In terms of style, the Golf is like the Porsche 911 of the Volkswagen lineup: although it has changed a lot of over the years, the Golf still looks like a Golf. To get more than 147 horsepower means spending more to get the sportier GTI, which has 228 horses. Photo: Volkswagen

In terms of style, the Golf is like the Porsche 911 of the Volkswagen lineup: although it has changed a lot of over the years, the Golf still looks like a Golf. To get more than 147 horsepower means spending more to get the sportier GTI, which has 228 horses. Photo: Volkswagen

2019 Volkswagen Golf

What goes around comes back around (in better shape than ever)

Talk about a survivor.

Like the Beetle before it, the Volkswagen Golf hatchback has retained its basic boxy form ever since the first one rolled off the assembly line in 1974 as a ’75 model. Unlike the Beetle, however, successive generations of Golfs have resulted in a car that is as thoroughly modern today as anything else on the market.

The current made-in-Mexico Golf initially arrived for the 2015 model year. Compared to the previous version, it was stretched by about five centimetres overall, with most of the gain found between the front and rear wheels. The width also increased about 2.5 centimetres, while a five-centimetre reduction in body height between the rocker panels and the roofline helped give the Golf a more elongated stance.

A minor facelift for 2018 improved on the conservatively shaped appearance that is the automotive equivalent of a finely pressed suit. This is one car that VW’s designers seemed to have scrupulously avoided faddish or controversial shapes that might draw unwarranted attention.

Mostly unchanged for 2019 is a passenger compartment that’s devoid of any hint of low-rent cost cutting. Both the front and rear seats are well bolstered and the soft-touch dashboard and controls would look right at home in more expensive German brands. A 16.5-centimetre touchscreen is standard, while a 20-centimetre version is available.

The Golf provides plenty of space behind the hatch opening for gear and groceries, either with the 60:40 rear seat folded (nearly) flat or left upright. The adjustable load floor can be lowered by close to 10 centimetres if extra space is needed.

By far the most significant change to the 2019 Golf is the powertrain. The previous turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder has been replaced by a turbocharged 1.4. The new engine, which is also installed in VW’s compact Jetta sedan, makes 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the 1.8, that’s down 23 horses and 16 pound-feet.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while an eight-speed automatic is optional. Previous Golfs offered a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic.

The reduction in output might give some buyers pause, but Volkswagen claims that overall performance has been only slightly affected. On the plus side, fuel consumption is rated at 7.4 l/100 km in combined city/highway driving, with either the manual or automatic transmission, which is better than the previous 8.2 l/100 km (manual transmission).

No doubt the smaller engine and more efficient transmissions help lower consumption, as does a roughly-90-kilogram reduction in vehicle weight.

Looking for more spunk? Check out the Golf GTI with its 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, or the all-wheel-drive Golf R with 288 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. Either model will cost more (the Golf R quite a bit more) than the basic Golf’s $24,200 starting price, including destination fees.

For 2019, The starting-point Golf Comfortline isn’t all that basic since it comes with air conditioning, heated front seats and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The Highline gets the larger touchscreen, climate control, power sunroof, leatherette seat covers and 16-inch wheels.

The top-rung Execline gets navigation, Fender-brand premium sound system, 12-way power driver’s seat and 17-inch wheels.

The range of crash-preventing active-safety technology — which includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection — is available with the Execline and is not standard.

The current trend to utility vehicles means that some automakers are trimming their small-car offerings, but for buyers who appreciate the look and feel of something more nimble, the constantly improving Golf will not disappoint.

What you should know: 2019 Volkswagen Golf

Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact hatchback

Engine (h.p.): 1.4-litre DOHC I-4, turbocharged (147)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic

Market position: Over the past few decades, the Volkswagen Golf has achieved near iconic status with buyers preferring the German-engineered hatchback in all its various forms, including the sporty GTI and all-wheel-drive Golf R.

Points: Familiar styling is always in vogue. • First-rate interior design provides both comfort and up-to-date technology. • Standard turbo engine is a bit less powerful than its predecessor, but with a new transmission it delivers improved fuel economy. • VW should consider adding the Golf Alltrack’s AWD system to the options list.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); emergency braking (opt.); pedestrian detection (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 8.1/6.4 (MT); Base price (incl. destination) $24,200

BY COMPARISON

Honda Civic hatchback

Base price: $23,000

Attractive model uses a 174-h.p. turbo engine. Type R makes 306 h.p.

Subaru Impreza hatchback

Base price: $23,100

Not as roomy as the Golf, but a low price and standard AWD make up for it.

Toyota C-HR

Base price: $25,500

Fun, funky styling appeals to trend-setters. Toyota’s quality rep is a plus.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, visit TodaysDrive.com!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

One of the Golf’s best attributes is an interior brimming with class and elegance. Active-safety technologies, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, are optional. Photo: Volkswagen

One of the Golf’s best attributes is an interior brimming with class and elegance. Active-safety technologies, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, are optional. Photo: Volkswagen

There are three trim levels, with the up-level Execline that receives a power sunroof, 12-way power driver’s seat, premium Fender sound package and 17-inch wheels. Photo: Volkswagen

There are three trim levels, with the up-level Execline that receives a power sunroof, 12-way power driver’s seat, premium Fender sound package and 17-inch wheels. Photo: Volkswagen

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
Man arrested in incident at Canada-U.S. border near Roosville

A man who crossed the border illegally was apprehended by U.S. officials

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

The golf course in Elkford would need to be re-zoned to allow for 10 camping sites. (Image courtesy of District of Elkford)
Elkford to consider allowing campsites at golf course

The district has expressed support for 10 campground spaces at the golf course

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read