Traditional sedans like the Jetta and Passat may be more popular in the United States, but it’s the Golf that’s Volkswagen’s bread and butter throughout the world. Four decades have passed since it debuted on the world stage, and in that time the Golf has become one of the best-selling cars of all time. Like all that came before, last year’s all-new Golf followed an evolutionary path that maintained the Golf’s traditionally best qualities and ironed out its deficiencies.
One major change VW made was to swap out the old and inefficient five-cylinder engine for a new turbocharged 1.8-liter engine. It’s a sweetheart. With a healthy 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Golf handily beats most compact cars in an old-fashioned stoplight duel. The latest Golf feels more stable and energetic when you’re driving around turns, too.