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Volkswagen Golf
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Volkswagen
Overview: VW’s hatchback lineup gains three more options, including the new electric-only e-Golf, a five-door station wagon and the return of the bonkers R model.

Drivetrain: It’s an all-turbo four-cylinder lineup consisting of 1.8- and 2.0-liter gas engines, including the new 292-horse version in the R; a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel; silent and torque-rich electric motor in e-Golf; five-speed stick or six-speed automatic connect to the 1.8; a six-speed manual or six-speed automated manual work with both 2.0 engines.

VW’s legendary hatchback has received plenty of love in the year since the seventh generation debuted. As predicted, there have been three major additions for 2016: a new Golf wagon; an electric e-Golf and the return of the hot R performance model. The wagon offers a bunch of additional cargo space over the already roomy hatchback, although beyond the extended length, there’s nothing else to differentiate them. All Golfs now come with an updated MIB II infotainment system that uses a five-inch touch-screen in base models and a 6.5-inch version in the rest. It responds to swiping and pinch zooming, just like a smart phone does, and it has USB connection. The base Golf uses a turbocharged 170-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder. Optional is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel that makes 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, however because the outcome of VW’s diesel emission scandal were not known as of this writing, chances are that the figures for power/fuel efficiency will change. As an alternative, you could choose the new electric e-Golf. Although horsepower is a modest 115, there is 199 pound-feet of torque on tap at any speed. The lithium-ion battery is good for a “real-world” range of 83 miles. If hooked into a 220-volt outlet, the battery will charge in less than four hours; if you use a DC fast charge station, it will gain 80-percent charge in 30 minutes. Selecting the sporty GTI gets you an improved version of Volkswagen’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Or select the reintroduced R to boost those figures to 295/280. The R also boasts all-wheel-drive and your choice of 18- or 19-inch wheels. The base two- or four-door Golf S comes with alloy wheels and faux leather seating. The SE and SEL pile on the content, including 17-inch wheels (16-inchers come on lesser trims), panoramic sunroof, Fender-brand premium sound package, push-button start plus backup and forward collision warning systems. The GTI looks sharp with its unique 18-inch wheels, sport front seats, fog lamps, adaptive headlights (pivot in the same direction as the car when turning) and ambient interior lighting.

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