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Auto review: VW Golf R-aises the bar -- a lot

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Elsewhere, the tech is delightfully simple — like a new chicklet-sized shifter (shades of Porsche 911). This being a hot hatch, you have a six-speed manual option, too.

All this is wrapped in a hatchback shell that is dimensionally similar to the Mark 7 chassis and oozes utility: comfy front thrones, useful rear seats for your pals, practical boot for luggage (not to mention tires, ahem, for track days). But don’t let the familiar dimensions throw you.

Like the cabin, VW has sexed up the exterior styling.

The low, raked hood is punctuated by menacing headlights and signature R thin-blue grille graphic. The air intake below is a shark’s maw that will get left-lane lollygaggers’ attention when you fill their rear mirrors. Out back, the huge quad pipes are matched by an imposing roof spoiler.

This new commitment to style is echoed by VW’s attractive first EV ute, the ID.4. As is the R’s athleticism, as I confirmed with some laps around the ice in the ID.4.

Shopping hot hatches with my son recently, the Mark 7 Golf R’s athleticism was unmatched. But it also came at a price — $42 grand — at least $5K north of competitors Type R and Mazda3 Turbo. Expect the new R to push $44K when it hits lots this fall.


Available in one, loaded trim, R costs about the same as a rear-wheel-drive ID.4, but with lots more gas-fueled range, performance and fun. Typical of government nannies, the EV has been awarded with a $7,500 tax break. Hmph.

If it were me in charge, I’d give the tax credit to the car that’ll puts the biggest smile on your face. Call it the Grin R.


2022 Volkswagen Golf R


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