Way back in 2006 Volkswagen ditched the Golf name and brought back the old 'Rabbit' moniker from decades earlier. Later, with the introduction of the sixth-generation model, VW changed its mind once again and returned to "Golf," which is now used consistently around the globe for the compact hatchback.
Much of the exterior styling on the new Golf is sourced from the Scirocco and Passat CC. The front-end design uses strong horizontal lines such as the wide, double-bar grille and front bumper air dam vanes-to visually lower and widen the car's stance. The headlights feature a swept-back design to add a dose of sport appeal to the hatchback.
Engine choices include the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that is also shared with the Jetta and Beetle, as well as the 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel that is currently in the U.S. Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen. The five-cylinder powerplant is good for 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque while the diesel makes only 140 horsepower but a stout 236 lb-ft of torque.
Fuel economy for the five-cylinder ranges from 23 city, 33 highway with a five-speed manual transmission (available only on the three-door) to 24 city, 31 highway mpg when a six-speed automatic is swapped for the manual. Step up to the diesel, known as the TDI, and fuel economy jumps to 30 city, 42 highway with either the standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed "DSG" dual-clutch automatic.
The interior design of the newest Golf features the steering wheel audio controls and climate control found in the Scirocco and Passat CC. The Mark VI also offers a new touch screen based navigation unit. Brushed metallic trim inserts are standard on the dash and in the door panels of all Golf models, and accent the Golf's instrument panel and center console.
When needing to haul your gear, simply flip forward the 60/40 split-folding rear seat (it comes with a pass-through on TDI models) and the Golf can pack 46 cubic feet of luggage. Keep the rear seats in place and there's still space for 15.2 cubic feet of cargo.
Like the Rabbit and Golf before it, the Mark VI is offered in three- and five-door body configurations.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Golf is available in a total of six different trim levels - three for the 2.5-liter gas engine, and three for the 2.0-liter "TDI" turbodiesel.
The gas trims start with the 2.5L, which includes power locks and windows, air conditioning, cruise control, an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system, a cooling glovebox, power adjustable and heated mirrors. The 2.5L with Convenience brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle, heated front seats, heated washer nozzles and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming. The top-spec 2.5L with Convenience and Sunroof lives up to its name by adding a sunroof in addition to a premium touchscreen-activated sound system with HD radio, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a media device interface with an iPod cable and SiriusXM radio.
At the bottom of the diesel range there's the TDI, which includes all of the 2.5L's features in addition to a lowered sport suspension, a premium touchscreen-activated sound system with HD radio, heated front seats, heated washer nozzles, 17-inch Salamanca alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel and halogen foglights. The next rung up the latter, the TDI with Sunroof and Navigation, includes precisely what you'd expect - sunroof and a touchscreen-activated navigation system. Finally, the TDI with Technology Package adds a Dynaudio sound system, keyless access with push-button start, bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights and an adaptive front-lighting system.
All Golf models come standard with dual front, side and side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and electronic brake-force distribution.
Volkswagen's Golf faces a myriad of competition ranging from the Ford Focus Hatchback, to the Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback, to the Hyundai Elantra and other compact offerings.