2020 Volkswagen Golf – Re- Driven Review – Bests Par on any Course

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSi: what could be final U.S. bow for standard model of the standard by which compact family hatchbacks are judged

IF RUMORS HOLD TRUE:  the standard version of the best selling ever European brand hatchback will be torn from American clutches after this year. The non-confirmed yanking of the just launched standard Volkswagen Golf Mk. 8 comes on the heels of a bittersweet global Farewell and Auf Wiedersehen to the historic Beetle runabout last summer. However, the potential Stateside loss of the standard Golf Mk. 8 could be more lamentable. It is the standard by how all other compact hatchbacks have been and are judged. Although Wolfsburg has promised a Mk. 8 Golf GTI and R future, either can be too pricey or too much overkill for many.

SAY IT WON’T BE SO: Come join in on what may be standard Hare’s final dash here. It’s the sportback which editors described as “…the Paradigm for shift it yourself warmed Fahrvegnügen,” in  Roadblazing.com’s 2019 VW Golf Bottom Line Review.

Driving Hits:

  • Stout 184 lb-ft of torque at a mere 1500 rpm
  • Sublime shifter rowing of standard 6-speed manual gearbox
  • Swift clutch pedal engagement
  • Wide gear ratios for effortless commuting
  • 36 combined miles per gallon
  • 500+ miles fuel tank range
  • MQB platform gets the real deal full independent suspension
  • Tautly communicative but then forgiving handling
  • Steering is a gem of precision and weighting
  • Road, wind & drivetrain noise nearly luxury car absent
  • Door thuds about as solid as on any Audi
2020 Volkswagen Golf TSi:

Driving Misses:

  • While plenty brisk, lower horsepower rating noticed at 7/8ths throttle
  • Low all-season tire dry grip

What It Has Got:

2019 Volkswagen Golf SE: Driver’s entry
  • Low price: from $24,110 (incl. destination) for a 6-speed manual 2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI. Add $800 for the 8-speed automatic transaxle.
  • Nothing else in its class is built as solid
  • Enormous hatchback opening utility
  • Tall greenhouse for tremendous view outwards.
  • Comfortably fits 4 adults their stuff for a weekend.
  • Sliding / variable height front center armrest
  • 6.5″-inch Composition Color display
  • Above par standard feature set
    • Heated mirrors, front seats, headlamp washers
    • Keyless comfort entry, ignition
    • Cruise control
    • Power windows full express x 4
    • Android Auto, AppleCar Play and MirrorLink phone projection
    • Wi-Fi
  • Acceptably good safety features & ratings
    • IIHS Good across the board
  • Driver assist tech included
    • Collision avoidance pre-braking, blind spot & rear cross traffic warning
  • 4 year / 50,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty includes 2 years maintenance
2019 Volkswagen Golf SE: 60/40% split near flat folding rear seat backs w/ pass through extend cargo volume to 53.7 cubic feet

What It Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Only monospec for 2020 [because it’s an outgoing model]
  • Base price +$4295 (=20%) vs. base VW Jetta
  • Seat cushions on firm side
  • Low cabin material contrast
  • No adaptive cruise control or lane keep steering
  • USB-C x 1 power port necessitates adapters for USB-A cables
  • 2 years / 22k miles shorter warranty from 2019 MY

Standout Cool Feature(s):

  • Oversized tilt and slide power moonroof


Entry level 2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI = perfect example of affordable inimitable goodness and utility on the verge of being squandered in the U.S.


* * * * * * * * * * * *

WHAT: 2019 Volkswagen Golf SE Mid-cycle freshened Mk.7 of the renowned compact family liftback. Assembled on VW Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) modular platform.

Standard Power: transverse 1.4 L turbocharged DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 147 hp/ 184 lb-ft @ 1400 rpm + 6-speed manual helical gear transaxle, XDS viscous clutch front differential lock;

(Optional) 8-speed tiptronic torque converter automatic transaxle.


Truer to the category it elevated, Golf’s liftgate is vertical mustering a lower Kammback. Tall, relatively upright greenhouse + low belt-line without drastic roof rise or drop = maximum outward visibility; Body color matching roof spoiler; C-pillar magnifies rear door frame Hofmeister kink; Convex hood, with length creasing paralleled on muscular fender, suggests globality or throwback to Beetle; Coke bottle fuselage bears subtle lower door crease; Bi horizontal bar = slim grille + tri bar air dam inlet, each with one bar chromed; Protruding bumper covers, rear cinched for license plate duty;

Trapezoid Trapesing: Wrap around front, rear lamp housings; Front, rear lower corner driving lamp/ reflector bezels; Chromed dual lower rear exhaust outlets.

WHY: Paradigm for shift-it-yourself warm Fahrvergnügen.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2018.

WHERE: Volkswagen new car dealers

WHERE MADE: Puebla, Mexico

HOW STRONG: There’s no denying the 1.4L intercooled turbo-4 EA211’s heady 184 lb-ft at just 1400 rpm’s worth. Beware of long throttle travel. Clutch pedal benefits from such smooth take-up action. Brake pedal offset slightly to right aids heel-to-toe action. Short gear multiplication beyond 2nd gear in the helical manual transaxle hinders full boost pressure unlike an automatic planetary box. Roadblazing Tips = Move driver’s seat forward to contend with long clutch pedal travel and avoid upshifting prematurely.


An automotive enthusiast since an orange toy VW Beetle ended up in his playpen and following him everywhere, George Straton has been chief editor at ChicagoNow.com/Drive-He-Said automotive lifestyle blog since 2010. In 2017 George established Roadblazing.com, dedicated to accurate automotive reviews, news and road trip stories. George is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. George also happens to be an attorney and Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers fan. Present ride: 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback.

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