The Generation Game: Volkswagen Golf

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  • 26 comments
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Volkswagen Golf

  • 1974-1983 Mk1

  • 1984-1992 Mk2

  • 1993-1997 Mk3

  • 1998-2003 Mk4

  • 2004-2008 Mk5

  • 2009-2012 Mk6

  • 2013-2018 Mk7

  • 2019-present Mk8


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The Generation Game: Volkswagen Golf

Not just the GTi, all-in.

1974-1983 Volkswagen Golf Mk1

volkswagen-golf-mk1.jpg


Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback, 2-door pickup, 2-door convertible
Engines: 1.1L - 1.8L I4
Drivetrain: FWD
Length: 3.7m / 146in
Weight: ~850kg / 1,873lbs

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1984-1992 Volkswagen Golf Mk2

VW_Golf_II_front_20080206.jpg


Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback
Engines: 1.5L - 2.0L I4, 1.6L turbocharged diesel I4
Drivetrain: FWD
Length: ~4.02m / 158in
Weight: ~950kg / 2,094lbs

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1993-1997 Volkswagen Golf Mk3

1920px-1996-1998_Volkswagen_Golf_%281H%29_CL_5-door_hatchback_03.jpg


Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback, 5-door estate, 2-door convertible
Engines: 1.4L-2.0L I4, 2.8L-2.9L VR6
Drivetrain: FWD, 4WD
Length: ~4.07m / 160in
Weight: ~1,009kg / 2,224lbs

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1998-2003 Volkswagen Golf Mk4

1280px-Kunmadaras_Motorsport_2021._szeptember_19._JM_%28212%29.jpg


Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback, 5-door estate
Engines: 1.4L-2.0L I4, 1.8L turbocharged I4, 2.3L VR5, 2.8L-3.2L VR6
Drivetrain: FWD, 4WD
Length: ~4.14m / 163in
Weight: ~1,049kg / 2,313lbs

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2004-2008 Volkswagen Golf Mk5

1920px-VW_Golf_GT_%28V%29_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_15._Juni_2014%2C_Hilden.jpg


Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback, 5-door estate
Engines: 1.4L-2.0L I4, 2.0L turbocharged I4, 2.5L I5, 3.2L VR6
Drivetrain: FWD, 4WD, MR
Length: ~4.22m / 166in
Weight: ~1,300kg / 2,866lbs

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2009-2012 Volkswagen Golf Mk6

1920px-VW_Golf_1.6_TDI_Style_%28VI%29_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_25._Februar_2012%2C_Ratingen.jpg

Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback, 5-door estate
Engines: 1.2L-2.0L I4, 2.5L I5
Drivetrain: FWD, 4WD
Length: ~4.19m / 165in
Weight: ~1,350kg / 2,976lbs

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2013-2018 Volkswagen Golf Mk7

VW_Golf_2.0_TDI_BlueMotion_Technology_Highline_%28VII%29_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_28._Juli_2013%2C_M%C3%BCnster.jpg


Bodystyles: 3/5-door hatchback, 5-door estate
Engines: 1.0L I3, 1.2L-2.0L I4, 1.4L I4 PIH
Drivetrain: FWD, 4WD
Length: ~4.3m / 169in
Weight: ~1,350kg / 2,976lbs

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2019-present Volkswagen Golf Mk8

2020_Volkswagen_Golf_Style_1.5_Front.jpg


Bodystyles: 5-door hatchback, 5-door estate
Engines: 1.0L turbocharged I3, 1.4L-2.0L I4, 1.4L I4 PIH, 1.0L-1.5L I4 hybrid
Drivetrain: FWD, 4WD
Length: ~4.4m / 173in
Weight: ~1,320kg / 2,910lbs

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As a reminder, the information here is provided to be a brief overview and doesn't claim to be representative of every facet of every model. Know something? Tell us about it.
 
In opposite to what i said about the MX-5, i'd have to say that the most recent Golf is probably the best in this case.

If we're not talking about a particular model - by which i mean the GTi which the only variant which has one in each gen, but which has had some hits and misses throughout those various generations, then the most recent Golf, as an overall generation, is probably going to be the better car all round.
 
Not super thrilled about any but I guess the 2 barely edges out the 1. Rabbit pickup is head and shoulders above the 2, but I don't imagine it's counted with the 1 and is considered a different model for the purpose of the polling.
 
There is something inescapable about the Mk4. I can't put my finger on it, I just absolutely love the way it looks.

For the same reason, I hate the look of the Mk2. Can't say why, unfortunately.

Fond memories of the Mk3 Golf in Colin McRae Rally.
 
Both the MK4 and MK5 GTI were my dream cars when I was a teenager. It's weird because there's nothing overly interesting about a GTI and they weren't exactly rare, but I wanted one so bad. I also had a strong desire to get a TDI one and boost the living hell out of it because I thought it would be cool.

I remember driving the MK5 and MK7 when I was looking at cars several years ago and while they were great, they just didn't have the same pull the 4 and 5 did back in my younger days. The MK8 just seems like "a car" now and while I'm sure it's great, I have zero interest in it.

The MK1 and 2 are cool in their own right, but I admittedly don't know much about them. I like the 2 better than the 1, but even then I'm not sure they really call to me. The MK3 seems like it was at the weird time when cars were forced to become "modern" and it just doesn't seem to gel today.

If I had to put a rank on them, it would probably be:

1. MK5
2. MK4
3. MK2
4. MK1
5. MK8
7. MK7
8. MK6
9. MK3
 
I've always had a big soft spot for the Mk5 GTI. I did own a Mk7 GTI before my current car, and it was the perfect quick daily, do everything car. There's something though about the Mk5 that I love more.
 
