This is no small business. Volkswagen plans to sell more than a half million of its Golf next year. For the last 38 years, the Golf has constantly been Volkswagen’s top seller, and it’s also one of the best-selling car in the world. Each model change is a major event, and this one even more than last time, because besides the base engines and the gearboxes, just about everything else is new, and significantly improved. The Golf 7 has an all new platform, new engines and of course a new design. Most critics will probably be about that last point. Obviously, it’s different, it’s crisper, but assuredly not enough as some would have liked. This Golf 7 looks a lot like the Golf 6. Yet at least, there are more differences between those 2 Golf, than they are between the previous Audi A3 and the latest one.
More important than the looks, the new Golf is lighter by up to 220 pounds. Pretty impressive results considering all dimensions are up (by about an inch). New body is also more rigid, and the center of gravity is lower. The car should be better on the road. Interior fit and finish, already class-leading, should be even better, and the Golf 7 will get better fuel economy. The Golf with the 1.6-liter diesel has an official 61 mpg rating combined. That should translate as 50 mpg in real world conditions, but that is still excellent. It should be the most popular engine in Europe.
Gas engines are excellent as well, with Volkswagen’s incredible 4-cylinder with 2 cylinders shut-off. This 140 hp 1.4-liter has a 44 mpg rating, definitely class-leading. Those who want more will wait for the BlueMotion version of the Golf which will get a 73 mpg rating. That’s better than the Prius, without the Golf being a hybrid. It’s only a superbly tuned diesel, and look no further for an explanation of the diesel engine dominance in most of Europe.
With prices nearly unchanged, this Golf 7 will one again be a model for the industry. It’s very solidly-built, comes with moderate pricing and delivers great fuel economy. I bet Volkswagen will sell more than a half million next year.