Audi’s little brother has grown up.
Yes. Today’s Volkswagen Golf gives you most of the fit, finish, feel and features of its more upscale Audi division…..for thousands less.
Like most models these days, the Golf comes in a variety of flavors, ranging from an entry-level roughly 20K 5-door hatch to an all-electric version for just a few dollars more to the high-$20’s iconic GTI and on up to a $40-ish rallye-inspired 292 HP type “R”.
And as of last year, there’s now a Golf Sportwagen that gives you the same 5-door versatility plus another foot in length.
Our test golf, tho’, was VW’s top of the line Golf TSI SEL listing just a bit over $30,000. This is the most Audi-like of the bunch….with 18” alloys, a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers with heated nozzles, forward-collision warning, heated power drivers’ seat with power lumbar, blind-spot warnings, rear-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise, fender audio VW’s “App Connect” and keyless entry with push-button start. Pretty much what all the “Big Boys” have.
Propulsion comes from a 170 HP 1.8 liter turbo….with your choice of 5-speed stick or 6-speed automatic. We had the auto, and while rated at 25 city and 36 Hwy on regular, we got a little better than that….getting a legit 37 on a road trip running with the flow of traffic, which is apparently is around10 MPH over the posted limits these days.
With the right size to be a perfect in-town vehicle, the Golf is also quiet and composed enough to make a great road-tripper…especially with its’ 400-mile range. The golf’s fatigue-free driving is in part due to its’ suspension. Soft enough to soak up most in-town bumps but firm enough to make you feel in complete control during high-speed maneuvers.
So….having pretty much invented the “hot-hatch” category a couple of decades ago, is VW still special today?
Yes. While there are perhaps dozens of different 20-something thousand dollar 5-door hatches on the road today, there’s only a small handful that have real “feel”. Volkswagen is one of that small handful. If you’re not eagerly waiting to be ferried around in some hands-off computer-operated capsule….if you actually enjoy driving….then you’ll want to keep Volkswagen on your list.