When it comes to two-door hatchbacks, your options are few and far between.

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While you could cross-shop with the Mini Hardtop, the Mini is BMW-based and costs thousands of dollars more.

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Thankfully, the Golf won't really leave buyers wanting for more. It's not loaded with standout equipment, but based on what you get for the price you pay, it's a solid bet.

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Volkswagen's conservative design is largely a good thing, as cars with fantastical elements and sharp creases from fore to aft don't age well, which can affect resale value. The Golf doesn't have that problem.

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My six-foot frame fit easily in the back, with loads of headroom and a front seat with a built-in handle for quick ingress and egress.

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Whereas most of its competition comes with a six-speed manual transmission (if a manual is even on offer), the Volkswagen Golf makes do with a five-speed. That's its biggest letdown in what is, otherwise, a rather lovely driving experience.

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Chunky tire sidewalls on this specific trim soak up bad roads like a champ, so despite the car's stiff chassis, the ride never once borders on the harsh side.

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Even with thinner tire sidewalls, ride quality is still among the best in the segment.

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If you don't have the engine's torque at the ready, be prepared for very little forward thrust.

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The brake pedal feels solid, but the brakes themselves are prone to giving up the ghost much earlier than I would have anticipated.

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