2020 Volkswagen GolfShould you buy? Find out below..
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If you are in the market for a new hatchback, you've probably considered the 2020 Volkswagen Golf. The Golf is the third best-selling car in the world for a good reason. However, this model year, you will find the U.S. version of the Golf to be extremely basic as it has been chopped down to a single trim level. It might be a sign of dwindling popularity or VW doing some cost-cutting in a difficult economy. They haven't introduced the eighth generation of the Golf to America yet either.
What's New for 2020?
This year, the line-up has been chopped down to a single trim level. So, sorry, you do not get too many choices for how you can customize this vehicle. Also, take note that the 8-inch touchscreen is no longer available, and some other features were axed along with it. You do, however, get standard WiFi connectivity now. Other than that, it's the same ol', same ol' on the 2020 Volkswagen Golf.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2020 Volkswagen Golf – The Pros
1. Superb Handling
One of the things that people will like best about the 2020 Volkswagen Golf is its superb handling capabilities. In fact, this is what really lends to its popularity. For years, people have known that you can get a good handling quality from the Golf. Body roll is kept to a minimum while rounding through difficult turns, and you will only feel it when making very tight left to right transitions. Otherwise, this vehicle is well-designed and well-composed for handling different roadways.
2. Excellent Steering
Steering capabilities rank right up there with the Golf's excellent handling. At slower speeds, the steering feels light enough, and effort only builds in a natural way as you increase up to highway speeds. This vehicle does not dart around too much, even though the vehicle seems like it wants to turn when you take it away from center. Still, everything feels predictable when it comes to how the Golf steers. You will feel like you are connected with how the wheels are performing.
3. A Comfy Ride on the 16-inch Wheels
Stick with the 16-inch wheels on the current model year's Volkswagen Golf - they provide a cozy ride quality. Anything bigger than that will take away some of the comfort. Those pesky washboard roads will cause some vibrations, but that is something that many of us have come to expect from driving just about any vehicle over those roadways. Over broken and jagged surfaces, the Golf remains composed. You will feel some dip while traversing an uneven road, but that is also something many of us have come to expect from the roadways.
4. Very Little Noise Intrusion
You will get some engine noise at slower speeds and while idling, but it never feels obnoxious. Wind noise only seeps in, in a modest amount, while driving along at high speeds. Road noise never invades the cabin. Overall, the cabin sounds as though it is well-insulated, and you will never have to crank your music to hear it or basically yell just so your backseat passengers can hear you.
5. Controls are User-friendly
Another strong point for the Volkswagen Golf is that the controls are easy to figure out. While the manual climate control system might feel a bit too basic, you at least have no guesswork involved. The controls are all placed well within the driver's reach and are clearly labeled. The touchscreen display has a simplified and logical set-up, so you will not be confused by a wonky interface. This is especially refreshing for folks who want a new car without too many frills.
6. It's Easy to Get In and Out
Getting in and out of the Golf is super easy thanks to the roofline being so tall and flat. Although the door sills sit a little high off the ground and you will have to pull your legs up, you won't have too far to go. You can use the superbly sturdy grab handles to ease yourself into the cabin. Closing those up is pretty easy too. All in all, getting in and out of the Golf only takes minimal effort, which is helpful if you are someone with a mobility or balance issue.
7. Excellent Outward Visibility
The view from the cockpit of the new VW Golf is expansive. The slender roof pillars largely contribute to that. You can simply find the right driving position by maneuvering the tilt and telescoping steering wheel and adjusting the seat as needed. Then you can look out and see all around the vehicle. The rear doors are long, giving you plenty of glass to look out of, making the blind spots this vehicle does have extremely few and small in number. You can, of course, rely on the rear-view camera to help you get out of tight parking spots, but most people will find that they do not really need it.
8. A Ton of Small-item Storage Areas
We all need places to stash our small items, right? Well, VW knows this and adorns the Golf with more than enough small-item storage spaces. The front door pockets can easily fit two water bottles in each, and the rear door pockets can each comfortably fit one water bottle. The armrest opens up into a big bin, and there is storage behind the center console. Also, the glove box is notably massive. You can jam all sorts of things in there alongside your owner's manual and pair of gloves.
9. The Expansive Cargo Area
This model year's Volkswagen Golf might have a small-ish cabin, but the large cargo area kind of makes up for it. Being so flat and wide in its design, it gives you a ton of space to work with. In fact, the 22.3 cubic feet of cargo space you get with all seats in place will feel totally sufficient. Fold the rear seats down, though, and you can max it out to an impressive 53.7 cubes, which is one of the biggest cargo spaces you will find in this segment.
10. The LATCH Anchors are Easily Accessible
LATCH is a system that parents know all too well. In some vehicles, accessing the anchors can be a pain in the butt if you have to dig for them. This is not the case in the Golf. There are two Isofix anchors located on each of the rear outboard seats are are kept under plastic covers that you should have no problem getting to. The only problem with installing the seats is that the backseat is kind of cramped, so you will first need to move the front seat up as far as it can go.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2020 Volkswagen Golf – The Cons
1. A Lack of Current-gen Infotainment Features
One of the biggest pitfall of this year's Volkswagen Golf is that it lacks current-gen technology. Last model year's 8-inch touchscreen was a delight, and the system on it was easy to use. Now that the 8-inch screen is no longer available, you're stuck with something that looks outdated. For all you tech-savvy folks out there, this is going to be a huge bummer. Also, the number of standard driver aids feels relatively small compared to what you can get with some of the Golf's competitors.
2. Extremely Touchy Brakes
These are some of the worst brakes you will find on a vehicle this year. They feel weak as you try to build up pressure while driving. The pedal gives you absolutely no feedback, which makes it extremely difficult to come to a safe stop. Making a panic stop is a nightmare. The front end has a lot of nosedive when making a panic stop, and all the downshifting will cause the vehicle to lurch. Going from 60 mph to 0, the Golf needs 129 feet to make a safe stop. That is longer than most of its competitors.
3. The Manual Climate Control System
As already mentioned, the manual climate control system feels way too basic. The new Volkswagen Golf does not have rear seat vents, so passengers in the back will not feel that hot or cold air as coming through like you do in the front. Also, the heating on the front seats just gets moderately warm, so it is not terribly effective.
4. A Lot of Hard Plastics
This is a minor complaint, but there are quite a few hard plastic surfaces inside of the Golf's cabin. The center console looks kind of tacky in comparison to the faux-leather seating and door trim. You also get a good amount of rattling when you turn the speakers up on the audio system.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2020 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2020 Honda Civic
You can't go wrong with the Honda Civic, and it certainly bests the 2020 Volkswagen Golf in a lot of ways. The new hatchback Civic has been restyled and has improved noise reduction. Its fuel economy is superb, and the cabin actually feels pretty spacious. You get a smooth ride quality from the Civic, and there are plenty of standard and optional features available so you can customize it to your liking. However, the blind-spot camera is a bit tricky to use, and forward collision mitigation is hyper-vigilant.
2020 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2020 Mazda 3
The 2020 Mazda 3 is another tough rival in this segment. The Mazda 3 has an impressive sound system with crystal-clear quality pumping from the speakers. The interior design looks upscale, and the handling is superb. The downside? The cabin feels cramped. Also, cargo space is not on par with this segment.
This year's Volkswagen Golf is a reflection of VW struggling to stay afloat in this ultra-competitive segment. Rivals like Honda and Mazda offer more expansive line-ups in terms of trim levels, thereby offering buyers a lot of choices. If VW is going to overhaul the Golf soon, they've got their work cut out for them.
• Why buy a 2019 Volkswagen Golf? w/ pros vs cons