We have heard lately that Cadillac, Infiniti and even Lincoln are considering a luxury small car, but Volkswagen would argue it has been building one for almost 35 years. If the new, sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf (Rabbit) drives as well as it reads on paper, those luxury marques have their work cut out for them.
For all of Volkswagen’s vaguely communist sounding rhetoric – its press release repeatedly mentions its desire to “tear down class distinctions” – the new Golf will clearly try to move upmarket. The excellent six-speed DSG transmission previously found only on the GTI will now be available in six- and seven-speed form on all but the most basic Golfs (regular automatics are off the spec sheet). Other features commonly found on luxury cars but rare to the compact segment include an active suspension system, park assist, active cruise control, and a rear-view camera. It isn’t yet clear how many of these features will be available for U.S. buyers.
Visually, the Golf belies the evolutionary nature of the redesign. All key body elements have changed, but the overall appearance is remarkably similar to the current Golf. Volkswagen said the car takes cues from both the Scirocco and earlier generations of the Golf, and added that the styling points to the future of its entire lineup. Inside, the Golf retains its full accoutrement of standard airbags and gets more sound insulation
The Golf will launch Europe next month, followed by Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America, where it is marketed as the Rabbit.