2010 Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit

2010 Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit

Golf V, we hardly knew ye. After only five years (two in the U.S.), the fifth-generation hatchback departs, leaving us with this: the 2010 Volkswagen Golf, which we'll continue to see badged as a Rabbit.

Scheduled for an official launch at the 2008 Paris motor show this October, the hatchback, contrary to its styling, isn't an all-new car. The sixth-generation Golf rides on the same mechanical components as the outgoing car, in a move to lower production costs.

Furthering evidence of the evolutionary nature of the Golf V is its exterior styling, which was led by veteran VW/Seat/Audi design director Walter de Silva. Although non-enthusiasts may not discern the new Golf from the old, there's a bit of technical detail - including some influence from the new Scirocco coupe - to add a touch of sportiness.

That 'sportiness,' however, won't be fully tapped until the later arrival of the revered GTI. At launch, the Golf will offer a 160-hp super- and turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 as its top gas-fired motor. Four different diesel motors are planned, although VW is only revealing the first two so far - a pair of 2.0-liter I-4 turbodiesels, rated at 110 and 140 hp.

Regardless of the fuel source, all new Golfs will use Volkswagen's dual-clutch transmissions in lieu of automatics. Both six- and seven-speed DSG gearboxes will be offered, reportedly allowing a mixture of performance and economy.

For now, VW is keeping most details about the new Golf under wraps - including when it could arrive in North America. We hear it could land on these shores as early as next year, so we can only watch while Europeans take delivery beginning in December.

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