Volkswagen's sporty compact hatch, the Golf, sees some small but significant changes for 2019. The car offers some of the crispest handling in the class in a package that offers up impressive interior space and a unique interior aesthetic that can only be described as "Volkswagen." It doesn't have quite the power or performance of the big brother GTI but against rivals like the Hyundai Elantra GT and Honda Civic Hatchback, the Golf is better to drive and feels more upscale than the competition. That upscale feeling extends beyond the cut from a solid billet feel of the body and chassis, but to the equally solid but comfortable interior.
For 2019, the Golf gets a new engine. Gone is the 1.8L turbo in favour of the 1.4L turbo four that debuted earlier this year in the Jetta. At 147 hp it offers a bit less horsepower, but a healthy dollop of torque. It should also deliver improved fuel economy over the bigger and older engine it replaces, though VW hadn't yet revealed the actual figures.
If you're looking to plug in your MP3 player to the Golf, you might be out of luck. The aux-input that lets you use a headphone cable to listen to your tunes is gone this year. So is the 12v charging outlet in the center console. The Golf's trim levels see some renaming as well, putting them more in line with the Jetta.
Also new this year, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring are all available as options on Comfortline and Highline. That package of active safety features is optional on Execline, but adds automatic high beams and parking assist to the bundle.
The base trim for 2019 is the Comfortline. That gets 15-inch alloys plus AC, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, and heated front seats. Highline gets dual-zone climate control this year, as well as 16-inch alloys, proximity key entry, a leather steering wheel and leatherette upholstery. Finally, the top trim is now the Execline. New to the top Golf trim this year are adaptive LED headlights that steer into bends. That model gets 17-inch alloys, power driver seat, leather seating and navigation.