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 The previous turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder has been replaced by a turbocharged 1.4.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

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Lake Babine Nation closure sign
Lake Babine Nation issues COVID numbers update

Urges members to follow provincial health orders

NH representative confirmed that people who received their first dose will be scheduled to receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe.(The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette photo)
Vaccine rollout abruptly halted in Lakes District

Northern Health cites Pfizer shipment delays for the vaccine distribution disruption

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read