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2020 Volkswagen Golf Options with Comparisons & Configurations.

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2020 Volkswagen Golf Options, Configurations & Comparisons

What 2020 Volkswagen Golf Should you Buy? What is the Difference?

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Hatchbacks seem like they are a dime a dozen these days. And, in the middle of the pack, hovers the 2020 Volkswagen Golf. Once upon a time, the VW Golf was a popular - and highly practical - purchase for consumers. It offered just enough space while keeping a decent fuel economy.

Over the years, the world of hatchbacks has changed with many more automobile manufacturers throwing their designs into the fray. Unfortunately, the Golf has become lost in the midst of this segment. It really does not help that the Golf has been pared down to just the TSI 4-door hatchback this model year.

With only one trim level to choose from, buyers lose the ability to customize the vehicle to their liking. You will not get as many convenience and luxury features as what you can get on competing hatchback models, and the TSI 4-door is considerably under-powered compared to its rivals. Also, its brakes are super touchy, which might cause you to feel unsafe while trying to make a panic stop.

There are some upsides to getting the Golf though. Since it has a square design, this hatchback provides you with a reasonable amount of cargo space (17.4 cubic feet when all seats are left in place). You also get premium interior materials, a decent fuel economy, and great handling capabilities for a vehicle in this price range.

But is it really worth it to invest your hard-earned money in the 2020 Volkswagen Golf? Or should you set your sights on something else? Since we do not have any other trim levels to compare, this trim level review will focus solely on the TSI 4-door hatchback. We will go over its specs and features, and, in the end, we will let you know if we think this vehicle is a smart purchase.


2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI 4-door Hatchback - Options and Features


Let us just cut right to the chase here. The TSI 4-door hatchback is a modestly equipped vehicle. While VW makes it look upscale with the standard V-Tex leatherette upholstery, it is severely lacking in features and mechanical aspects. Before you jump to any conclusions, though, you ought to be aware of what is included on this singular trim level. So, here it is.

We will start with talking about what is under the hood. This vehicle receives its power from a 1.4-L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, which gets paired with either an 8-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. (At least you get some choice in this regard!) Front-wheel drive comes standard, and there is no option for all-wheel drive. The powertrain manages to muster up 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, this ends up feeling inadequate when you compare it to other hatchbacks. Sure, they all basically use these small engines, but many of them can at least get a bit more 'oomph' when it comes to horsepower.

The fuel economy, however, shows some highly attractive numbers. This engine will get you 28 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined. Not bad, right?

There is more to the VW Golf's TSI 4-door hatchback than just its powertrain and drivetrain. It is equipped with a bunch of other mechanical features that you should know about before you decide to buy. The Golf comes with standard electromechanical power steering with variable assistance, power-folding and heated side mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, a power tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an independent suspension with front MacPherson struts, and a rear fully independent 4-link suspension. As far as lights go, the headlights are automatic. There are LED taillights and daytime running lights. Also, the vehicle rides atop 16-inch split-V alloy wheels equipped with all-season tires.

You can order your VW Golf in your choice of four body color options: Silk Blue Metallic, Deep Pearl Black, Platinum Grey Metallic, and Pure White. For the interior, you get two different V-Tex leatherette options: Titan Black or Beige. Either one looks totally chic and is actually quite comfortable to sit on. So it's really up to you which color you think is going to best suit your tastes.

Alright, time to move on to the interior features offered on the TSI 4-door hatchback. When it comes to convenience features, what you get feels pretty limited. You get a leather-wrapped multi-functional steering wheel and gear shift knob, for starters. Then you also get keyless entry with push button start on top of that. But that is just about it for convenience features. Seems a little too bare bones for the price, doesn't it?

Well, let's trudge along and discuss the seating. As already mentioned in this review, you can choose between either Beige or Titan Black V-Tex leatherette upholstery. You also get standard heating on the front seats. Also, both front seats are 6-way partially power-adjustable with built-in lumbar support. The rear seats are 60/40-split folding and have a center armrest for passengers in the outboard seats to utilize. The seats themselves are quite comfortable, matching the expectations you should have for a hatchback of this price. It is nice to see Volkswagen putting such an emphasis on upscale appearance, but you do not get the luxury of having highly adjustable power seats like you do in other vehicles.

