Tuesday, January 25, 2022

One Year On

Volkswagen stopped producing the seventh-generation Golf for North America in Mexico a year ago this month. And base versions of the eighth-generation Golf still aren't coming.
 

Look, I don't care where the Mark 8 Golf is produced ,as long as we can get a base model here. Maybe VW could send the GTI and R here from Germany, as planned, while still sending us base models from some other factory? Like in China, or Malaysia, where they're also being produced? A long shot, but it theoretically could still happen. And we deserve the base Golf 8. That's why this blog continues.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Video: "VW Golf 8 2.0 TDI 150 HP | German Autobahn | 0-100 km/h & 100-200km/h | Test Drive"

Having looked at the impressive power of VW's new two-liter TDI diesel, I present here a YouTube video from the Automobile DY channel that was used in Adrian Padeanu's Motor1.com article on the engine.  It's a ride on the German autobahn in a diesel Golf 8.  The close-up of the speedometer in the lower-right-hand corner is a bit distracting from the point-of-view perspective of the viewer, but if you pay attention to it long enough, you'll note the top speed it reaches - 238 km/h, of 148 mph.  And remember, this is a standard diesel Golf, not a GTD.  If you're lucky enough to make your way to Germany (not likely during this damn pandemic, I know) and rent one of these babies, you'll come home a believer in diesel-powered cars.  But, as an American, you won't make many friends or win many hearts.
 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Diesel Power

Whisper it quietly, but Volkswagen's latest Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine may be enough to make Americans forgive VW for Dieselgate and give oil-burning engines a chance again.

  

I'm kidding, of course, Americans are simply not known for either forgiving or for reconsidering anything they've decided that they don't like.  But if they were, they'd want to check out VW's two-liter TDI four for its increased power and its strong low-end torque.  The TDI comes in two versions - 113 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque or 148 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque.  And that doesn't even account for the GTD (below), which, for the record, offers up 197 horsepower and  295 pound-feet of torque.  Even with the GTD's greater power and extra rotational force, the base Golf 8 diesel cars still offer incredibly solid sporty performance, if these numbers are to be believed (and Americans, which can't put these numbers to the test, are going to have to take them on faith).


Adrian Padeanu, who reported on VW's two base diesel engines for Motor1.com, certainly seems impressed.  "This type of engine is perfect for the Autobahn thanks to its low fuel consumption during highway driving," Padeanu wrote, "but it's also quite poky due to its solid low-end torque."   He also adds that the basic two-liter TDI  proves that "you don't necessarily need a GTI or an R to go fast in terms of top speed on a straight road. Even though the Dieselgate ordeal has prompted VW to accelerate its EV agenda, the good ol' TDI is not going anywhere."  Padeanu also cites the TCI's environmental friendliness, saying that it runs more cleanly than previous TDIs - and it's cleaner than ever and can run on diesel fuels created from biological residuals and waste materials, not from oil, which can reduce up to carbon emissions by as much as 95 percent.

All good stuff, but except for terminal Europhiles, Americans wont be impressed.  The best such diesel technology can hope for regarding application in These States is for heavy trucks and construction equipment.  As for driving a diesel car for the fun of it, Americans would equate that with the idea of Trenton as a leisure destination.  

And of course, in this country and in Canada, you do need a GTI or an R to go fast on a straight road or go at any speed on a curved one, because those are all we get . . . unless we have anything to say about it.  We should at least get the base gas-powered Golf here, and that's why this blog continues.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Video: "Brand New Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI Life DSG (s/s) 5dr"

Another video from our mates at Crewe Volkswagen, this one showcasing a new Mark 8 Golf with a Direct Shift Gearbox and the two-liter Turbo Direct Injection diesel engine, making it forbidden fruit twice over in North America because it's a base Golf powered by a diesel engine.  Still nice to look at, and hopefully we can get the Golf Life with the TSI.  Hybrid?  Dude, that shtick just isn't popular in the New World anymore.
 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Golf Software Problems

The German auto magazine Auto Motor und Sport recently reported software problems with the eighth-generation Golf, and the list of issues should put any American or Canadian considering a Mark 8 Golf GTI or R pause - and, it should encourage anyone in the U.S. or Canada still hoping that the base Golf 8 gets here eventually that such problems will be resolved by the time that happens (which hopefully won't be the twelfth of never).


