The Volkswagen Golf first came off the assembly line in 1974. At the time it was known in the US as the Rabbit, and Volkswagen created it to replace the aging Beetle as its compact car of choice. Since then, the Golf has gone through seven generations and a variety of design changes, a tradition that’s still alive and well as you can see from the number of Golf options now available from VW.
The basic Golf is a small four-door hatchback, although there’s also a two-door version that’s available through special order. The four-door Golf S is inexpensive, with a starting MSRP of just over $20,000, but for that price you’ll get a touchscreen audio system, 170 horsepower, and 22.8 cubic feet of storage space behind the backseat.
A small hatchback may not possess the same attractive figure as a sports car or even a performance sedan, but the VW Golf has been a racing vehicle right from the first generation. The Golf GTI (also known as a “hot hatch“) continues this tradition with a variety of two and four-door trims to choose from, and the price line is still far below that of most sports cars (not to mention the far better cargo capacity). With the optional Performance Package, the Golf GTI can pull 220 horsepower out of a 2.0 liter engine, and the interior’s Clark Plaid design is both stately and striking.
The Golf R is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hiding a scary 292 horsepower monster under its unassuming hood. Like the GTI, the Golf R also comes with a unique upholstery design, and while most of the extra price is spent on performance parts, the interior also contains features you’d expect from a car which starts above $30,000.
Although SUVs tend to be the family vehicle of choice these days, the Golf SportWagen combines the best features of vehicles both small and large to offer everything a family could want. With a SportWagen you’ll benefit from a modest price tag, an impeccable safety record, and enough space to fit five passengers and no less than 30.4 cubic feet of cargo.
The e-Golf is VW’s entry into the growing full-electric car market. The battery gives the Golf an equivalent MPG rating of 127 in the city and an estimated range of 83 miles, more than enough for most urban commutes. You can potentially extend that range (or at least shorten your charging times) by using the e-Golf’s Eco or Eco+ modes, and you can manage your car’s battery charge remotely by using the VW Car-Net app that comes free with every e-Golf model.
Whether you’re looking for low prices, performance, or family utility, or even if you’re looking to be a part of the next big thing in car development, the VW Golf has what you’re looking for. The hatchback design may not have the curves of a sports car or the capacity of a full-size SUV, but the Golf’s design has a charm you aren’t likely to find anywhere else in the car market today.