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 The previous turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder has been replaced by a turbocharged 1.4.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

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
No public attendance for Kelowna council meetings, public hearings

The new measures come as part of the new provincial order, released on Dec. 3

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster children

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Townhouse proposals by Westcorp to the City of Kelowna, up for consideration Monday, Dec. 7. (City of Kelowna/Westcorp)
Kelowna council to decide on Westcorp development permit for Hiawatha RV Park

City of Kelowna council will consider Monday whether to issue a development permit for the project

Two Kelowna flights have been flagged as having COVID-19 cases on board. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 cases on several Kelowna flights

The flights were on Nov. 19, 22, 24 and 27, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control

This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells with the nuclei stained red. On Friday, May 29, 2020, doctors are reporting success with newer drugs that control certain types of cancer better, reduce the risk it will come back and make treatment simpler and easier to bear. (NCI Center for Cancer Research via AP)
Vernon families give $200,000 towards cancer care in Kelowna

First ever chair in brachytherapy supported by Popowich and Bannister families

JoeAnna’s House pictured in 2019. The house has been in operation for a year. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
JoeAnna’s House celebrates its one-year anniversary

It’s been one year since JoeAnna’s House opened its doors to helping families

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty ventilators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

Numerous businesses, including the Roxie movie theater, have closed to try and stop spread of COVID-19. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke COVID-19 cases tick slowly up to 49

An increase of only three cases since Nov. 30

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

The Grinch was stolen Wednesday and returned sometime in the night on Friday. (Hughes photo - Facebook)
The Grinch has been returned to Penticton home

“I guess someone’s heart grew three times that night” says April Hughes

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

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

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, calls on residents to shop local this Christmas season. (Black Press file)
Small businesses hurt by federal COVID-19 response: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP

Mel Arnold calls for more accessible programming for businesses; supports local holiday shopping

Most Read