Wednesday, May 12, 2021
News The Volkswagen Golf Leaves North America After 46 Years

The Volkswagen Golf Leaves North America After 46 Years

The last new “regular” Golf has been built – it’s the end of the Volkswagen Golf in the US and Canada


  • Production of the MK7 Golf ended last week in Puebla, Mexico.

  • More than 2.5 million have been sold here in nearly five decades.

  • The Golf name will live on with the GTI and R for 2022.


Volkswagen’s decision to cut the Golf from its North American portfolio is a result of our insatiable appetite for SUVs and the German brand’s decision to focus on EVs. Yes, the name Golf will live on for one more generation through the MK8 Golf GTI and the Golf R.

The first Golf, aka Rabbit, was sold in the US in December of 1974. In more than four and half decades, millions of units of the Golf have found new homes in both Canada and the US. Throughout its generations, it was recognized as one of the best-driving cars in its segment.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen and Alltrack | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

“Over four decades, the Golf has delivered a great value to American drivers,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “It exemplified what Volkswagen does best—melding dynamic driving characteristics with purposeful packaging and unmatched quality. While the seventh-generation Golf will be the last of the base hatches sold here, the GTI and Golf R will carry its legacy forward.”

Although the Golf’s legacy will continue, the actual car will be “replaced” by the recently announced Taos compact SUV.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Unveiled as the Brand’s New Entry-Level SUV

Here some highlights from the Golf’s seven generations in North America (from the press release):

Seven Generations of Golf (U.S. Model Years)

Volkswagen Golf Mk1
Volkswagen Golf Mk1 | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf I: MY 1975-1984

  • First sold in December 1974 as “Rabbit” in the U.S.
  • 5-liter engine with 70 hp
  • GTI introduced in 1983 with 1.8-liter 90 hp engine

Volkswagen Golf Mk2
Volkswagen Golf Mk2 | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf II: MY 1985-1992

  • Sold as “Golf” in the U.S.
  • Dimensions grow by nearly 7 inches in length, 3 inches in wheelbase, and 2 inches in width
  • Standard engine is revised 1.8-liter with 85 hp, GTI introduces 2.0-liter engine with 131 hp
  • Catalytic converter, anti-lock braking system and power steering debut

Volkswagen Golf Mk3
Volkswagen Golf Mk3 | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf III: MY 1993-1999

  • Design shifts to wedge shape
  • Base powertrain is 2.0-liter with 115 hp, GTI goes to available 2.8-liter VR6® with 172 hp
  • Front and side airbags debut, advances in body construction result in improved crash safety
  • VR6® engine and cruise control offered for the first time

Volkswagen Golf Mk4
Volkswagen Golf Mk4 | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf IV: MY 1999.5-2005 

  • All-new design with flatter windshield, and roofline carried further back with steeper rear window
  • Electronic stability control and side curtain airbags debut
  • 8T engine introduced for GTI, bringing turbocharging to this generation of GTI
  • R32 introduced for 2004 with 240 hp, six-speed manual, and 4MOTION all-wheel drive

Volkswagen Golf Mk5
Volkswagen Golf Mk5 | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf V: MY 2006-2009

  • New multi-link rear suspension; rain-sensing wipers introduced
  • Sold as “Rabbit” again in the US
  • DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmissions debuts as an option for GTI and the standard transmission for R32; Bi-Xenon® headlights introduced on both models
  • Base engine is 150 hp 2.5-liter, GTI moves to 200 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine
  • R32 reintroduced for 2008 with 250 hp

Volkswagen Golf Mk6
Volkswagen Golf Mk6 | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf VI: MY 2010-2014

  • “Golf” name returns for the U.S.
  • Prominent character line runs from headlights to taillights
  • Base powertrain is 2.5-liter with 170 hp
  • Golf R introduced for 2012, with the VR6 engine replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine pushing 256 hp

2015 Volkswagen Golf | Photo: Volkswagen

Golf VII: MY 2015-2021

  • Based on Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture
  • Golf grows in size yet drops in weight, despite a plethora of new and upscale features
  • Facelift in MY 2018 features included revised headlight and taillight designs, redesigned bumpers, and infotainment and driver assistance updates
  • Base 1.8-liter TSI 170 hp engine replaces 2.5-liter to gain an EPA-estimated 6 mpg highway, later replaced by the 1.4-liter TSI engine in 2019
  • GTI and Golf R powered by new versions of the 2.0-liter TSI engine, with up to 228 hp for GTI and up to 288 hp for Golf R (both achieved with premium fuel) Available driver-assistance technology includes Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Park Distance Control

Volkswagen Golf MK8 | Photo: Volkswagen

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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