2010 Volkswagen Golf Preview

FAST FACTS
  • All-new design for 2010
  • 3- and 5-door versions
  • Front- or 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Gas and diesel powerplant options
  • Manual or DSG transmissions offered
  • Set to debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show
  • Sales in the United States in fall 2009

Introduction

Introduced in 1974 as a replacement for the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle, the Volkswagen Golf has been one of the German automaker's greatest hits. With more than 25 million units sold worldwide since its first introduction, the Golf (and its sibling "Rabbit" in the United States) is the world's third best-selling model, according to VW. Over the past five generations, the compact-sized Golf has been configured in 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, station wagon, and convertible variants. Originally conceived as a simple front-wheel-drive (FWD) 4-cylinder economy hatchback in the 1970s, the diversity of late-model versions demonstrates the flexibility of the platform. Today's Golf/Rabbit offerings range from fuel-efficient diesel-powered sedans to high-performance, race-oriented, AWD 6-cylinder hatchbacks.

Design and Model Lineup

The all-new, sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit model is known internally as the "Mk6." Unmistakably an evolution of the current Golf/Rabbit, the new design is larger and more aggressive in stance and appearance (taking cues from the ). The grille, headlights and air intake have changed only slightly, as has the rear of the vehicle. All design cues emphasize the new width, giving the Mk6 the added impression of roominess. With production details still out of reach, consumers in the U.S. should initially expect to see 3- and 5-door variants rolling into showrooms in late 2009.

Hardware

The current Golf/Rabbit is sold in the United States with three different engines, all model-specific. These include the Rabbit's 2.5-liter 5-cylinder powerplant (170 hp), the GTI's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (200 hp), and the R32's 3.2-liter V-6 engine (250 hp). While specifications have not been released, the sixth-generation Golf will most likely be available with the 1.4-liter TSI, 1.8 liter TFSI, and the 2.0-liter TFSI-again depending on which model is chosen. Diesel powerplants will also be in the mix. These may include Volkswagen's 1.9-liter TDI and the 2.0-liter TDI. High-performance engines have not been announced. Transmission choices will be 5- and 6-speed manuals, standard automatics, and Volkswagen's direct-shift DSG automatic. Standard models will continue to be FWD while 4Motion (AWD) will be optional on some models, and standard on the high-performance derivatives.

Safety

The comprehensive safety features on the current-generation Golf/Rabbit are likely to be carried forward on the stronger Mk6 chassis. The crash-optimized passenger compartment will include a deformable steering column, collapsible pedals, and a fuel pump shut-off. Passive safety features include front-seat side air bags,and pre-tensioning seat belts to protect driver and passenger. Volkswagen is expected to make an anti-lock braking system, Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), and tire-pressure monitoring standard across the lineup.