If you've ever bought an SUV instead of a hatchback or wagon, you have no right to complain.
When you think of a great hot hatchback, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is and always has been one of the best. The regular Golf is pretty damn good too, and countless families across the globe have been keeping these cars going for generations. But despite its broad appeal, the regular Golf is no longer offered in the US because people only seem interested in the GTI anyway. For the rest of the world, Volkswagen said that the Golf would continue because "it's an icon," but sadly, it won't be continuing along quite the same path as always. In fact, the changes are going to seriously infuriate traditionalists. Why? Because the next-generation Golf will be morphing into a crossover.
The reason for this is once again related to what the buying public prefers. Speaking about the brand's 2021 sales report, in which VW recorded its best quarterly sales figures since 1973, executive vice president Duncan Movassaghi explained that SUVs are taking over: "Our growth has been led by our SUVs and their significant gains across some of the most competitive segments in the industry." Thus, while cars like the Taos and ID.4 are emerging as popular options, more crossovers are needed, and what better way to introduce a new crossover than by giving it an instantly recognizable and globally adored name?
As for the hotted-up Golf GTI and Golf R variants that we currently have, these will live on as simply the GTI and GTI.:R. In markets where other GTIs exist, those nameplates will live on (Up! GTI, Polo GTI, Arteon R, et cetera). Naturally, one can expect the Volkswagen enthusiast community to protest, but will it make a difference? Probably not. Big corporations are driven by numbers, and if the buying public continues to eschew sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons (where available) in favor of SUVs, then why continue offering them? These cars cost millions of dollars to develop, and by simplifying the range, VW will spend less on new platforms and more on technology. So say goodbye to the Golf as you know it, and if you know somebody driving a Taos instead of a Golf, egg their house; it's their fault that we can only have SUVs now. On the plus side, at least you'll be able to fit more actual golf bags in the back...