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2019 Volkswagen Golf Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

What do you get with each? Find out below..
2019 Volkswagen Golf Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: S vs SE

What 2019 Volkswagen Golf Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

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Sometimes, it is better to keep things simple. That certainly seems to be the approach Volkswagen prefers to take with the Golf. There are not as many features that get wrapped into this little package as there are in other hatchbacks, but, to be honest, a lot of the features that get left out are ones that we can live without. Sure, creature comforts are nice, but they are not necessities.

What Volkswagen does get right on the Golf, it really gets right. Take the vehicle's fuel efficiency. It has been improved for this model year by the inclusion of a new powertrain. Volkswagen wisely decided to ax the former 1.8-L engine and outdated 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions from the line-up. They have been replaced by a smaller 1.4-L engine and a 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic transmission. Sure, there is a loss of horsepower, but the 8-speed in particular provides some solid shifts between gears. For this, Volkswagen deserves some credit; they are truly listening to consumer demands.

The Golf's simplicity extends right down to the fact that the line-up only has two trim levels to choose from. For those of us who get overwhelmed by having too many options, this can be a good thing. The base S and line-topping SE trims are both reasonably priced, so your selection will likely be based on which one has the most of what you need. For many people, the S might do just fine, but the SE has more features available.

So, which trim level is the right one for you? Read on through to the end of this comparison review, and you should have a clearer idea of whether the S or SE is the trim you like best.

Compare the 2019 Volkswagen Golf S vs SE Trim Levels. What is the difference?

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf has two solidly-built and reasonably-priced trim levels, the S and SE. Both of these trims are equipped with the same brand new 1.4-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and your choice of either the 6-speed manual transmission or the 8-speed automatic. Both of these transmissions are steps up from those found in previous model years, so it really will boil down to your preference for manual or automatic. This powertrain is able to deliver 147 hp, which is down a bit from the 2018 model year line-up. However, the Golf's fuel economy gets a boost. Both the S and SE get 29 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway. This is one of the most appealing factors that will draw in customers this year.

Of course, the Golf has more to offer than just its good fuel economy. Both trims also come with a decent selection of standard mechanical and exterior features. For example, the S trim level comes with electromechanical power steering (which incorporates variable assistance), an independent suspension, MacPherson struts on the front, and a fully independent 4-link suspension for the rear. On the body of the S, there are standard power-adjustable and heated side mirrors. Rain-sensing windshield wipers are also on the list of standard features, which is a nice little bonus considering the fact that many automobile manufacturers do not slap them onto their base trim levels.

Other exterior features on the Golf include automatic headlights and the ever-popular LED treatment for the taillights and daytime running lights. Oh, and the wheels? Those are some sturdy 15-inch alloy wheels. While they provide the S trim with a decent performance, there are several options for upgrading, which we will also discuss in this comparison review.

As you can probably imagine, the SE gets a few exterior upgrades over the S trim. The SE comes with all of the standard features you can find on the S's body, but it also includes more luxuries like heated windshield washer nozzles. Also, a power tilting and sliding sunroof comes equipped on the SE. If you opt for the Driver Assistance Package, you will receive an overhead view camera. Additionally, the SE rides atop 16-inch split V alloy wheels instead of the S's 15-inch ones.

For a modestly priced base trim, the S actually has a good sense of luxury to it. Both the steering wheel and gear shift knob are wrapped in leather. The seats come with standard cloth upholstery, and the front seats are both 6-way partially power adjustable with adjustable lumbar support built into the mix. The rear seats are 60/40 split-folding and are divided by a center armrest.

While you might think the cabin design on the S is pretty nifty, the SE is even sweeter. The SE's cabin plays home to V-Tex leatherette seats. The front seats are both heated for that extra little bit of comfort during the cooler months of the year. Also, the SE has quite a few extra convenience features, including keyless entry with a push-button start function. When you choose to add the Driver Convenience Package on to the SE trim level, you gain the use of adaptive cruise control and an automatically dimming interior rear-view mirror.

Despite the fact that it is a base trim, the S actually has the right amount of standard multimedia and safety technology. Standard infotainment features include Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB port, and a 6.5-inch color touchscreen display and sound system complete with AM/FM radio. Standard safety features include a blind-spot monitoring system with a rear cross traffic alert and a forward collision warning system with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Considering the fact that most auto manufacturers leave these features as optional or make them completely unavailable on their base trims, this is a nice gesture from Volkswagen. Clearly, the company prioritizes safety for all of its models and their trim levels.

The SE boosts the number of standard safety and infotainment features. The 6.5-inch touchscreen that is found inside of the S trim level gets upgraded to an 8-inch screen with a system that adds a proximity sensor, HD radio, voice control, and a MP3/WMA-compatible CD player. Also, you get a three month trial to SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a six-month trial subscription to Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service. As far as safety features go, the biggest upgrade is the optional lane keep assist function that comes with the Driver Assistance Package.

Other active and passive safety features that can be found on both the S and SE trim levels include electronic stability control, engine brake assist, an anti-lock braking system, hydraulic brake assist, a front end that is optimized to endure crashes, a tire pressure monitoring system, and the intelligent crash response system.

There are a number of optional accessories that you can also purchase for the S and SE trim levels. These accessories include an organizer for the cargo area, a heavy duty trunk liner with Volkswagen cargo blocks (for holding things like filled grocery bags into place), a door sill protection plate with the Golf name emblazoned on it, several different types of floor mats, sun blinds for the side windows and rear hatch, and brushed metal pedal caps. Also, you can choose to buy side window deflectors, splash guards to help protect the bottom of the vehicle from road debris, and stunning satin silver mirror caps to give your vehicle a bit of extra flair.

There are options for wheels upgrades too. There are 18-inch Montauk five-spoke wheels that are set widely apart from one another. If you prefer smaller wheels, there are optional 16-inch Aspen Winter wheels that take a minimalist approach to wheel design. Either way, both of these wheel options look superb on the Volkswagen Golf and can be added on to either the S or SE trim level. Just be aware that the seriously chic Montauk wheels are about double the price of the 16-inch Aspen Winter wheels. But, if you crave luxury and really want to be riding around in style, the Montauk wheels are quite pleasant to look at.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, Edmunds, CarsDirect & MotorTrend.

These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Trim Level to Choose?

There you have it, the two 2019 Volkswagen Golf trim levels. Both the S and SE are well-built and equipped with just the right amount of features. Honestly, either one is worth the price you will pay. The standard inclusion of advanced driver aid features like blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning place the Volkswagen Golf above some of its competitors in terms of presenting consumers with a great deal.

So, which trim level should you choose? While the S is a great base trim, the SE only costs a few thousand dollars more to start out with, and there are enough optional add-on features to make it even better. If you can spare a few grand from your bank account, the SE trim level is worth the purchase.

Either way, you cannot really go wrong with the budget-friendly and fuel-savvy 2019 Volkswagen Golf.

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