A few weeks ago I wondered if I could find car love with a Hyundai Kona after dating a VW GTI. That question may have been answered by today's drive from Black Butte Ranch in central Oregon, across the Cascades, to our home in Salem.
Driving on the often twisty and steep mountain roads reminded me how freaking fun the GTI is.
Now, I readily admit that after a test drive with a 2019 Hyundai Kona, I can agree with this guy that the Kona arguably is a hot hatchback -- especially in comparison with its competitors, such as the underpowered Subaru Crosstrek.
But for me, there's something highly likable about the GTI that no other car I've owned has matched. Well, except for an earlier VW Golf/GTI generation that I bought in the 1980s, complete with the archetypal plaid seats. That was the first car that made me smile every time I turned the key.
Now I press a button to start my 2017 GTI, Autobahn version. The same happy feeling arises in me, though.
There's simply something wonderfully perfect about the GTI in my (obviously) personal opinion. After three years, I can't think of anything that bugs me about the car. Aside from a sunroof rattle that took too long to repair, I've had no problems with my GTI.
The past few days I've been talking cars with my daughter and 12-year old granddaughter, who came up from southern California for a visit with my wife and me at the house we co-own with three other couples at Black Butte Ranch.
Celeste and Evelyn share my fascination with cars, liking, as I do, to window shop various vehicles just for the fun of it. Young Evelyn has an interesting taste in cars, showing me how much she likes the wildly expensive Mercedes-Benz G-class SUV. Hey, it doesn't hurt to dream, at any age.
In the course of talking with them about how much I like the GTI as we drove in it to do some shopping in nearby Sisters, Oregon (a marvelous little town), my daughter asked me why I was considering getting a Hyundai Kona.
"Partly just for a change," I told her. "And it'd be nice to have all-wheel-drive, though the GTI does just fine in snow and ice with its winter tires."
Driving home in it today, since my wife went over early to Black Butte Ranch in our Toyota RAV4, I realized that those reasons weren't enough to seal the deal with a Kona.
Plus, as chance would have it, this morning I'd noticed that VW had issued a rather cryptic media release that, nonetheless, was the first official news about the upcoming eighth generation Golf in quite a while.
Here it is, in its entirety.
A new Golf is rolling up to the starting grid, marking the eighth generation. The design and digital innovations launch this bestseller – which has been built more than 35 million times – into a new age: the era of electrified drives, a digitalised and connected interior world, assisted driving and online-based functions and services. The next generation of the Golf will shape the era with new impulses.
The camouflage lets onlookers identify that the black and white lines are disguising a five-door vehicle with powerful proportions. And it makes no secret out of the fact that it is a Golf – because its visual DNA is unmistakable. Anyone taking a closer look will also see that the “Golf” designation has been integrated into the camouflage. However, the camouflage does not reveal one element: the finer details of the new design.
Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Design, about the vehicle: “At this time, we will not disclose all details of the new Golf, but you can already perceive its elegant proportions.” The head designer continues: “The next generation will be a genuine eye-catcher!” The countdown to the début of number eight has already begun: the new Golf will be celebrating its world premiere in autumn 2019.
Well, saying that "at this time, we will not disclose all details of the new Golf" is an understatement. I've scoured the Internet for details about the the Mk8 Golf and have come up almost empty. Auto web sites repeat the same brief quotes from VW executives about the new Golf being cool, highly digital, and always connected to the Internet.
Apparently it will be more powerful. And Europe will get more varieties of the Golf than the United States, which may get just the GTI, since I recall that the basic Golf isn't going to be sold here, along with the hybrid versions rumored for Europe.
That's been bugging me, since typically car manufacturers release more specs prior to the release of a new model year. It's also irritating that while the Mk8 Golf/GTI seemingly will be sold in Europe early next year, if not by the end of this year, we in the United States won't be able to buy one until late 2020.
I think it's worth the wait, though. This Autocar story (from Great Britain) contains some enticing rumors about the eighth generation Golf which, if true, mean the car really is going to be way cool.
And finally there's a date for its official release: fall of 2019. Hey, fall starts in just three weeks, though it then runs for three months. At any rate, I'm happy with my 2017 GTI, so for now plan to stick with it until details of the Mk8 GTI are revealed.