Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that might not be the best of its range but represents a merciful departure from the rattletrap boxes of sadness which, not too many years ago, used to be hawked by OEMS as their base wheels. Here’s an example.
Sure, it’s easy to mock Volkswagen these days. The diesel emissions scandal has scuppered the brand in the eyes of a number of consumers, adding to traditional VW stereotypes such as high repair and maintenance costs. All the same, excluding an entire brand from consideration because of a single wayward trimline is akin to throwing out a fifty pound sack of potatoes because of one rotten spud.
In the past, Americans treated hatchbacks with a degree of disdain generally leveled at soiled copies of Utne Reader. The Golf is definitely one of the better hatchbacks out there. Does its base S model pass the Ace of Base litmus test?
Underneath the base Golf sits similar architecture to the much-lauded GTI and R. Sure, the particulars are different but the same MQB bones are there. No matter the trim, a Golf doesn’t exactly wallow around in corners. This is more than can be said for the majority of its competitors. The base S is shod with 15-inch tires, relative piano wheels compared to the jumbo hoops seen on most vehicles, but that just means owners can replace all four tires without taking out a second mortgage on the house. The generously proportioned sidewalls of the smaller diameter rubber also contributes to a ride quality that won’t shake your fillings loose on every freeway expansion joint.
Sharp headlight clusters incorporate a detail line which runs the length of the car. There’s a poised yet elegant appearance here, a stoic foil to the flamboyant Mazda 3. A raft of $0 colors ranging from Tornado Red to Silk Blue are on offer, in addition to traditional Teutonic hues on the greyscale. A direct-injected 1.8-liter TSI inline-four making 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of twist means the thing can more than get out of its own way, particularly when stirred by the standard five-speed manual transmission.
Those who sign the note on a $19,895 Golf S will not suffer for standard equipment. Power windows with one touch up/down are found in all four-doors, while the center stack features niceties like a backup camera and Bluetooth with streaming audio. Natty leather wraps the steering wheel and handbrake handle.
Mercifully, thanks to a small segment of buyers, they’ve enjoyed something of a resurgence. That manufacturers see fit to equip them better than the average battle-scarred penalty box in a run-down arena helps immensely in their acceptance. Hatchbacks are vastly practical and the Golf is no exception, easily swallowing a full-sized bicycle in a cargo compartment that measures a full 52.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
What do you think, B&B? Does the base Golf S help atone for the sins of its dirty diesel brother? Or are they all tarred with the same sooty brush?
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
Article courtesy of: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/12/ace-of-base-2017-volkswagen-golf-s/