Retro Cars Wiki

Year-to-year changes[]


After the Fox's discontinuation, the Golf hatchback becomes the new entry-level car for 1994.


Volkswagen's Golf exemplifies a long-time VW philosophy of going its own way and doing its own thing. Just looking at it, you can tell this isn't just another German sedan. The 2-box hatchback, especially with four doors, is something that no other car company builds. On the interior, too, the Golf is very different from the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima and Mazda Protegé, with which it competes. It looks more like a small BMW.

The Golf III is available in four models, base, GL, Sport and GTI, and 2- or 4-door body styles. Like every VW economy car since the trend-setting Rabbit, the front-wheel-drive Golf uses MacPherson struts in front and a twist-beam rear axle. The base engine is a conventional 115-hp sohc Four. Standard equipment includes disc/drum brakes, dual airbags, daytime running lights, rear window defroster, floor mats, tinted glass, antitheft alarm, childproof rear door locks and a central locking system.

The GL model adds standard air conditioning, 8-speaker stereo cassette, and 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks.

The Sport model is a 2-door coupe formerly called the Limited Edition. It has alloy wheels, a/c, sport seats and smoked taillights.

VW's 172-hp narrow-angle V6 is standard on the sporty GTI, as are ABS, 15-in. alloy wheels, a/c, cruise control, traction control and a power sunroof, windows and mirrors. 

A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on all models. A 4-speed automatic and ABS are optional on the GL and Sport. A sunroof and a/c are optional on all models that don't include them, except the base Golf.


Just by looking at it, you can tell Volkswagen's Golf is unique. The Golf is not a sedan, a coupe nor a sporty hatch, but a 2-box-design hatchback with three or five doors that offers the comfort of an economy sedan with the utility of a station wagon. There's nothing else quite like it. The Golf's interior is equally unusual. It has a very European feel, with easy-to-use controls, soft knobs and tactile surfaces. The Golf is the only remaining inexpensive European car sold in America, and it's very different from competitive American and Japanese cars such as Chevrolet Cavalier, Dodge Neon, Honda Civic and Mazda Protege.

The base engine is a conventional sohc 4-cylinder, while VW's highly acclaimed narrow-angle V6 is available in the top-line GTI VR6. With 172 hp, the GTI VR6 goes with gusto. To cope with this performance, ABS brakes and traction control are standard on this model, black leather seats optional. All 1996 Golfs have standard cloth seats, dual airbags, central locks, an antitheft alarm and, for the first time, a glovebox. Among the options are a high-tech sound system and a smoother-shifting automatic transmission, thanks to reprogrammed logic in the computer.

New for 1996 is a 2.0-liter GTI model that adds unique 5-spoke alloy wheels, sport seats, a whip antenna and tinted rear lamps to a standard Golf 3-door. Also new is the Golf TDI, which stands for Turbo Direct Injection diesel. Among other advances, the TDI diesel has an electronically controlled throttle. This technically advanced powerplant is smooth, quiet, nearly pollution-free and is claimed to have fuel economy of almost 50 mpg on the highway.

Retail prices[]

  • $12,325 (1994 Volkswagen Golf III GL 2DR Hatchback)
  • $14,325 (1994 Volkswagen Golf III LE 2DR Hatchback)

As of mid-1994:

  • $12,500 (1995 Volkswagen Golf III 4DR Hatchback)
  • $14,200 (1995 Volkswagen Golf III GL 4DR Hatchback)
  • $15,250 (1995 Volkswagen Golf III Sport 2DR Hatchback)
  • $18,875 (1995 Volkswagen GTI VR6 2DR Hatchback)

As of early 1995:

  • $11,490 (1995 Volkswagen Golf III City)
  • $12,850 (1995 Volkswagen Golf III Celebration Edition)
  • $19,375 (1995 Volkswagen GTI 2DR Hatchback)

As of October 1, 1995:

  • $13,150 (1996 Volkswagen Golf III GL)
  • $16,000 (1996 Volkswagen GTI)
  • $19,685 (1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6)

As of 1996:

  • $14,325 (1996 Volkswagen Golf III TDi)