The eighth-generation Golf has had so many problems of late that Golf 8 owners now have to bring their cars to their dealerships rather than get software updates sent to their cars via wireless transmission from the factory, as had been the case before.  Among the issues Auto Motor und Sport and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel have learned from Golf owners are:

  • failure of computer systems to recognize car keys 
  • dysfunctional assistance systems
  • detections of nonexistent signs by the traffic sign recognition system
  • complete failure of the entertainment system
What's this I hear about VW having technology that invigorates?  More like technology that irritates!. 

This is a big deal for VW, as it sold 220,000 Mark 8 Golfs in the first two years of production in Germany alone, so quality control problems with the Golf's software in other European nations must be similarly dismal.  VW says that cars brought in to dealers will get "a major software update" to improve aviation, voice control , and other applications, which is enough of an inconvenience or Golf owners without the Omicron variant - I ain't talking about a station wagon from Opel! - taking over Germany and the rest of Europe (no, the world!) at an alarming clip.  And problems with the Golf 8 like this one have been bedeviling Volkswagen for as long as COVID had been bedeviling all of us.

Ultimately, I hope VW goes back to analog gauges, like Honda had to do after going space-age with the controls in its own vehicles.  Not all antiquated technology is useful these days but it's terribly good to keep some of it in place.  And in the event that the SUV fever breaks and the anti-SUV revolution Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh says is coming in America occurs sooner rather than later, the Mark 8 Golf might just arrive here in base form with all of the kinks rubbed out.  Hopefully that won't be before the eighth-generation Golf itself is rubbed out in favor of the ninth generation.  

I've been disappointed by VW quality problems in the water-cooled age before, but I still have faith in Volkswagen to work it all out.  That's why I still want to see the base Golf 8 sold here.  And that's why this blog continues. 

Friday, January 7, 2022

Video: "VOLKSWAGEN GOLF EVOLUTION (1974 - 2021)"

My first video of the new year of 2022 is a look at the Golf from the first to the eighth generations. There are performance Golfs as well as base models, and the stunning variety that VW's versatile and venerable hatchback provides is enough of an argument, I believe, to include base as well as sport Golf models in the North American lineup.
 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

VW Golf - The Hard Reality

I enter this new year with my usual phobias of late - bitter cold, a possible ice storm, COVID all over the place, and all that rot.  And I also enter 2022 knowing that my continued efforts to get the base eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf made part of VW's U.S./Canadian lineup aren't going to get easier.  In fact, it's going to get harder.  

Take a look at Car Industry Analysis's observation from its Instagram page (click on the picture to enlarge it) of which automotive body types are the most popular in different parts of the world, not counting SUVs.  Take a look at North America. 


Mothertruckers!

In much of the rest of the world , sensible, small cars and vans remain deeply popular.  Pickups only show up in big numbers in one other region, Southeast Asia.  And they share that popularity with multipurpose vehicles - i.e., minivans.  (Australia and Oceania are inexplicably excluded from this chart.) Do you know what this means?

It means that, in terms of getting the base Golf 8 to North America, we have our work cut out for us.

Just remember, even when cars like the Chevrolet Cavalier and the Ford Escort were top sellers in the U.S. and Canada back in the1980s, Ford's F-150 pickup was still the best selling vehicle in North America overall.

