To help allay the loss of 22 hp and further improve fuel economy, the engine gets upgraded transmissions. The five-speed manual adds one cog, the optional six-speed automatic adds two cogs. The all-wheel-drive Golfs hold steady with the 1.8-liter, still good for 170 hp and 199 hp.
VW’s been putting serious incremental efforts into its fuel economy numbers. The 2018 Jetta with the 1.4-liter received two fuel economy ratings depending on transmission; the five-speed manual sedan rang up 28 city, 40 highway, 33 combined, and the six-speed automatic got 28 city, 38 highway, 32 combined. The EPA’s rated the 2019 Jetta in both manual and automatic guises as 30 city, 40 highway, 34 combined. The entry-level Golf weighs 75 pounds more than the Jetta, but we’d expect the reduced gumption and increased gearing to return Jetta numbers.
VW’s done some hocus pocus with trims and options across the range. The entry-level Golf S in hatch and Alltrack trims throws in automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors; those will be options on the SportWagen S. The SE models bake in adaptive cruise control and other driver assistance features, the SportWagen SE gets LED headlights standard, but LED lights on the Alltrac SE will be optional. The SportWagen SEL trim retires, and showing that apparently the six-speed manual won’t be a fixture throughout, the Alltrack SEL will offer the six-speed as an option.