I think it has to be the Mk1. There is something inherently right about the Mk1's styling. It did have huge boots to fill and it did so by throwing out everything that made the beetle unique. But it was a enormous success in its own right.

It did copy the Simca 1100 in its engineering, in many ways. But the Golf's success was what made all the other European manufacturers follow suit.
 
I drove a Mk1 Rabbit and owned two A2 Jettas. Voted A2/MK2. Gained more weight but felt safer. The 1.8 16V just made it awesome. The 2L even more so.
The world threw everything at it with imitations, cars with more power, cars with AWD and VW had the answers.
After the A2 it just got bigger and bigger losing that spirit of the Mk1. The A2 kept that spirit and improved on it. Hey, even Air Jordan owned an A2 GTI. ;)
 
the most recent Golf is probably the best in this case.
I find the front very ugly though. The Mk7 looks really nice and smoothly rounded. The current Mk8's headlight and bonnet join looks like a face with no eyebrows with a touch of a block of cheese that's been badly cut.
 
I find the front very ugly though. The Mk7 looks really nice and smoothly rounded. The current Mk8's headlight and bonnet join looks like a face with no eyebrows with a touch of a block of cheese that's been badly cut.
Looking at them all together like this, detailing aside, it's remarkable how similar the Golf shape has been since the Mk5.

Mk's 1-4 were all quite different, although 3 & 4 were a little closer to each other, but since the Mk5 their overall shape and the positioning of each panel to one another has barely altered.
 
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Mk's 1-4 were all quite different, although 3 & 4 were a little closer to each other, but since the Mk5 their overall shape and the positioning of each panel to one another has barely altered.
Agreed. It's one of the reasons why I struggle to see the appeal in any of them past the Mk. 5. The 6 just looked like a midlife refresh of the 5, the 7 looked like a 6 with sharp lines etched into it, and the 8 looks like a 7 that's been left to melt in the sun.
 
Looking at them all together like this, detailing aside, it's remarkable how similar the Golf shape has been since the Mk5.

Mk's 1-4 were all quite different, although 3 & 4 were a little closer to each other, but since the Mk5 their overall shape and the positioning of each panel to one another has barely altered.
I did a quiz with some of my non-petrol head friends and none of them could correctly identify the order of production of the mk5-8. It does highlight how little real progress there has been in car design over the last 20 years.
 
I didn't like the front overhang of the Mk5. The Mk6 brought back the more squared off front of the earlier cars. After that, for regulation reasons or pure aerodynamics, the cars look too wedged in the nose for me.
I'd prefer VW do the BMW approach with a more upright fascia.

I like the Mk3 in VR6 spec only. Even as light as the base model is, the car just looks heavy. I did like the improvement of the dash and it felt solid when I drove the "special" GT trim for minute.

I test drove a Mk6 and it just felt like a car I wouldn't feel is mine if I owned it.
 
Mk5 has gotta be it for me really. The best looking, it had the VR6 in R32 trim and was the basis for the beautifully bonkers W12 650 concept:
1718366961435.png


...the Mk6 and Mk7 has both got really nice interiors though. And the Mk2 Rallye is supercool. And the Mk4 Variant is permanently etched in my mind since my dad owned two in a row... honestly I can't say I dislike any of them. Save for the Mk8. It's available in a really cool yellow-lime green color but that's about it, its rather bland and ugly otherwise.
 
Mk5 has gotta be it for me really. The best looking, it had the VR6 in R32 trim and was the basis for the beautifully bonkers W12 650 concept:
View attachment 1364804

...the Mk6 and Mk7 has both got really nice interiors though. And the Mk2 Rallye is supercool. And the Mk4 Variant is permanently etched in my mind since my dad owned two in a row... honestly I can't say I dislike any of them. Save for the Mk8. It's available in a really cool yellow-lime green color but that's about it, its rather bland and ugly otherwise.
Although I wasnt on the forum when this thread was started, this picture just calls for it:

As for the vote, for some reason I mostly prefer the older versions of any car.
Newer almost universally means uglier than before, and I dont look at performance.
 
I've always quite liked the MK3 and MK4. The MK5 is really the only one I dislike.
 
Owned a MK7.5 GTI for a couple years and absolutely loved it, apart from the negative attention I'd get from other boy racers on the road. I want to vote for the MK7, but I can't say it's the "definitive" generation for the Golf nameplate. I suppose it's hard to beat the significance of the MK1.

Anytime someone talks about the Golf name, I can't help but still feel bad for selling mine. :( Just glad I got to recreate some Gran Turismo Sport scapes with it. (Even though the in game car was a 3-door pre-facelift model)
gt_sport_vs_real_life__mt__equinox_downhill__by_medigoflame_de6o7u9-pre.jpg
 
For my money, it's almost a tie betweem the MK1 and the MK7 but maybe the former edges it out a bit since it's historically significant.
Regarding the latter, well, I've only driven a MK7.5 e-Golf but it felt quite stable to drive and it has some excellent build quality for its class!
 
image000002.jpg


Dad and lad. Mk1 1.8T swapped (my good friend's car) and my 23 GTI. Favorite to drive by far is the Mk8, but for personal reasons the Mk2 will forever be the most iconic car for me. I was a teenager when the Mk2 was new and it was just the coolest car I thought I could ever afford. 😂🍻

The Mk8 is just an amazing commuter. There is nothing it doesn't do well.
 
I don't really have much knowledge on the Golf so I'm going to say MK6 just because I like the styling. Not a fan of the fact that the MK7 and MK 8 have a 1.0L I3- it just seems too small. Although of course, my words don't mean anything because I haven't had any experience with the engine.
 

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