It has been in production in one form or another for 38 years, but the next-generation Volkswagen Golf, due to be unveiled next month at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, will be the biggest, smartest and most economical Golf yet. 

According to Autocar, the seventh generation Volkswagen Golf, due to go on sale in the U.S. as the 2014 Golf, will be up to 23 percent more economical than the current Golf.  

The first Volkswagen to make use of VW’s brand-new MQB platform, the 2014 Golf will be 2.2 inches longer, half-an-inch wider, and 1.1 inches lower than its predecessor. 

Autocar says VW claims the increase in size has helped it improve the Golf’s crash protection. It’s worth noting the current Golf hatch missed out on both an IIHS top safety pick and 5-star NHTSA crash-test rating. 

Despite the gains in size however, Autocar reports the 2014 Golf will be around 220 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks in part to the new, lightweight, MQB platform, more use of aluminum in the suspension, new, lightweight seats and even a lighter electrical wiring harness.

Volkswagen's MQB Platform

Volkswagen's MQB Platform

As a consequence, the base-model European Golf, due to go on sale later this year will weigh just 2,314 pounds. 

Autocar reports that European Golf drivers will be able to choose from several different engines, including an all-new 1.4-liter, direct injection, four cylinder engine equipped with cylinder deactivation; and a 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine. 

It also reports that the Golf GTi will get a new, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder direct injection engine. 

But because U.S. market Volkswagens rarely share the same engines as their European counterparts, we’ll likely have to wait until the official unveiling to find out which engines will travel to the U.S. 

Because of its new chassis and larger dimensions, the new Golf will not only improve gas mileage. 

Autocar reports that legroom, shoulder room and elbow room have all been increased in the new Golf, while an electronic parking brake has reduced cabin clutter and added much-needed space. 

As with engines, we haven’t seen any infotainment or options lists for the 2014 Golf, but Autocar says the European versions will offer a next-generation automatic parking system, a variety of different driving profiles, and even a 3D screen on high-end models. 

We’ll find out more about the Golf in a little over two weeks, when it makes it official pre-Paris debut at a tightly-controlled unveiling in Berlin on September 4. 

Until then, we wait, with baited breath.


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