If you happen to be on the crossover bandwagon like just about everyone else in America, we have you to blame (okay, we're guilty, too) for the death of great cars like the Volkswagen Golf. That's right, the brand just announced that after the 2019 model year, the base Golf hatchback (as well as the excellent Golf SportWagen small station wagon) will no longer be sold here.
Dammit. That's all we can say. We really love the Golf because it provides just about everything you need in a small car, and it's great to drive, as well. You can't say that about most affordable vehicles these days. The Golf can easily be considered an automotive icon. Since its introduction here in 1974, the venerable hatchback has seen seven generations and has regularly topped critics' lists of best automobiles year in and year out.
But its the crossover and SUV market that have slowed sales of sedans and compact vehicles, to the point where automakers are dropping the smaller cars from their lineups. It's the only reason why a car as great as the Golf would disappear from VW showrooms. The next-generation Golf is coming soon, but it won't come here. Volkswagen will, however, bring the Golf GTI and Golf R performance hatchbacks here. We find it odd that those will stay, while the more affordable version those cars are based on will be gone.
But the numbers don't lie. Even though the Golf is a four-door (the two-door disappeared a couple of years ago), and it has decent room for four inside, the larger Jetta sedan sells far better, and the newly redesigned Tiguan crossover sells almost as well as the Golf. VW likely sees the decline of base Golf sales as a harbinger of the future, so they're killing it off for export to America before when the new Golf is ready globally.
As far as the Golf SportWagen is concerned, we're pretty sad about its demise, as well. Since it changed over to the current design (and despite the fact that the diesel version went away), we've sung its praises as a fun and very utilitarian steed that drove better and looked better than pretty much every small crossover out there. VW hasn't announced what their plans are regarding the SportWagen-based Alltrack, another one we love.
It seems no small car or sedan is safe from the chopping block these days, as more crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks are showing up on the scene for Americans to gobble up. We wonder what will happen when fuel prices climb once more. Will Americans clamor for economical and efficient hatchbacks once more? Since EVs are still pricey, it's doubtful that those will be within easy reach of most households. Whatever the case, you can find us in the corner sucking our thumbs to comfort ourselves over the loss of the Golf. *sniff*