Volkswagen Golf

The 2022 redesigned Volkswagen Golf is available in a single top performance R with a 315-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and all-wheel drive. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. Volkswagen builds on the long-running tradition of elevating a mild hatchback into a fun-to-drive, yet sophisticated, practical alternative to sports coupes.
Volkswagen Golf Road Test
First Drive

2022 Volkswagen Golf R and GTI Gain Power, Tech, and Sophistication

Evolutionary progress brings more premium touches to the storied hot hatch

Overview

The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf has been introduced as a high-performance, premium Golf R, alongside the sporty GTI. The regular non-sporty Golf will no longer be sold in the United States, reflecting the market shift to SUVs.

The march of progress can be seen in the sleeker profile that edges away from the boxy shape that helped define earlier Golf-based models. Power has increased, and the interior design is more modern, complete with the latest infotainment system from VW.

The models will be built in Germany, whereas the previous versions were assembled in Mexico. It will be available only as a four-door since the two-door version became less popular.

What hasn’t changed is its position as the performance-oriented version of the Golf, a car distinguished among small cars by its sophistication. The outgoing GTI was fun to drive, civilized, and well finished with upscale materials.

The original GTI pioneered the hot hatch segment, being the feisty interpretation of the Rabbit at the time. More recent generations continued the theme, with the cars growing in sophistication and refinement, keeping pace with the demands of the GTI’s customer base.

Here is what we know so far.

Impressions The new Golf R is distinguished by more aggressive front and rear bumper covers, blue accents, unique wheels, four exhaust tips, and large rear spoiler. Both largely retains the previous dimensions, but it is lower and a hint longer than before.
Road Test Scores by Trim
4-door hatchback R 4-cyl 6-speed Manual
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