We really do have our work cut out for us. 😩

Friday, December 31, 2021

Video: Mk8 GTI Review

The last video I am presenting on this blog in 2021 is from Jason Cammisa of the Hagerty YouTube channel, who makes it clear that, even though he likes the performance of the Mark 8 GTI, he does not like the cost-cutting in the interior and he does not like the infotainment system and electronic controls.  I don't like the computerized crap either, so maybe VW will replace them with knobs.  Maybe it will send the less expensive base Golf 8 here for 2023 as well, as inflation does a number (so to speak) on car prices and gas prices!  But then, that's why this blog continues!  I'll see you in 2022.
   

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

South of the Border

So we all know that Volkswagen's Mexican plant in Puebla stopped making the Golf for the U.S. and Canada when the seventh-generation model was discontinued, but what does this mean for the Mark 8 Golf in Mexican dealerships?  Is Mexico assembling completely knocked down (CKD) versions of the Golf 8 for its customers, or is it importing them from Germany?

Actually, Volkswagen isn't selling the Golf in Mexico at all.  See, if VW isn't even making Golfs in Mexico, why would it sell the car there? 

Oh yeah, Mexico isn't getting the GTI or R either.


Mexicans do get a a choice of notchbacks - the Virtus (above), a small sedan with a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter MSI inline four and a ten-inch infotainment touch screen, and the car is all new for 2022.  There's also the smaller and less expensive Vento, a Polo-based sedan, as well as the Polo itself.  Mexican VW customers also get the Jetta, and (ahem) the Taos SUV.  But not the Golf. Not anymore.

I don't necessarily feel sorry for the Mexicans, because they at least get the Polo.  But dammit, the Golf should still be in their lineup.  Mexico is a big part of the VW's global operations, and the Golf is a world car.  Or rather, it was a world car.  

You can bet that, with the Golf completely out of the market in Mexico, I am as of now redefining this blog to advocating for the Golf in all of North America, including Mexico.  I guess I'm going to have to come up with a new hashtag.

I won't add information to contact Volkswagen de Mexico on this blog  though, because this blog is not in Spanish.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Video: "2022 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R | MotorWeek First Drive"

On this Christmas Eve, I give as a present MotorWeek's capsule review of the Golf GTI and R, the first ones of the eighth generation for the U.S. and Canada. And we're still lacking the base model, though the reviews of the driving capabilities of these two Golfs made me want to forget about the base Golf . . . until I remembered that the base Golf is just as solid a performer and is also all I could afford! Hee haw and merry Christmas - and a base Golf in the U.S./Canadian lineup is the best Christmas gift VW could give us right now!
 

Monday, December 20, 2021

It's a . . . Gol?

Add Brazil to the list of countries that aren't getting the base Golf 8.  


The Brazilians do have one interesting model, though - the Gol, which is smaller than the Golf.  It's an exclusively Brazilian Volkswagen hatchback, having been manufactured in Brazil since 1980 and now in its third generation.  You may already seen a variant of the Gol and not known it; a notchback version was sold in the U.S. and Canada as the Fox in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  It didn't enjoy much success, though, thanks mainly to the lack of an automatic transmission option and the difficulty in operating its stick shift. 

As for the current Gol - the notchback variant is called the Voyage - it has a choice of two engines, a one-liter multipoint-injection inline three-cylinder engine or a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, along with hydraulic steering, electronic brake distribution, a rear-view mirror that tilts to enable to driver to see better when the car is in reverse, and an available six-speed automatic transmission.  (A five-speed stick is standard.)  

All niece stuff, and the Gol has served Brazil well, but it won't be around much longer.  VW has the all-new Polo out in Brazil, now, and a more affordable Polo Track version is coming, along with more electric import models.  Also, Brazilians have the Jetta.  VW is concentrating on the MEB and MQB platforms, and as a locally produced model, the Gol is built on neither of them - rather, it's constructed on an antiquated platform dating back to 2008 or so. 

