ICYMI: The Golf Is Gone (But Not the GTI)

Earlier this week, Volkswagen released a statement confirming that the company would end production of the Golf in North America. We thought that we should bring this topic back up in case some people missed it as we didn’t see the expected chatter on the forum.

But what about the GTI?” you might now be screaming at your monitor. Worry not, as the release also explains that “the Golf family name will carry on in model year 2022 with the introduction of the all-new Mk 8 Golf GTI and Golf R, arriving this Fall.”

So, the R and the GTI will live on, though we can’t deny that we’re not bummed the standard Golf will disappear after this year, considering that it’s been with North America since 1974. Since then, the Golf would evolve over seven generations, spawning a number of unique models—GTI, R or otherwise.

Current 2021 models are still available, and we even had the chance to drive one not too long ago.

Read the full press release below, and let us know what your favorite generation of the Golf is:

Herndon, VA — Volkswagen of America announced today that the critically-acclaimed Volkswagen Golf ended production for the U.S. market last week. Volkswagen expects that the model year 2021 Golf models built at the Puebla, Mexico plant will sustain sales of the affordable, European-designed hatchback through year end. The Golf family name will carry on in model year 2022 with the introduction of the all-new Mk 8 Golf GTI and Golf R, arriving this Fall.

Over four decades, the Golf has delivered a great value to American drivers,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “It exemplified what Volkswagen does best—melding dynamic driving characteristics with purposeful packaging and unmatched quality. While the seventh-generation Golf will be the last of the base hatches sold here, the GTI and Golf R will carry its legacy forward.”

In the U.S., nearly 2.5 million Golf family models have been sold since 1974. A Golf model has earned a spot on Car and Driver’s 10Best list for the last 15 years in a row, and the current-generation Mk 7 Golf was named North American Car of the Year when it debuted for the 2015 model year.

The 2021 Golf is available in one well-equipped trim—the Golf TSI. It features a 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection engine, which makes 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The TSI® engine is mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic®, and achieves EPA-estimated fuel economy of 29/39/33 (city/highway/combined) and 29/36/32 respectively.

The value-driven Golf TSI offers a host of standout features. On the exterior, LED DRLs and taillights give an unmistakable lighting signature, and automatic headlights with rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard, as are heated washer nozzles. Golf rides on 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, wrapped in 205/55 all-season tires and features KESSY® keyless access and a panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof. Inside, premium materials are used throughout the driver-centric cabin, where leatherette steering wheel and seating surfaces and heated front seats are standard. Volkswagen Car-Net® and App-Connect keep drivers connected, and driver assistance features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert.

Pricing for the 2021 Volkswagen Golf with a standard six-speed manual transmission starts at $23,195. The eight-speed automatic transmission starts at $23,995. The destination charge for all Golf models is an additional $995.

Seven Generations of Golf (U.S. Model Years)
Golf I: MY 1975-1984

  • First sold in December 1974 as “Rabbit” in the U.S.
  • 1.5-liter engine with 70 hp
  • GTI introduced in 1983 with 1.8-liter 90 hp engine

Golf II: MY 1985-1992

  • Sold as “Golf” in the U.S.
  • Dimensions grow by nearly 7 inches in length, 3 inches in wheelbase, and 2 inches in width
  • Standard engine is revised 1.8-liter with 85 hp, GTI introduces 2.0-liter engine with 131 hp
  • Catalytic converter, anti-lock braking system and power steering debut

Golf III: MY 1993-1999

  • Design shifts to wedge shape
  • Base powertrain is 2.0-liter with 115 hp, GTI goes to available 2.8-liter VR6® with 172 hp
  • Front and side airbags debut, advances in body construction result in improved crash safety
  • VR6® engine and cruise control offered for the first time

Golf IV: MY 1999.5-2005

  • All-new design with flatter windshield, and roofline carried further back with steeper rear window
  • Electronic stability control and side curtain airbags debut
  • 1.8T engine introduced for GTI, bringing turbocharging to this generation of GTI
  • R32 introduced for 2004 with 240 hp, six-speed manual, and 4MOTION all-wheel drive

Golf V: MY 2006-2009

  • New multi-link rear suspension; rain-sensing wipers introduced
  • Sold as “Rabbit” again in the US
  • DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmissions debuts as an option for GTI and the standard transmission for R32; Bi-Xenon® headlights introduced on both models
  • Base engine is 150 hp 2.5-liter, GTI moves to 200 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine
  • R32 reintroduced for 2008 with 250 hp

Golf VI: MY 2010-2014

  • Golf” name returns for the U.S.
  • Prominent character line runs from headlights to taillights
  • Base powertrain is 2.5-liter with 170 hp
  • Golf R introduced for 2012, with the VR6 engine replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine pushing 256 hp

Golf VII: MY 2015-2021

  • Based on Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture
  • Golf grows in size yet drops in weight, despite a plethora of new and upscale features
  • Facelift in MY 2018 features included revised headlight and taillight designs, redesigned bumpers, and infotainment and driver assistance updates
  • Base 1.8-liter TSI 170 hp engine replaces 2.5-liter to gain an EPA-estimated 6 mpg highway, later replaced by the 1.4-liter TSI engine in 2019
  • GTI and Golf R powered by new versions of the 2.0-liter TSI engine, with up to 228 hp for GTI and up to 288 hp for Golf R (both achieved with premium fuel) Available driver-assistance technology includes Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Park Distance Control
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Comments
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rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
1/22/21 3:35 p.m.

