When it comes to two-door hatchbacks, your options are few and far between.
While you could cross-shop with the Mini Hardtop, the Mini is BMW-based and costs thousands of dollars more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even with thinner tire sidewalls, ride quality is still among the best in the segment.
If you don't have the engine's torque at the ready, be prepared for very little forward thrust.
The brake pedal feels solid, but the brakes themselves are prone to giving up the ghost much earlier than I would have anticipated.