Still, there are apparently no plans to proceed with the base Golf in Brazil, and that's a shame, as anyone in the U.S. and Canada - and South Africa - already knows.  And Brazil apparently isn't getting the GTI or the R either, so things could be worse for us in North America.  It seems, though, that the base Golf isn't so much of a world car anymore. 😮 😢 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Video: "Golf 8 Life"

A short video from a Volkswagen dealership in Poland, showcasing the Volkswagen Golf 8 in no-nonsense "Life" trim, which is here for your amusement while Volkswagen of America and Volkswagen Canada contribute to push the far more expensive GTI and R models at the expensive of the base car.  I am not amused by that!

Monday, December 13, 2021

$43,645

That's how much a 2022 Golf R is going to cost in the U.S.

Oh, I could tolerate a Golf that expensive if I knew I could get a base model for much less money.  But the only other Golf available in America (and Canada) is the Golf GTI, with a starting price of thirty thousand American dollars.  And seriously - forty-three grand for an R?  Is the all-wheel-drive system or the high-output turbo four worth that much money for a car that's meant more for road rallying than for commuting?

And that's the point. The Golf has always been a solid commuter car that's also fun to drive. The high-performance versions of the car, from the GTI to the Rallye Golf and the R32 to the current R, were for those who wanted more than just a practical, sporty hatchback. Now VW insists on serving dessert at the expense of the basic meal, which itself is pretty tasty.  These days, while the R is actually a bit cheaper than the original 1990 Rallye Golf was when sold new in Germany, when adjusted for inflation - and bear in mind that the Rallye Golf was and the Golf R is a limited-run model - the Rabbit GTI in 1983 cost today's equivalent of $22,200, which is far less than the thirty grand VW is asking for then Mark 8 GTI today.     

I can't have a base Golf 8, but I can have either a very expensive GTI or a super-expensive R?  That's no choice, either way, I can't afford one.

That's why this blog continues.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Video: "7 MYTHS ABOUT MK8 GOLF INFOTAINMENT!"

The host of the "volkswizard" channel on YouTube tackles what he calls seven myths regarding the Mark 8 Golf's infotainment system.  The seven basic myths he's identified are that the Golf 8's infotainment system lags when you first start the car, it lags generally when you're driving, the sliders are hard to operate, it's hard to to steady your hand when you operate it, the electronic stability control is hard to turn on or off, the steering-wheel buttons don't work properly, and it's easy to activate the heat for the steering wheel (?) by mistake.  He tries to disprove these beliefs one by one, explaining that the infotainment system is easy to operate once you get the hang of it and he adds that the features are no better or worse than in comparable cars.

I would suggest that it's going to be a case-by-case basis regarding the use of this infotainment system.  Some people will adapt to it better than others.  But I'm still wary of all of those sliders and touchscreens. 

Watch the video and judge for yourself. The car shown is a Mark 8 GTI.
  

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The 2022 Motor Trend Car Of the Year

It's not the Golf GTI or the Golf R.


The prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 2022 went to the new Air sedan from the electric-vehicle start up company Lucid, and the results of the tests Motor Trend's staff put it through were, according to them, outstanding. They cited performance, efficiency, its sleek design, and its comfortable and quiet ride.  You can read all about it here.

The Golf GTI and the Golf R were not even finalists.  Motor Trend testers loved the cars' overall performance and loved the familiar mechanicals that were mostly carried over from the seventh-generation Golf performance versions. But they had, shall we say, a problem with the controls.


"They're sprinkled everywhere, including below the touchscreen, on the center stack, and on the steering wheel spokes, and our drivers activated various functions accidentally multiple times per stint," they wrote. "The steering wheel controls were triggered by a couple of us during hard lapping, for example, and the HVAC and volume controls were actuated, well, basically any time anyone used the touchscreen. The latter are placed precisely where you want to rest your thumb or the heel of your hand while working the display, which you must do to select drive modes or do practically anything else."

To be fair, Motor Trend's testers did have a few issues with Lucid's infotainment system, but they also said they could get used to it  Judging by what they said about the Mark 8 Golf GTI and R controls, they can only get used to never getting used to them.

