The Golf swan song?
Are we about to see the back of the Golf?
To see a review of the MK8 Golf go to the Reviews section.
A subtle changing of the guard, a sleight of the hand slipping on the baton, a nod to the next generation that it is their time to rise.
All these could be used to describe a curios development at VW. Releasing two cars that fill the same segment is an almost unheard of tactic for a single manufacturer. Splitting a chassis across a parent company, or even co-development of parts is old hat, but two uniquely identifiable products vying for the same customer would lead most CEO's to be drug tested at the company board meeting, were it not Volkswagen.
Now, you may think that the Golf and ID3 product occupy different spaces in the same silo, and so also aim at different target audiences, with the pricing separated just enough and the crucial split of fully electric vs everything from petrol and diesel to mild hybrid, and electric plug-in. But ultimately they are both mid-size hatchbacks that can swell in price to above £40,000.
Given time buyers will eventually start the steady shift.
Granted a buyer of an electric car today is different from the ones of next year. Today it is mainly people with great concerns about the environment or a belief that electric cars should have been here much earlier, but they swell in number each year. ID3 drivers et al are making more than just another car buying decision. Paying a large premium that you are unlikely to be rewarded within fuel-saving during the usual three-year ownership cycle is still a niche market, but it won't be in five years, especially as electric cars begin to compete at a comparable sticker price. The savings in fuel alone when the current premium disappears will convince many, as it did when mass-market diesel gained traction.
On the other side of the fence, there are still a good number of people that need convincing or just don't believe that sticking a battery full of rare earth materials mined out the ground is the solution to a much more complex global issue. The Golf exists for them, but as their numbers fall and savings in labour from complex combustion engines come to fruition, Volkswagen, along with other legacy makers will struggle to justify their once bread and butter offering.
Given time buyers will eventually start the steady shift. Especially with politicians happy to make sweeping changes in legislation. Nine years of combustion engines to go if the British government is to be believed.
So mapping out a 6-year life cycle for the Golf leads to a thorny question. Volkswagen makes radical changes on each odd number iteration of the Golf. The even numbers are heavily massaged and reheated from the one before. So the MK1 and MK2 share the same bones, as do the MK3 and MK4, and so and so forth.
This means that in 2027 Volkswagen will have to either break from tradition and drag a chassis that will be over a decade old for one last hurrah of massaged remodelling or create a whole new chassis that may only be viable for three years before having to be solely battery operated, or, mind the pun, pull the plug altogether.
At the same time the ID3 would be ready for a refresh, which one will get the development budget at VW, well if the EU and UK flat our refuse the combustion engine, then what would be the point in a Golf MK9 when the ID3 product can fulfil the electric car market and will already be an established player and the Golf would need a complete re-birth. Perhaps VW has a trick up its sleeve, it's no secret that Porsche is looking at E-fuels which may be a good side step for internal combustion, the ban being on petrol and diesel vehicles, no one said anything about a new combustion engine running off 'E-Fuel' in 2031.
It's either that or we may well be seeing a father and son duo for the next few years as the Golf steadies the ship for one last outing whilst the ID3 matures. Six years is a long time and a short time, one thing we can be sure of, there are more questions than answers today, and maybe that's a good thing.