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When it comes to VW and America, it feels like the car enthusiast gets screwed, like the Golf R Estate. However, this time the crossover crowd hurt themselves. The best cheap new car that Americans had is going away, and we have no one to blame but, well, everyone who kept buying sensible crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V or Hyundai Santa Fe. Earlier this year, Volkswagen announced that the next Golf generation, the Mk8, would only come in the more expensive hot options for Americans. That means the plain Volkswagen Golf is banished from our shores. 

A blue 2021 Volkswagen Golf hatchback parked on a desert plain near a mountain range. The best cheap car Americans had is now gone.
2021 Volkswagen Golf | Volkswagen of America, Inc.

The Volkswagen Golf isn’t the coolest car, but it’s the best cheap car we had

Let me be clear; the Volkswagen Golf is awesome. Obviously, the juiced-up Golf GTI and Golf R are far cooler cars. However,  the Golf was a super fun driver, and unlike the other zippy versions, it is pretty cheap. 

According to Gear Patrol, the Golf, much like the Mazda Miata, is a driver’s car that runs sub $25,000. Sure, it only makes 147 hp, but it still comes in with a great manual gearbox, tight handling, and great shape. The Volkswagen Golf is wildly fun to drive. These cars are what the “hot hatch” segment is all about; no crazy power, flashy paint jobs, or mile-wide tires but still able to make anyone prone to give a car the beans a massive smile. 

Why would VW take away the Golf? 

You didn’t buy one. This may sound like an unfair comment to make; however, so few people bought them that making claims like that is fairly safe. Volkswagen pulled the model cause no one bought them. For reference, the VW e-Golf nearly outsold the base Golf in 2019. 

Sales numbers being what they are, Americans have no one to blame for losing our best cheap car but ourselves. SUVs and crossovers have so completely dominated car sales that few automakers can justify making much else—shame on us. 

Is the Volkswagen Golf really a good car? 

2019 Volkswagen Golf R
2019 Volkswagen Golf R

The Volkswagen Golf isn’t as laser-focused as the GTI or Golf R. It isn’t the most luxurious hatchback either. However, it is a blast to drive and costs far less than most, far more boring, crossovers. 

The Volkswagen Golf has 53.7 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s not as big as the Honda CR-V, but it’s on par with popular crossovers like the Jeep Cherokee, Audi Q5, and Porsche Macan. Not to mention that due to its practical size, the little four-cylinder is super fuel-efficient. For an old-school internal combustion engine with no hybrid doodads, the Golf gets an average of 31 mph.  

If there is any hope for fun, cheap cars for Americans, we have to start buying them. The Golf highlights two problems for Americans in one car. We are not only losing small, fun, and cheap driver’s cars, but we are also losing manual transmissions left and right. We beat our chests and fuss, but if people don’t buy them, the OEMs won’t make them. It’s a simple concept. So, if we don’t want to lose more fun little rippers like the Volkswagen Golf, then we better start buying these cars. Let’s chill on the crossovers and start buying manual hatchbacks. 


You Really Should Buy a Volkswagen Golf GTI