Syncro-Nined: An Ennead of Surprising All-Wheel-Drive Golfs That Predate the R32

The recent news that Volkswagen is pondering an all-wheel-drive Golf for U.S. customers surprised many.

“All-wheel drive is now part of the Volkswagen DNA,” commented Dr. Hendrik Muth of Volkswagen at the U.S. launch of the Alltrack.

That means Volkswagen will be taking on Subaru, the reigning king of all-wheel drive for the masses in the U.S. And since the Golf is already fairly dear in price, adding an all-wheel-drive option to the hatch will make Volkswagen’s compact a near-luxury item. At that price, why wouldn’t you just buy an Audi? It’s the brand with the all-wheel-drive expertise in the VAG clan.

But the reality of an all-wheel-drive Golf is now 20 years old.

Let’s take a look back at nine of the more interesting pre-Alltrack, pre-4Motion versions of the Golf that most U.S. customers have never even heard of.

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  • Dukeisduke Oh, so it *is* a hatchback. Last night, I watched the replay of the reveal with Tim Kuniskis presenting the car, on Instagram. A "fly-through" of the car on the pre-rollout video made it look like they were going through an open hatch, so it had me wondering. The car attracted a lot of negative comments on IG, on feeds of guys who were there live.This is probably the least "electric car" electric car.
  • MaintenanceCosts Nice styling, but purposely amplifying EV noise will be just as obnoxious as purposely amplifying ICE noise. I'm over cars that are loud for the sake of being loud.
  • Ajla -I don't hate it, which is something of a win for Dodge.-The styling is decent but to my eye it seems to crib from the ''65-'67 more than the '68-'69.-Although I appreciate the attempt at giving an EV an "exhaust", from the sound clips I heard, the vehicle doesn't sound very good. Kind of like an Ecoboost Ford with a vacuum leak. YMMV and maybe it'll sound better in person but for now I think ICE still has an aural advantage. There is more to it than pure decibels. All that said, I prefer this to silence.-I'm surprised it is a true 2-door, although it seems offering a Stinger-style 5-door version wouldn't be too hard. However, for folks that complained about a lack of EV coupes, you just lost your excuse.-Range, prices, overall availability and trim levels are all obviously big question marks right now.-Im still not sure how this all bodes for Dodge's future as for several years this is almost certainly going to be a much lower volume vehicle than the old Charger/Challenger duo. They'll need more than just the Hornet and this to make it to 2030 and beyond.
  • Kendahl A Charger with only two doors? I though that would be a Challenger.One of the desirable features of an electric drive train is that it's quiet. Why ruin it with fake engine noises?The exterior body design looks elegant. The dashboard, on the other hand, looks like a video game.
  • FreedMike As a fan of sexy exhaust notes, I get what Dodge is doing here. But “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust” creating fake motor noise is more than a little silly. As for the rest of the car…count me as a fan. I’d drive this in a heartbeat. I also think Stellantis’ approach to electrification here makes a ton of sense - they’re selling capability, not practicality. That puts a shine on the idea of an EV to people who haven’t really considered one.