I'm not too crazy about VW's Golf infotainment system myself.  But, in the interest of hearing both sides, I plan to present in this space a few days hence a video from a bloke in England who offers a second opinion on , at least the infotainment controls.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Video: New Volkswagen Golf 8 2021

Another video from SDA Dan Cars, this one not as long as the previous one I showed here but actually more comprehensive.  Recorded at a VW dealership in Bern, Switzerland, this video looks at every nook and cranny of the car, and the particularly comprehensive look at the digital instrument display - programmed to present in English - is so entertaining, it made me want this car.  Oh, wait  - I already do!  But unless I want a more expensive GTI or R, I can't have one.  That's why this blog continues.

Specifications for the Golf 8 are also included in this video, albeit in metric.  You can convert them through Google, of course.
   

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ten From Six

Here's my sixth-generation 2012 Volkswagen Golf again. 😊


Although my car was manufactured in October 2011, it was in November 2011- on November 30, 2011, exactly ten years ago today - that I bought the car and brought it home.  It already had 166 miles on it, so it was already broken in.  As fate would have it, my odometer now shows 53,366 miles, so I have put exactly 53,200 miles on it, or 5,320 miles a year.  Pretty low mileage for a car its age.

I hope to keep the mileage low going forward (and the pandemic will certainly help with that!), as there is still no indication that Volkswagen of America will reverse course and bring the base eighth-generation Golf to this country, in spite of rising gas prices.  (When gas prices go up, Americans respond by voting incumbent politicians out of office.  In the seventies, when gas prices went up, Americans responded by buying small cars.  Then Americans voted incumbent politicians out of office!)

So I'll hold on to my car, I'll keep driving it, and I'll keep fighting for the base Golf 8 to be offered for sale in the United States. And in Canada, too.      

Monday, November 29, 2021

Base Golf 8 MIA in the RSA

I recently checked Volkswagen's product line in South Africa, a country that has long been integral to VW's global standing and one of its most important markets.  When you click on the "New Golf" icon on its "Models and Prices" page, you only get information about the GTI.  Not even the R.  (I reported back in July that the Golf R would be available in South Africa: I was wrong.)   So I can assume that the GTI (below) will remain the only Golf available in South Africa for the time being.


Maybe for a long time being.  Apart from the Polo - at least South Africans get that - the rest of VW's South African lineup is comprised of SUVs, vans, and the Amarok pickup truck.  Volkswagen South Africa seems to be going the way of Ford in the U.S.  The trend globally is for more of these wasteful "light truck" vehicles. 

This is a shame, and I hope the situation gets remedied down there. and while I'm with South African Golf fans in spirit over their inability to buy a base model, my primary concern remains North America - because I live there.

Besides, I think the South African market has a better chance of seeing the base Golf than we have of seeing it in the U.S. and Canada.  (Oh yeah, South Africa doesn't have the ID.3, either.)

Friday, November 26, 2021

Video: "New Golf 8 2020 Review Interior Exterior"

This is a very long video - over half an hour in length - from the sister YouTube channel of the Web site SDA Dan Cars, looking at the base Golf 8 in a VW dealership in Switzerland.  It was recorded in early 2020, just as the pandemic was hitting, which explains the lack of customers in the dealership.  The presenter - Dan himself, I assume - goes on and on and on about how wonderful the car is - but I don't mind, especially when he shows us all of the electronic gadgets in the dashboard and how they work, along with the numerous storage spaces in the interior.  Go and watch for yourself, and feel free to read the very long description of the video on the original YouTube page if you choose to go that route.
 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

Canada had its Thanksgiving last month, and in America it's our turn, as we get a big four-day weekend (well, some of us do) coming in a few days.  And though we all have the all-new Golf GTI and R to be thankful for in both countries, as well as the Jetta, we still can't get the base Golf 8 over here.


But we keep trying.  And let's be thankful for the fact that we still have the ability to make our voices heard.  So speak out for the base Golf 8 to be offered for sale in the New World.  You know what to do.