New Volkswagen Golf hatchback revealed amid uncertain future in US

The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf bowed Thursday in Germany and ushered the long-running nameplate into its sixth decade for the venerable automaker.

The new Golf won’t be available in the U.S., at least initially. So far, VW execs have only said that the performance-focused VW Golf GTI and VW Golf R models will be sold in the U.S., although it’s unclear when those models may arrive—likely sometime in 2021.

The VW Golf is one of the most popular cars in the world, and has been on sale in the U.S. since the 1970s, when it was called the VW Rabbit. (The Rabbit name returned briefly in 2007 and has been a trim level for the Golf.)

New Volkswagen Golf

New Volkswagen Golf

The newest Golf looks similar to the outgoing version, including its headlights and taillights, which have been swapped with LED units. The biggest changes for the Golf are inside, where tech, displays and connectivity rein supreme. The newest Golf has a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 8.3-inch touchscreen are standard. The car can communicate with nearby infrastructure and other cars, sometimes called V2X communication. The new Golf also will feature available over-the-air improvements and features, the automaker said.

Eight powertrains eventually will be offered in the Golf: three gas engines, two diesel engines, two hybrid drivetrains, and a natural gas-powered engine. Only one is confirmed for the U.S., however: a 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the GTI and Golf R that reportedly make up to roughly 300 horsepower. A hybrid Golf may make it to the U.S., although VW hasn’t yet confirmed its availability.

Volkswagen may unveil the U.S.-bound variants sometime next year, with models arriving about a year later.

The eighth-generation Golf won’t have an all-electric version this time around; VW has a fleet of electric vehicles in the works on a different architecture that won’t be related to the Golf at all.

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