Eric's Autos: 2018 VW Golf
Every successful car company has a sell -- something that defines it, makes its cars different. Volkswagen's main sell is that it's a German brand, like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It's also related to Audi, which is a German luxury brand.
This means that VW models like the 2018 Golf have much in common with Audi models like the A3. Well, except for their window stickers!
What It Is
The Golf is VW's entry-level model that shares its underlying platform -- it's basic chassis -- with the Audi A3.
The VW version is stubbier and taller, but it has almost exactly the same legroom and significantly more headroom for passengers in both rows. It also has more than four times the cargo space.
Both cars come standard with very similar turbocharged four-cylinder engines that have about the same power. But the VW's can still be paired with a manual transmission, while the Audi's only comes with an automatic.
Base price for an S trim Golf hatchback with manual transmission is $20,910. A top-of-the-line SE trim with VW's six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission lists for $24,755.
For reference, the Audi A3 sedan starts at $31,950 for the front-wheel-drive version; a top-of-the-line Prestige trim with Quattro all-wheel drive and automatic transmission lists for $43,700.
In addition to a slight cosmetic refresh, including Audi-esque LED headlights and taillights for all trims, the really big news is VW's new bumper-to-bumper warranty, which almost doubles to six years/72,000 miles.