Volkswagen has announced it is phasing out Golf in the United States.

Just the one model will be available until the end of the year, but after that?

Well, after that, it has revealed the lineup will be pared down to just the sporty GTI and R versions.

Maybe the company is laying the foundations for its electric replacement. Makes sense . . .

“Over four decades, the Golf has delivered a great value to American drivers,” Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Hein Schafer, said.

“It exemplified what Volkswagen does best—melding dynamic driving characteristics with purposeful packaging and unmatched quality.

“While the seventh-generation Golf will be the last of the base hatches sold here, the GTI and Golf R will carry its legacy forward.”

In the US, almost 2.5 million Golfs of some description have been sold since 1974.

A Golf has earned a spot on Car and Driver’s 10 Best list for the last 15 years in a row, and the current-generation Mk VII Golf was named North American Car of the Year when it debuted for the 2015 model year.

The 2021 Golf is available in one well-equipped TSI model with a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine.

Seven Generations of US Golf Models

Golf I: MY 1975-1984

  • First sold in December 1974 as “Rabbit” in the US
  • 1.5-litre engine with 52kW
  • GTI introduced in 1983 with 1.8-litre 67kW engine

Golf II: MY 1985-1992

  • Sold as “Golf” in the US
  • Dimensions grow by nearly 18cm in length, 8cm in wheelbase, and 5cm in width
  • Standard engine is revised 1.8-litre with 63kW, GTI introduces 2.0-litre engine with 98kW
  • Catalytic converter, anti-lock braking system and power steering debut

Golf III: MY 1993-1999

  • Design shifts to wedge shape
  • Base powertrain is 2.0-litre with 86kW, GTI goes to available 2.8-litre VR6 with 128kW
  • Front and side airbags debut, advances in body construction result in improved crash safety
  • VR6 engine and cruise control offered for the first time

Golf IV: MY 1999.5-2005 

  • All-new design with flatter windshield, and roofline carried further back with steeper rear window
  • Electronic stability control and side curtain airbags debut
  • 1.8T engine introduced for GTI, bringing turbocharging to this generation of GTI
  • R32 introduced for 2004 with 179kW, six-speed manual, and 4MOTION all-wheel drive

Golf V: MY 2006-2009

  • New multi-link rear suspension; rain-sensing wipers introduced
  • Sold as “Rabbit” again in the US
  • DSG dual-clutch automatic transmissions debuts as an option for GTI and the standard transmission for R32; Bi-Xenon headlights introduced on both models
  • Base engine is 112kW 2.5-litre, GTI moves to 149kW 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine
  • R32 reintroduced for 2008 with 186kW

Golf VI: MY 2010-2014

  • “Golf” name returns for the US
  • Prominent character line runs from headlights to tail lights
  • Base powertrain is 2.5-litre with 127kW
  • Golf R introduced for 2012, with the VR6 engine replaced by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine pushing 191kW

Golf VII: MY 2015-2021

  • Based on Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture
  • Golf grows in size yet drops in weight, despite a plethora of new and upscale features
  • Facelift in MY 2018 features included revised headlight and tail light designs, redesigned bumpers, and infotainment and driver assistance updates
  • Base 1.8-litre TSI 127kW engine replaces 2.5-litre to gain an EPA-estimated 6 mpg highway, later replaced by the 1.4-litre TSI engine in 2019
  • GTI and Golf R powered by new versions of the 2.0-litre TSI engine, with up to 228 kW for GTI and up to 215kW for Golf R (both achieved with premium fuel). Available driver-assistance technology includes Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Park Distance Control

 

 

CHECKOUT: When the Golf went off (road)

CHECKOUT: No radio, but best known Golf on the planet

Headshot Riley 96x96 - Golf goes bye-bye in the US of A

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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