Volkswagen is doing some sibling hand-me-downs, or maybe it's hand-me-ups, in the best way. The Golf gets some updates for 2019 that include the Jetta's 1.4L turbo engine and some extra power and a special trim for the GTI.
The big change is that one under the hood. Gone is the 170 hp 1.8L turbo four, and in its place is the 147 hp 1.4L version that was first found in the new Jetta. It's a little less power, but in the new Jetta this is a torquey engine that also manages to deliver impressive fuel economy. It will be backed by a six-speed stick or an eight-speed automatic, with the latter adding start-stop technology.
There's a shuffling of trims for the Golf as well, to match up with the Jetta. The base trim is now Comfortline, with Highline and Execline above it. The aux-input is gone from every Golf trim, along with the centre console 12-volt outlet, but Highline gains dual-zone climate control and Execline gets adaptive LED headlights. Adaptive cruise with blind spot detection and front emergency braking are optional on the two lower trims, and a pack that combines those with rear traffic alert, park assist, and auto high beams is available on Execline.
The GTI adds power for the second year in a row, now up 8 to 228. That's from the same 2.0L turbo four engine as before, though it's on higher-octane gas, not the 87 from the cheap pump. The GTI gets a special Rabbit edition that fits in between the GTI and Autobahn trims. It adds special 18-inch alloys, LED adaptive headlights, and black trim. Plus a throwback rabbit badge on the hatch. Inside it gets Fender audio and Rabbit seat tags. The bunny gets a bit more hop from dynamic chassis control adjustable dampers. The Rabbit is limited to just 900 cars in Canada.
Volkswagen didn't say when the 2019 Golf will arrive, but expect it to start showing up at dealers shortly.