some copy editing.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Even in relatively basic form, the MkVII Golf was a fair bit nicer than anything else in its class (and frankly, nice enough to make some of the cheap luxury sedans questionable). There’s not much left for affordable, tastefully styled cars with decent packaging and reasonable power. Civic is tragic looking, the Elantra hatch is also dead, and the Mazda3’s roofline is awful. Plus, the death of the last cheap wagon is fully reason to mourn the loss of normal Golfs.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    What is so frustrating is that VW could leverage the existing Jetta by adopting the hatchback rear from the Skoda Scala. That way they could offer an affordable hatchback for a lot less investment than tooling up Puebla for the Mk 8 Golf, but nooooo.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Yeah, this is a terribly, and inexcusably, misleading article.

    The excellent GTI is the sales leader in N. America, while the base model Golf is rather lackluster. It’s no surprise that the latter is no longer to be sold here.

    I’m by no means a VW guy, but I have owned two Golfs. The first was a Mk 1 Golf GLX (Euro model) back in the mid 70’s, and the second a current Mk 7 Golf R. Maybe I just dodged the bullets, but reliability for both has been a non-issue.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    To answer the question directly, I will miss the regular Golf being available. I’m not looking for such a vehicle in the near future, but in 10 or 15 years that might be just right as a car to have in my later retirement.

  • avatar

    Be careful with blog titles. I almost committed suicide thinking that VW kills Golf! Only over my dead body.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I have a family member that is still rolling in a bought new MK5 Golf (Rabbit). It has got to be getting close to 300K miles by now.

    Personally, I stopped paying much attention to the Golf when they dropped the 1.8T. I’m nominally a GTI fan but the newest gen looks like a TV screen overload.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I would miss the Golf, but as many have noted above, it is not really going away. The closest I got to owning a Golf (or Rabbit) was my ’78 Scirocco. I liked it at the time, but even back then I considered 78 horsepower to be rather minimal (given that my previous car was a ’64 Buick Riviera).

    The Mini in the last picture looks just like my wife’s Mini Cooper S, though we do not have a gold stripe on it. Black on black on black. Her brother calls it the Amish Mini.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Horribly misleading article. I nearly spit out my morning coffee over here in Germany. You guys should be above this kind of clickbait.

    That said, sad to see the more base versions of the Golf leaving America. I know it sells about as well as a left-handed smoke shifter, but it’s a great car. Of course, probably more suited for the roads here…it’s “just right” sized and is no wonder it sells as well as it does here. Not so much in the US…

  • avatar

    As a multiple Golf owner…two A1 Diesels, an A2 16v GTi 16v, an A6 TDi and now an A6 facelift Jetta-discs and IRS in a base car…oh, and my A1 Scirocco, with Callaway turbo….

    I am saddened but not surprised. The Golf was always the best driver, and for an enthusiast, there are endless mods for the car. My Jetta S is getting Bilsteins, a chip re-tune, and brake upgrades-and you can’t so easily do this with the competition. Oh, and a properly set up Golf punches way above its’ weight…the basic chassis is right.

    If you don’t touch your appliance under any circumstances, and view paying others to do so with extreme distrust and suspicion, then VW isn’t working well in the US market.

    The Jetta works as a cheap big car, but I’m sad we won’t get a Golf any more….small is cheap/crap is an American affect…small isn’t cheap, or crap, elsewhere.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    What are the Golf’s sales numbers vs VW’s smallest SUV? That might factor in.

  • avatar
    probert

    They haven’t had much charm since the one you have pictured in the article. Couldn’t care less really.

  • avatar
    Mackie

    Uh I believe the regular Golf will live on in Canada, which was concerned by VW. Not sure about the wagon though.

  • avatar
    Mackie

    *confirmed (not concerned)

  • avatar

    I am ticked off about this! I have been a Golf owner for over twenty years, having owned two of them, and I can’t afford a GTI or an R. The Golf is the perfect car; it’s practical, efficient, and handles as well as a sports car even in base form. And VW is getting rid of the base model in North America? No! I have been fighting this decision and I will continue to do so. Please join me at my blog “Bring The Base Eighth-Generation VW Golf To North America!” at mk8golf.blogspot.com if you feel the same way! #VWGolf #Golf8 #BringTheBaseMark8GolfToTheUSAandCanada

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    Not a VW fan boy. My only exposure to VW was a ’63 Beetle which was great and a ’69 which was s**t.

    Since then, have never entertained VW when it came time for replacements over the years. A reputation of overly complex Euro engineering with expensive parts soured the deal each time.

    I appreciate VW developing the “hot hatchback” which were fun, but not very relevant in the land of pickup trucks and SUVs.

    The diesel gate affair was concocted by a gang in the C-Suite more focused on their bonus as opposed to the environment or the customer. Diesel did have potential, but VW is solely responsible for killing it.

    Let the Rabbit/Golf pass. It was the savior of VW in the transition from air cooled rear engine to water cooled front wheel drive. However, many of the early Rabbits were awful, hurting VWs reputation for which never fully recovered in the NA market. If in doubt, just look at its lack of market penetration from the late ’70s thru today.

    Now VW has to make the transition to EVs like the rest of the industry. Let hope the boys in the C-Suite don’t drop the ball a second time.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    What’s with all the horrible, misleading, etc.? Is there an editors’ convention in town? The purpose of the articles here is clicks, controversy, and comments. The comments beget the controversy, which begets the clicks, which pay the bills, so we visitors don’t have to.

  • avatar
    buzzyrpm

    The fun to drive difference between the Golf and the GTI was too big. And the Golf always looked significantly worse. I think this contributed to its downfall in the US. Ever driven a Golf Rabbit MK5 Easily one of the most painfully boring cars to drive ever.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    I don’t get why VW didn’t import Skodas like they planned 5 years ago.

    They don’t even need to use the brand, they aren’t above badge engineering (Felicia pickup was a VW Caddy, Rapid was a SEAT Toledo/China Jetta etc), sell them as VW models (Scala as VW Fox, Octavia as Jetta, Kodiak as whatever crossover name they want to use etc.)

    Or, as they did in China where Jetta is a sub-brand, have “Skoda by VW” as a sub-brand and have VW focus on their new EVs – a clean break from dieselgate while also selling non-EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      3SpeedAutomatic

      Recently drove a Škoda Fabia Mk3 during a driving tour of the Czech Rep.
      Had a 5 speed manual which felt great. So reminded me of my VW Beetle of the past.
      Even got in a tour of the Skoda factory in Mladá Boleslav.

      If VW was to introduce the Škoda Karoq or Kodiaq to the US, they would be on my radar scope.
      I realize they share the same platform as VWs sold in the US, but felt the Skoda came close to the original VW roots of fun to drive and easy to own.

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