Rate It: The Safari-Ready VW Golf Country

Before the Subaru Outback, before the current Safari 911 craze, Volkswagen built the off-road-ready Golf Country. 

After showing its Montana concept at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, VW offered this Golf Country for 1990 and 1991. Just 7735 examples are said to have been built.

The car itself is based on the four-wheel-drive Golf Synchro. The extra 4.72 inches of ride height and seven-plus inches of ground clearance come via a tubular subframe installed by Steyr. Then add in the bumper bars, extra lights and rear-mounted spare tire. 

Horsepower, though, remained at 97. As in, not quite 100–about par for the day. Lower gearing is said to help acceleration.

From the VW media site: “The Golf Country won’t be giving any GTI a run for its money, but it can cut through a field to get to the finish line first. The Country model is utterly unbothered by bumps and ruts in the road, soaking them up with ease. There is pronounced body roll in cornering that may catch modern Volkswagen drivers by surprise—the Country is a Golf that loves to lean in. But overall, the drive experience is nothing if not charming—even 30 years on.”

So, who here would make space for one?

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View comments on the GRM forums
mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
7/29/20 9:09 a.m.

I was prepared to hate this because I thought I was clicking on a story of someone lifting a new Golf 1.5 inches and putting slightly knobby tires and some vinyl on it for all the Instagram likes. But when I clicked I got this. And it's all kinds of awesome. 

shagles Reader
7/29/20 9:15 a.m.

Somehow I like it. I don't want to cause I don't do VW, but I do.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
7/29/20 9:17 a.m.

I saw three of those on a trip to Europe several years ago, one in Austria and two in Slovenia. I'd drive one just to be different.

aw614 Reader
7/29/20 9:58 a.m.

1.9 TDI swap would be a perfect swap for these. 

There was one in Florida, I believe the owner sold it a few years back


Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
7/29/20 10:04 a.m.

The second best Golf trim level, after the GTI.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/29/20 10:04 a.m.

These things are an amazing combination of both stupid and awesome. Would have been nice with a bit more powerplant, but when is that not a complaint.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/29/20 11:10 a.m.

Just remembered something: Way, way back in the day, I actually owned a five-door A2 Golf. It wasn't nearly this cool, though. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/29/20 11:26 a.m.

In reply to DeadSkunk (Warren) :

Totally in with you there. Drive it and arrive in style. 

noddaz UltraDork
7/29/20 11:45 a.m.

Heck yeah!  And a TDi swap would be great!

stylngle2003 Reader
7/29/20 12:44 p.m.

yep, i'm a fan.  Saw a real one at h2o about a decade ago.  Wouldn't own one, but I can definitely appreciate them.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/29/20 2:51 p.m.

Is this one of those coulda, woulda stories? What if VW sold that model here and it was successful? Would today's VW more resemble Subaru? 

rattfink81 Reader
7/29/20 2:51 p.m.

rattfink81 Reader
7/29/20 2:52 p.m.

Saw this one a few years ago. Only one I've seen in person. 

LopRacer Dork
7/29/20 6:52 p.m.

Pretty cool.


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