I'm guessing this means no more Golf Sportwagen either? 

chaparral
chaparral Dork
1/22/21 3:45 p.m.

The depreciation on the plain Golf was so much faster than the GTI that the upgrade was more or less free. They got the same gas mileage; until 2018 they shared an EA888 engine, with the GTI getting a stroker crank. I'm not surprised the plain Golf is gone. Now they need to bring over the Seat Ibiza to come in below the GTI. 

noddaz
noddaz UltraDork
1/22/21 3:54 p.m.

But the USA does not like cars anymore.  *sigh*  If it's not a SUV it isn't selling.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
1/22/21 3:55 p.m.

In reply to chaparral :

Or bring over the Polo GTI.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
1/22/21 4:07 p.m.

Man... Pour one out for a legend. indecision

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/22/21 4:08 p.m.

Just one more reminder that all used cars were once new cars. 

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
1/22/21 4:26 p.m.

Weird, but what isn't these days?  I've had three GTIs, but no standard Golfs.  Nevertheless, the VW was always more appealing than a Civic (bought a new Civic in 2012 anyway, but whatever--hated it).  What will replace the Golf?  Will the price of the GTI go to stupidville as a result?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/22/21 4:30 p.m.

I had an A2-Golf GL for a while--four-door hatch. I sold it for an SE-R. 

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
1/22/21 4:36 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

That's gross, but what's grosser than gross is that I once traded a '68 Bronco for a late-90's Sentra.  The Bronco was from Utah, however, and it was literally so cancerous with rust that pieces (like shock mounts) regularly broke off.  I won . . . by taking a Sentra (which I immediately sold off).  Ah, the good old days . . .

The peak GTI was the Mark II with the 2.0 16-valve.  I had one, and it was damn good (after I replaced the clutch post-first day of ownership).  Don't ever buy a manual transmission car from someone in the Bay Area.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/22/21 5:09 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

Oh, the SE-R was definiately a step up. :)

Looking back, the Golf was a little unconventional. Like, it had shoulder belts up front but no lap belts. Welcome to early passive restraints. 

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
1/22/21 7:50 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

What will replace it?  ID.4 is US, we won't even get the ID.3 which is closer. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/22/21 8:38 p.m.
rslifkin said:

I'm guessing this means no more Golf Sportwagen either? 

This always confused me.  There is a Jetta and a Golf Sportwagen.  What is the difference?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/22/21 8:42 p.m.
rustomatic said:

Weird, but what isn't these days?  I've had three GTIs, but no standard Golfs.  Nevertheless, the VW was always more appealing than a Civic (bought a new Civic in 2012 anyway, but whatever--hated it).  What will replace the Golf?  Will the price of the GTI go to stupidville as a result?

The Golf that I used to have was a GL model.  The previous owner upgraded it to GTI suspension spec by getting vented rotors (same calipers, just different pad thickness) and the thicker sway bar.  GTIs in those days still could be had with the regular old 8v engine and drum brakes.

It didn't have a GTI trans, but really, the long 3.67 geared economy trans worked just fine.  The ratios were close enough to be fun and it's not like there wasn't enough power to make 1st gear mostly useless anyway, even with the tall gearing.

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
1/23/21 12:16 a.m.

Jetta Sportwagen was up until 2013 or 14ish. 15 and up I believe it switched over to Golf Wagon. 

Shame they are stopping production of the Golf. Having the sunroof standard on the final year production is a no deal for me. At least the GTI lives on (even if it's a little expensive for my blood..).

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/23/21 6:08 a.m.

I've seen this play out before.   Cars not profitable. SUV's only.  Housing prices high.  Hmmmm.  Soon cars will be profitable I gather. 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
1/23/21 8:01 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

This always confused me.  There is a Jetta and a Golf Sportwagen.  What is the difference?

Just a name change.  Mk6 was called the Jetta Sportwagen.  For the Mk7 ones, they got smart and called it the Golf Sportwagen, as it's just a stretched Golf and had nothing in common with the Mk6 and newer Jetta sedan chassis. 

NGTD
NGTD PowerDork
1/23/21 8:11 a.m.

Damn - I've had an Mk3, 2 Mk4's and I am currently driving a Mk5.

Hopefully we'll still get them in Canada! We like hatchbacks up here.

noddaz
noddaz UltraDork
1/23/21 8:41 a.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

In reply to chaparral :

Or bring over the Polo GTI.

yes  This!

misshift (Forum Supporter)
misshift (Forum Supporter) New Reader
1/23/21 11:18 a.m.

Makes me feel even older. I worked at VW dealerships when air cooled stuff was new. The Rabbit and Dashers came out and they were considered not real VWs. Now they have gone by the wayside for the Atlas, sigh. 

chaparral
chaparral Dork
1/23/21 9:28 p.m.

I'm just glad they're still selling the GTI. It's too bad that only the Jetta will have the EA211 engine over here, and that they have no product here with the new 1.0 liter turbo 3.

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