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Entry price: $21,845

Price as tested: $27,435

Likes: New transmissions, legendary looks, attractive pricing, safety.  

Dislikes: Touchscreen learning curve, SiriusXM unavailable on S model, cumbersome radio knob controls. 

This week, we drive the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SE, the lovable compact that is still one of VW’s most popular cars. Also notable is Volkswagen’s just released sales numbers for July, with a 6.1% increase overall versus last year and a 5% upswing for the entire Golf family versus last July numbers.

Now in its seventh generation following a 1974 debut as a replacement for the Beetle, Golf is available in Sedan, Hatchback or small wagon trims ala Golf, GTI, Golf R, e-Golf and Sportwagen. Our tester arrived in SE 4-door dress with a base price of $25,245.  

The entry Golf S Sedan is a popular consumer choice thanks to an affordable $21,845 entry price. Most notable is that even with the entry S trim, you receive forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring (front assist) blind spot monitor (different than the upgraded active blind spot) and rear-traffic alert.

This safety enhancement results in a Five Star government safety rating, something very important when a loved one starts their first year at trade school or college arriving in 2019 Golf. And, just as baby boomers cherished all the Beetles and VW Micro Buses/Vans, the young generation loves all the current VW Golf models.   

Under the hood of the SE sits VW’s proven 1.4-liter turbo four, this a new standard engine for 2019. It replaces the 1.8 engine from last year and offers better fuel mileage with 29 city and 37 highway the EPA numbers, better than the 27 and 33 respectively, the 1.8 delivered. Torque is good at 184 lb. ft., and you’ll accelerate briskly to 60 mph in the seven-second range.

Power is transferred via Volkswagen’s new eight-speed DSG automatic transmission. I recommend the automatic over the likewise new six-speed-manual for ease of operation and equally good fuel mileage. Paddle shifters are standard fare and you can control this Tiptronic automatic by selecting either normal or sport modes. Helping MPG numbers is an engine on/off system that activates when the Golf comes to a complete stop. This feature is also “on/off” selectable if it bothers you. Both this year’s six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic replace last year’s dated five-speed manuals and six-speed automatics, both long overdue for “more gearing” upgrades.

The major interior differences between the more expensive SE and the entry S is an 8-inch touchscreen instead of a 6.5-incher, sliding panoramic sunroof and an enhanced blind spot monitor. Otherwise, all of the Golf models offer attractive seating and surprising roominess for a compact car. The rear 60-40 folding seat expands cargo room to over 50 cu. ft., something compact vehicles are not known for.  

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.

 

Auto Bits

Ford, Volkswagen team up on autonomous/electrified

Ford and Volkswagen recently announced a new global partnership to co-develop autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles.

Combined, the industry giants have more market share than any other entity. They also have a combined history of automotive success that is unmatched. 

The alliance is centered around a Pittsburgh-based company called Argo AI, which behind the scenes is developing the artificial intelligence and driving equipment that will enable tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.

The company’s focus is on delivering a Society of Automotive Engineers Level 4-capable self-driving system to be applied for ride sharing and goods delivery services in dense urban areas. (Level 0 means the driver has full control whereas Level 5 means complete automation “without any expectation that a user will respond to a request to intervene.”) 

Both Ford and VW plan to integrate the Argo technology independently on their own vehicles. Ford and VW will remain
equal shareholders in Argo, and the total investment is said to be over $7 billion. 

— John Goreham/BestRide.com

 

Did you know

New research shows in the past 30 days, an estimated 14.8 million Americans report driving within one hour after using marijuana.