After 40 Years, The Volkswagen Golf Says Goodbye To America

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The enduring Golf only endures now as performance models.

America's love affair with the hatchback is dead, and nothing demonstrates that more than Volkswagen resting its business case for selling the most well-known hatchback in the world here. After forty years and 2.5 million sales of the Volkswagen Golf in the US, the German automaker is ceasing production of the family model for the American market. The only good news is that the Golf GTI and Golf R performance models will continue to be sold here after production ends this month in January. That means the 2021 model year is the last chance Americans will have to buy a new standard Golf for the foreseeable future.

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We're sad to see production ending as the Golf has a wonderful history in the US and has been a consistently great small family car. It arrived here in 1974 badged as the Rabbit for the first generation before the second generation carried the Golf name. Curiously, the fifth generation returned to the Rabbit name for its 2006 to 2009 model years before reverting again to Golf as of the 2010 model year.

"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," says Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America.

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For those thinking about snapping up one of the last standard Golf models sold in America, it only comes in the full-featured TSI trim and is powered by Volkswagen's 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Enthusiasts will appreciate that it has a manual option offered alongside the standard Tiptronic enabled eight-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission model is cheaper, starting at $23,195, while the eight-speed automatic transmission version starts at $23,995. The only thing that lets the current Golf down is that it shows its age with board technology. However, if that is not important to people shopping for a small, inexpensive car, the Golf is a terrific value proposition. This generation has been around a while; it's trouble-free in terms of reported reliability and recalls.

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