One of the pioneers in the small hatchback segment, the Volkswagen Golf has had a bit of a roller-coaster ride throughout its life. Debuting in Europe in 1974, it came to the U.S. a year later wearing the Rabbit nameplate. Ten years later and coinciding with a redesign, VW shifted the North American version to the official “Golf” name. But even that did not last. In 2006, after selling three generations of the Golf to American buyers, Volkswagen had a nostalgic feeling and renamed its economy car the Rabbit for the U.S. market.
But guess what? Volkswagen had yet another change of heart and reverted back to the Golf name for 2010. Yep, it’s confusing. But what hasn’t changed is this boxy hatchback’s enticing combination of practicality, comfort and refined road manners along with an upscale, roomy cabin.