2019 VW Golf downsizes engine in fuel-economy bid

August 30, 2018

Front-wheel-drive versions of the 2019 VW Golf should be more fuel-efficient than they were last year, but they won't be any quicker.

VW said Thursday that the 2019 Golf lineup will use a 1.4-liter turbo-4 rated at 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque in the hatchback and SportWagen station wagon versions of its compact car. The 1.4-liter engine is the same as the one used in the 2019 Jetta compact sedan.

MORE: Read our 2018 VW Golf review

The new engine isn't the only effort to improve fuel economy. The Golf's standard manual transmission gains an extra gear to become a 6-speed, while an optional 8-speed automatic replaces last year's 6-speed automatic.

All-wheel-drive 2019 Golfs, including the Golf Alltrack with its raised suspension and off road traction control mode, will retain a 1.8-liter turbo-4 rated at 170 hp and 199 lb-ft. 

The automaker told The Car Connection that the smaller engines are part of a bid to boost the Golf lineup's fuel economy. EPA estimates for the 2019 Golf have not been released. Last year's thriftiest 1.8-liter Golf was the manual transmission model, which the EPA rated at 25 mpg city, 34 highway, 29 combined. In comparison, both manual and automatic versions of the 2019 Jetta are rated by the EPA at 30/40/34 mpg.

Otherwise, the Golf lineup will see a handful of minor equipment shuffling changes:

  • The base Golf S hatchback will include with automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors as standard equipment, while the SE trim will add adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high-beam headlights.
  • Golf SportWagens will lose last year's range-topping SEL trim level. The base S trim will be available with automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors as an option for the first time. For the Golf Sportwagen SE,  LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control will be added to its roster of standard equipment.
  • Automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors will be newly standard on the Golf Alltrack S, LED headlights will be optional on the Golf Alltrack SE, and a 6-speed manual will be newly optional on the Golf Alltrack SEL.
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