Entry price: $21,845
Price as tested: $27,435
This week, we drive the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SE, the lovable compact that is still one of VW’s most popular cars. Also notable is Volkswagen’s just released sales numbers for July, with a 6.1% increase overall versus last year and a 5% upswing for the entire Golf family versus last July numbers.
Now in its seventh generation following a 1974 debut as a replacement for the Beetle, Golf is available in Sedan, Hatchback or small wagon trims ala Golf, GTI, Golf R, e-Golf and Sportwagen. Our tester arrived in SE 4-door dress with a base price of $25,245.
The entry Golf S Sedan is a popular consumer choice thanks to an affordable $21,845 entry price. Most notable is that even with the entry S trim, you receive forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring (front assist) blind spot monitor (different than the upgraded active blind spot) and rear-traffic alert.
This safety enhancement results in a Five Star government safety rating, something very important when a loved one starts their first year at trade school or college arriving in 2019 Golf. And, just as baby boomers cherished all the Beetles and VW Micro Buses/Vans, the young generation loves all the current VW Golf models.
Under the hood of the SE sits VW’s proven 1.4-liter turbo four, this a new standard engine for 2019. It replaces the 1.8 engine from last year and offers better fuel mileage with 29 city and 37 highway the EPA numbers, better than the 27 and 33 respectively, the 1.8 delivered. Torque is good at 184 lb. ft., and you’ll accelerate briskly to 60 mph in the seven-second range.
Power is transferred via Volkswagen’s new eight-speed DSG automatic transmission. I recommend the automatic over the likewise new six-speed-manual for ease of operation and equally good fuel mileage. Paddle shifters are standard fare and you can control this Tiptronic automatic by selecting either normal or sport modes. Helping MPG numbers is an engine on/off system that activates when the Golf comes to a complete stop. This feature is also “on/off” selectable if it bothers you. Both this year’s six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic replace last year’s dated five-speed manuals and six-speed automatics, both long overdue for “more gearing” upgrades.
The major interior differences between the more expensive SE and the entry S is an 8-inch touchscreen instead of a 6.5-incher, sliding panoramic sunroof and an enhanced blind spot monitor. Otherwise, all of the Golf models offer attractive seating and surprising roominess for a compact car. The rear 60-40 folding seat expands cargo room to over 50 cu. ft., something compact vehicles are not known for.
Golf is listed as a compact hatchback by EPA classification. A fully independent suspension offers great grip on all type of roads and conditions. Handling is crisp and precise, which has been a VW calling card for years.
The cabin is mix of resourcefulness and convenience. Featuring leatherette seating as standard fare, the Golf SE model includes SiriusXM, Bluetooth, all the media device interfaces and MP3/WMA-compatible CD player and AM/FM/HD radio. Room inside is excellent be it front or rear seat passengers and a CD player deserves note as many manufacturers no longer offer CD players anymore. So, what are we to do with all of our CDs?
No problem, just buy a Volkswagen.
All of the expected Golf amenities are standard, from cruise to air to three 12V outlets. There’s safety cage construction, all the airbags and safety items including rearview camera, stability control, electric brake force and more. The Golf also receives four wheel antilock disc brakes, traction controls, safety rearview camera, and VW’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that helps slow the Golf down after a collision and reduces the chance of additional impacts.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 103.8-inches, 2,963 lb. curb weight, 13.2-gallon fuel tank, 35.8 ft. turn circle, from 22.8 to 52.7 cu. ft. of cargo space and a 5.4-inch ground clearance. Noteworthy is VW’s “People First” bumper-to-bumper 6-year/72,000-mile warranty.
Golf has an unquestionable look that still resembles the original 1974 Golf in a squared off appearance. Granted, it’s come a long way on the design board, but its blueprint theory is similar to the VW Beetle code of design ethics.
Our tester had just one option, a highly recommended $1,275 Driver Assistance Package that adds 17-inch alloy wheels on Pirelli all-season tires, active blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane keep assist, high beam control, adaptive smart cruise and an auto dim rearview mirror. The final tally came in at $27,435 with $895 delivery included.
VW Golf is an excellent effort and worthy of a test drive if shopping the compact segment. With pricing that allows consumers from all walks a chance to own a 2019 Golf, you’ll have lots to see when you visit your Volkswagen dealer.
Likes: New transmissions, legendary looks, attractive pricing, safety.
Dislikes: Touchscreen learning curve, SiriusXM unavailable on S model, cumbersome radio knob controls.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.