Volkswagen Golf
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Overall

Before the all-new Mexico-built 2015 Golf arrives during the first quarter of calendar 2014, the actual 2014 model (all four-doors) will have an abbreviated season; the sporty GTI returns, but the high-output Golf R doesn’t.

Drivetrain

Base 170-horsepower 2.5-liter five-cylinder carries over, but it’s only equipped with an automatic transmission (no manual); 140-horsepower turbo-diesel with a six-speed manual, or optional automated manual remains available.

Golf customers are patiently awaiting the arrival of the seventh-generation model that the European market has had access to for some time. The all-new hatchback that’s due in early 2014 will be built in Mexico instead of Germany and promises to be both roomier and more fuel-efficient. In the meantime, VW is clearing out remaining Golfs, likely at attractive prices and/or lease deals. The 2014 Golf is available in the four-door hatchback body style only, and with a base 170-horsepower 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. The optional 140-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-diesel is rated at 42 mpg on the highway and 30 in the city, which is about 35 percent better than the 2.5. For its final year, the 2.5 can only be had with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the TDI uses a six-speed manual and offers as an option a six-speed paddle-shift automated manual gearbox (DSG) that’s capable of eye-blink-quick shifts (up or down) and operates minus a clutch pedal. The sporty GTI with its 200-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder also returns for this short season (also four-door only) and will also be redesigned for 2015. For now, though, it has a six-speed manual transmission, or optional DSG gearbox. The crazy-quick 256-horsepower Golf R is off the menu now, but will return next year in all its all-wheel-drive splendor with about 300 horsepower. All Golfs arrive with power windows, power locks, air conditioning, cruise control, power heated outside mirrors and an eight-speaker audio package. The GTI adds 17-inch wheels a slightly lowered ride height and sport-suspension tuning.

Base price (incl. destination): $20,800; $25,900 (GTI)
Type: Four-door hatchback
Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I5 (170)
Optional engines (hp): 2.0-liter SOHC I4 turbo-diesel (140); 2.0-liter DOHC I4 turbocharged (200, GTI)
Layout: Front engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic (std on 2.5); six-speed manual (TDI, GTI); six-speed automated manual (DSG, opt. on TDI and GTI)
MPG (city/hwy): 22/30 (2.5, MT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side curtain airbags; rear side-impact airbags (opt.); anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,970