Early reports on the next-generation Volkswagen Golf, which is currently in development, indicate some major changes are coming for the compact. Things like including a boost in size, a push upmarket, a lot of hybrids and maybe even a simplified range that ditches the wagon.
All of this should be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but according to Autocar, the next generation of the Golf family is in for a major overhaul. The most surprising part of the report is that the three-door and wagon versions of the Golf may be gone for good in both Europe and America, meaning our beloved Alltrack and SportWagen are likely biting the dust, too.
If you take a look at Volkswagen’s sales report for August of this year though, the aging MK7 Golf family is down 37.7 percent compared to last year, and the SportWagen model itself is down 49.3 percent in sales so far compared to last year. This probably looks bad for anyone trying to justify keeping the wagon body style around for the next generation.
Beyond the sad loss of another lovely manual wagon in America, the MK8 Golf will also get a bunch of hybrid powertrains, reportedly including both 12-volt and 48-volt mild hybrid setups.
Autocar assumes the GTI and R models could get the more powerful 48-volt system while the lower trims get 12-volt systems, and that seems like a safe bet. The new hybrid GTI is expected to get a decent power boost over the current model, which is already a hoot to drive.
What’s weird about the report, though, is that Autocar claims VW is pushing the Golf upmarket, and it will grow in size to grab shoppers downsizing from the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. In the VW family this move is also said to help avoid overlap with Skoda, but here in America that’s not a problem we have.
The report indicates the MQB platform the current golf sits on will be stretched wider and the wheelbase will get longer, and the new car will have more cargo space to show for it. You know what else has more cargo space than the current Golf? The Golf’s wagon variants. (Also, we’ve seen what happened before when VW tried to move upmarket.)
I don’t really understand how many current 3 Series and C-Class owners will be desperate to turn to the VW Golf, so we’ll see how that pans out. It does fit the trend of just about every classic model abandoning its roots and growing in size and premium offering, only to be replaced by a larger, more expensive new model in the space it used to occupy.
The exterior styling is reportedly expected to be evolutionary, but tuned to carefully avoid distracting from the upcoming range of electric I.D. vehicles VW plans to unveil around 2020. The interior is expected to get a very digital upgrade as well, and apparently will be devoid of buttons and full of screens. You’ll love it.
Interestingly, despite the hybrid setups, Autocar hints that a manual option will still be available, at least in Europe, so let’s hope it carries over to America’s GTI model, too. Please don’t take everything away from us.