What about the technological features found inside of the 2020 Volkswagen's TSI 4-door hatchback trim level? Do they match the vehicle's price tag. Not really. You do get some cool standard features, such as App-Connect (via your smartphone's integration with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), Bluetooth hands-free connectivity for the phone and audio streaming services, and a rear view camera. However, you only get one USB port that everyone has to fight to share, and the standard 6.5-inch touchscreen display that comes with the infotainment system is entirely too small and seriously outdated. Why VW did away with the 8-inch touchscreen and why they do not make a larger one optional is beyond us. Almost no automaker equips that small of a screen on even their base trims anymore. It is just too old-school at this point.

Other infotainment features that you will find inside of the TSI 4-door hatchback include an AM/FM radio, Volkswagen Car-Net Safe & Secure with a paid subscription, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking (included with front assist), a blind spot monitoring system, the Volkswagen Car-Net Guide & Information system with a 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and a 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Travel Link. Additionally, you get rear cross traffic alert, the Volkswagen Car-Net Remote Access system (which comes standard for five years), Volkswagen HotSpot with a one-month or 1 GB (whichever you reach first) trial subscription, and pedestrian monitoring.

Finally, it is important to talk about the different standard safety features offered on the Golf. We have already mentioned some of the driver aids above, and those do come in handy and can help keep you safe. But there are some active and passive safety features that are worthy of mention here.

Active safety features on the 2020 Volkswagen Golf's TSI 4-door hatchback trim level include electronic stability control, brake assist for the engine, an anti-slip regulation feature, and a differential lock that is electronic. You also get an anti-lock braking system, and electronic brake-pressure distribution. Yes, this is all supposed to make the braking feel more secure, but on the Golf, the brakes continuously feel iffy. They are too squishy, and nobody wants to drive on squishy, soft brakes.

Passive safety features are pretty much standard equipment. You get a driver and front passenger, front and side thorax airbag restraint system as well as side curtain protection, and front safety belts that are height adjustable with load limiters and pretensioners. There is also, of course, the LATCH system with its anchor points to hold child car safety seats. Also, the front end of the Golf is crash-optimized.

In addition to the passive and active safety features, you get the Intelligent Crash Response system and a tire pressure monitoring system. While all of these features are your average standard safety features, they do feel kind of minimal.


Which to Choose?


There are some good things and some not-so-good things about owning the 2020 Volkswagen Golf. The amount of cargo space you get is superb for its class, and the front and rear seats all feel spacious enough for even taller adults. And, of course, you have the gorgeous interior design.

There is one very glaring downside though, and it is the vehicle's predicted reliability rating. Sadly, it has been predicted to be one of the lowest-rated in its class in terms of projected reliability. Its competitors are predicted to be exponentially more reliable. The VW Golf just does not have the best track record right now, and this is causing it to fall behind a lot of its competitors in terms of reliability. If you are going to invest a lot of money in a brand new vehicle, you are going to want it to keep going years from now.

Most car gurus will tell you to buy a used VW Golf over getting a new one. Why is that? Well, the truth is, the 2015 to 2018 model years were the highlight of the current generation. The base engine was a lot spunkier than what the TSI has right now, and the infotainment system was infinitely more current-gen. Also, there were a lot more options for advanced driver aids. Now, though, it is as though VW expects buyers to settle for less while paying more. That alone should be a sign that VW is struggling to meet consumer demands and that the Golf has seen its better days.

So, if you plan on getting the VW Golf, you are going to need to choose between the 6-speed manual transmission and the 8-speed automatic transmission. Truth be told, the 6-speed manual is a better option. It feels more engaging to drive. But, of course, many people do not drive manual transmissions in the United States, so the 8-speed automatic transmission will likely out-sell the 6-speed manual transmission. The 8-speed automatic is fine enough to drive, but if you want something a little bit spunkier and know how to drive a manual, the 6-speed is the way to go.

All in all, the 2020 Volkswagen Golf is an okay hatchback, but it is jammed into a segment that is loaded with stronger, more attractive options. The fact that the line-up has been whittled down to a single trim level is somewhat disconcerting, although it did standardize some good features, such as blind spot monitoring. The Golf has seen its better days, and it is likely to get overlooked this model year.

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