If you love the idea of a smaller car with a big cargo area and a great reputation, the Volkswagen Golf may be the ideal vehicle for you. The Golf's upscale interior, ample safety features, fun-to-drive character, and fuel efficiency have earned it a popular reputation during its decades of service. For 2017, the Gulf sees a bit of a price drop due in large part to a consolidation of the lineup.
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2017 Volkswagen Golf Overview
What's New for 2017
The big news for 2017 is the elimination of the two-door option and the consolidation of the lineup to just two choices, the base S trim and the more upscale Wolfsburg Edition. Gone are the SE, top of the line SEL, and Driver Assistance Packages.
The Golf comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, regardless of trim. VW paired the engine with a five-speed manual transmission as standard, but a six-speed automatic is available for an extra $1,100. The EPA ratings come in at 29 combined, which makes the Golf an economical choice.
Beyond basic safety features like antilock brakes, stability control, and traction control, Volkswagen added hill hold assist and a rearview camera as standard. The Wolfsburg Edition trim takes safety to the next level, adding forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and cross-traffic alert.
The base Golf S starts at $19,895 and the Wolfsburg Edition bumps the starting price up to $21,595.
Choosing Your Volkswagen Golf
Choosing your Golf has never been easier since VW retired the two-door version and reduced the lineup to two trim levels for the remaining the four-door model. Your only decision this year is choosing between the base S and the Wolfsburg edition.
If you're looking for the cheapest Golf possible, the S will certainly fit the bill and offers some great features at a reasonable price. However, the Wolfsburg's upgraded interior and more advanced safety features are worth the $1,700 price premium.
2017 Volkswagen Golf Review
The Volkswagen Golf is a subcompact four-door hatchback, available in two trims. Premium interior materials give this model a “class above” feel, while the turbocharged engine delivers healthy performance on demand.
Pricing and Equipment
The front-wheel drive 2017 Volkswagen Golf starts at $20,720 (including $825 for destination) for the S grade. Also available is a Wolfsburg grade costing $22,420. Owners can replace the standard five-speed manual for a six-speed automatic for $1,100. The S model is where most shoppers will begin their search, finding the following amenities:
- A touchscreen infotainment
- 8-speaker sound system with satellite radio, CD player, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatability
- Glove compartment with adjustable cooling
- Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (automatic only)
- Heated, power-operated side mirrors
- Rearview camera
- Automatic post-collision braking system
No packages are available with either of the two trims, except for a $1,550 sunroof option for the Wolfsburg grade. There are, however, the usual array of dealer-installed accessories.
A 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque is the lone engine available. You have a choice between five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. This model makes 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
The Golf serves as the foundation for an entire family of products. Volkswagen offers two high-performance versions of its five-door hatchback – the beloved GTI and all-wheel-drive Golf R – a versatile Sportwagen, a high-riding Alltrack wagon, and the all-electric e-Golf. All are listed separately.
- The turbocharged four-cylinder allows even the cheapest Golf to hold its own in a straight. Abundant low-end torque means a nippy character at low speeds.
- The sprint to 60 miles per hour time will come in below eight seconds, which is faster than most other base engines in this class.
- The Golf’s five-speed manual is antiquated in the land of six-speed manuals, but its clutch is light and precise and the gates are easy to access, rewarding the driver with every shift.
- Comfortable and supportive front seats mark every model. Choose the standard cloth trim.
- The Golf's cabin offers a premium look and feel at a mainstream price, making it a standout in this affordable class.
- Cargo space is generous, measuring 22.8 cubic feet behind the rear seat. Fold down the second-row seat and you have access to 52.7 cubic feet. And if you really need more, the Golf Sportwagen (listed separately) isn't a huge leap in price.
- You can’t find leather upholstery, period. The available imitation leather isn’t convincing.
- The base Golf S model seems spartan compared to what most competitors are offering. The Wolfsburg justifies its premium with keyless entry, larger wheels, and driver assist features.
- A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard and seems small. That said, the graphics are especially sharp and the large virtual buttons are useful.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Who needs navigation with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink to pull up directions from your connected smartphone?
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Volkswagen quietly discontinued the two-door Golf hatchback in 2017, citing declining customer demand. Three-door hatch fans are still in mourning.
The Bottom Line
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf offers fewer trim choices than the competition now that the Wolfsburg edition replaced the previously available SE and SEL grades. What’s left is a hatchback that’s no slacker, delivering a tidy package with few upgrades available.
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