The 2018 Volkswagen Golf's 8 Strong Points... But There's Also A Notable Weakness To Consider

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Diversity is the name of the game with the 2018 Volkswagen Golf's family of vehicles. The lineup provides choices that are designed to meet the needs of a broad cross-section of car buyers.

For shoppers on a budget who're seeking a small car that's both affordable and refined, there's the base Golf. Next up are the Golf GTI and Golf R, which come with enthusiast-friendly performance capabilities.

There are also a couple of wagon variants on board. The Golf SportWagen offers the roominess and cargo capacity families need. For those seeking a family vehicle for off-road adventures, the Golf Alltrack wagon provides increased ground clearance and a rugged disposition.

And the Golf hasn't forgotten about the growing number of electric-car shoppers. The e-Golf updates this Volkswagen with an all-electric powertrain.

Golf vehicles get some updates for 2018. The models get interior and exterior enhancements, and their range of available driver-assistive technology has been expanded. The Golf also gets a new warranty that does a lot to heighten this Volkswagen's attractiveness.

The Golf line has enough variants to allow you to make a choice that's as fun-filled or pragmatic as your needs and preferences dictate. Still, for all its broad appeal, this family of cars isn't without its shortcomings.

Here are eight great traits of the 2018 Volkswagen Golf's family of vehicles... along with one weakness you should consider before driving one of these cars off a dealer lot.

#1: Impressive handling and performance

The Golf R is a top choice for shoppers seeking exceptional performance.

Certain small economy cars prioritize fuel economy in ways that compromise handling and performance. This isn't the case with the Volkswagen Golf, and the model line offers a variety of performance flavors to suit different palates.

The Golf and Golf SportWagen provide pleasing levels of responsiveness and refinement, while the Golf R and Golf GTI deliver handling that makes for exhilarating times behind the wheel. With the Golf Alltrack, you get a raised suspension that provides 6.9 inches of ground clearance, and this facilitates athleticism that holds its own on unpaved paths.

#2: Good fuel economy

Golf models come with 4-cylinder engines that balance crisp acceleration with respectable fuel economy.

When mentioning the Golf's performance chops, it's important to also discuss fuel economy, since these two traits don't always live side by side. Fuel economy is a key priority for many who shop in the Golf's price range, and this Volkswagen does an admirable of keeping things frugal at the pump.

GTI models achieve mileage of up to 25/33 mpg city/highway, while the Alltrack has an EPA rating of 22/30 mpg. And if you want to avoid the gas pump altogether, there's always the electrified e-Golf to consider.

#3: Generous cargo capacity

Golf wagons offer up to 66.5 cubic feet of cargo room.

Shoppers flock to hatchbacks for their outstanding cargo capacity. Many of these models come with small footprints, but their hatchback body style allows them to deliver large rewards when it comes to cargo space.

Whether you choose a hatchback or a wagon, the Golf impresses with the amount of room it provides for your gear. Golf hatchbacks offer up to 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and this figure swells to 52.7 cubic feet once the rear seats have been folded. Golf wagons provide 30.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 66.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

#4: Strong warranty

Volkswagen's Golf comes with 6-year/72,000-mile warranty coverage that protects components like the engine and the vehicle's available 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. 

A strong warranty can shield you from the expenses that arise if one of your car's major parts needs to be repaired. Having this kind of protection in place can provide you with peace of mind.

Volkswagen's Golf family comes with a warranty that has been upgraded for 2018 to provide 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection. Coverage can be transferred to a new owner if the vehicle is sold while the warranty is in effect.

The warranty covers everything from engines to transmissions to the available all-wheel-drive system. It stands as one of the most generous warranties in the industry, besting the 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage offered by rivals like Honda and Ford.

#5: Premium cabin

The mood within the Golf's cabin is elegant and tasteful, with clean design and premium materials.

People often buy luxury cars for their attractively designed cabins. These models take a meticulous approach when it comes to their interiors, using top-notch materials and maintaining high standards of build quality.

The Golf isn't a luxury car, but it offers a cabin that displays similar levels of refinement. An air of European sophistication prevails, with handsome plastics and a sleek aesthetic.

When it comes to cabin design and quality, the Golf can hold its own with many German entry-level luxury models.

#6: Superb value

Value is a hallmark of the Volkswagen Golf, and it impresses with its low price tag and high levels of refinement.

Economy cars aren't what they used to be. These models once came with significant compromises in comfort and quality. In other words, you got what you paid for.

This has changed in recent years. There are now models in this segment offering an upscale driving experience that transcends the expectations created by their low price tags.

Even in this competitive environment, vehicles in the Golf family stand tall when it comes to value. A Golf hatchback has a starting price of around $21,000. For that very reasonable sum, buyers enjoy a car that delivers engaging handling, solid utility, and an upmarket cabin.

#7: Impeccable crash protection

Its impeccable safety stores make the Golf a top choice if you're looking for a small car that offers superior crash protection.

Accidents sometimes happen, and a car with strong safety scores will do a good job of keeping you protected. Safety is especially critical if you're shopping for a family vehicle.

Earning a perfect 5 stars in overall crash protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Golf hatchback is a top pick for shoppers with safety on the mind. Wagon variants also nab a 5-star overall safety rating.

#8: Available all-wheel drive

The Golf Alltrack is available with AWD for improved wet-weather traction.

All-wheel drive (AWD) gives you the traction you need to cruise confidently through rain and snow. It's a feature that's not always offered in small cars.

Models like the Golf R, Golf Alltrack and Golf SportWagen are available with AWD. This amenity can make your travels more secure when the road ahead gets slick or icy.

A fatal flaw

The Golf model line is currently without a hybrid or a diesel option, and this is bad news if you're looking for a small car than leads the pack when it comes to efficiency. Yes, an all-electric choice is available, but not all shoppers are prepared to deal with the range limitations that electric cars bring.

There's good mileage, and then there's the kind of exceptional mileage you get from a hybrid or diesel model. Models in the Golf family certainly offer respectable mileage, especially when you consider their performance capabilities.

But there are rival hybrid models that will be much more economical at the gas pump. The 2018 Toyota Prius C, for example, leaves Golf models in the dust when it comes to fuel efficiency, offering 48/43 mpg city/highway.

Excellence all around

Regardless of which model in the Golf lineup you choose, you'll enjoy a satisfying level of European excellence.

You don't need to wipe out your bank account to own a car that offers high-end refinement, and the models in the 2018 Volkswagen Golf's family of vehicles are proof.

These cars are enjoyable to drive, and they offer the kind of utility that makes them agreeable companions whether you're a carefree singleton or a busy parent. These Volkswagens also impress with their outstanding crash protection and artfully designed cabins.

If European excellence is what you're after, the Volkswagen Golf's model line provides an affordable way in.