Volkswagen USA has finally revealed the facelifted Golf for the American market. While this is an update and not a new model, the subtle changes to the Golf family are worthwhile.

The major change, across the lineup, has come to the light fixtures. With LED daytime running lights up front now standard across the line, they will be one of the major indicators that you’re meeting an updated Golf.

Standard LED taillights also differentiate this from the last year’s model. They sit above a new rear bumper to match the new front one and chrome-surrounded grille.


Inside, meanwhile, the infotainment has changed with new screens offered across the range. Varying from 6.5 to 8-inches, these touchscreens feature VW’s latest software, that has been designed to be easier to operate and react faster to inputs.

Starting at just $21,760 (with destination charge included) the standard Golf will only be offered in S and SE trim. The S will come with 15-inch “Lyon” wheels, while the SE will come standard with 16-inch “Toronto” wheels, as well as full LED lights (not just DRLs) a panoramic tilting sunroof and fog lights, too. Rain sensing wipers are now standard across the lineup.

The GTI, meanwhile, comes in three trims: S, SE, and Autobahn. All make 220 hp now, a bump of ten horsepower. To get you slowing as fast as you’re speeding, the SE and Autobahn trims now come with the Golf R’s front brakes, which will deform your face if given the chance.


Again, the SE and Autobahn trims get an electronically controlled, torque sensing, limited slip VAQ differential, to get moving around corners quicker.

Forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking are standard on the SE and Autobahn, too, while only the latter gets standard park distance control, updated maneuver braking, lane departure warning, high beam control, and more.

Moving along to the Golf R, its latest and greatest feature is the new seven-speed DSG transmission ($41,735). It will be America’s only VW available with the extra gear—the European GTI can be fitted with it—but should allow for greater economy as well as the ability to stay in the torque band for more of the time for when the driving becomes enthusiastic.


Naturally, a six-speed manual is standard ($40,635) for both the R and the GTI (5-speed for the regular hatch), but is only offered in one trim. It will have its own special LED headlights and an 8-inch infotainment display and digital cockpit as standard.

The R will also be shod with new wheels, designed specifically for enthusiasts. At 19-inches in diameter, the aluminum alloy rims have been given the name “Englishtown” for obvious reasons.

Finally, the wagons (Alltrack and SportWagen) also come with standard LED DRLs and automatic headlights are now standard across the range (S, SE, and SEL trims). The SE and up trims, meanwhile, will get an 8-inch infotainment screen as standard.


SEL, meanwhile will get Discover Pro Media infotainment, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 17-inch Karlskoga wheels, and a suite of driver assistance packages. A little later in the year, the Alltrack will be offered with blind spot monitor.

The update also comes with fresh colors, including a very pretty new shade of green. All will also be offered with the People First Warranty that’s good for 72,000 miles or six years and is transferable.

Base MSRP as follows (destination charges included):

Golf $21,760 (five-speed manual) $22,860 (six-speed auto)

Golf SportWagen $22,535 (5-speed manual), $23,635 (six-speed auto)

Golf SportWagen 4Motion: $24,785 (5-speed manual), $25,885 (six-speed auto)

Golf Alltrack $26,845 (6-speed manual), $27,905 (six-speed DSG)

Golf GTI $27,265 (six-speed manual), $28,365 (six-speed DSG)

Golf R $40,635 (six-speed manual), $41,735 (seven-speed DSG)