The 1997 Volkswagen Golf serves as a popular small family car that has been manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974. It sells worldwide as well under several nameplates and in different body configurations.
The front-drive car represents the first successful replacement for the Volkswagen Beetle, and it has historically been the company’s bestselling model and the third best-selling model in the world. Most Golf models use the three-door hatchback design, but Volkswagen offers other variants as well.
Body Styles: three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Volkswagen Golf GL, Volkswagen Golf Jazz, Volkswagen Golf K2, Volkswagen Golf Trek
The 1997 Volkswagen Golf gets a revised two-liter, inline four-cylinder engine. The cylinder head has been redesigned for smoother performance. The cargo area gets a light to making it easier to load and unload items at night and a high-mounted brake light and open-door warning reflectors have been placed on all doors.
The Golf is also offers a new exterior paint scheme. Later this year, Volkswagen also releases the Jazz, Trek, and K2 models of the Golf. The K2 benefits winter driving enthusiasts and comes with either a snowboard or skis, heated front seats, a roof rack to carry the snowboard/skis, heated windshield washer nozzles, special cloth upholstery, heated exterior mirrors, an eight-speaker cassette stereo, and silver-faced gauges.
The Golf Trek provides conveniences for mountain bikers and offers a 21-speed mountain bike, alloy wheels, a bike rack on the roof, sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, special cloth upholstery and carpeting, fog lights, and silver-faced gauges.
The 1997 Volkswagen Golf Jazz adds a stereo sound system, a six-disc CD changer, alloy wheels, and velour upholstery as standards. Surprisingly, none of these three special models get the optional anti-lock brakes like the basic Golf GL does.
The exterior of the Volkswagen Golf looks box-like, although the signature front fascia gives it a distinct appeal. Overall, the Golf has evolved from its previous generation, but its wheelbase remains the same in order to maintain its overall appeal. The 1997 Volkswagen Golf sits on a wheelbase of 97.4 inches.
The Volkswagen Golf has a very well-built interior. The dashboard offers a functional layout, with all the controls conveniently placed a little higher for easier operation while driving. Since the Golf keeps the same wheelbase from the previous generation, interior space more or less remains the same.
The cargo space available in the 1997 Volkswagen Golf seems quite large for a hatchback. In fact, the ample cargo space marks one of its biggest highlights.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Golf offers a basic, overhead-cam, two-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that delivers 115 horsepower at 5400 rpm and 122 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm. The other engine option, a 2.8-liter V-6 engine, delivers 172 horsepower at 5400 rpm and 173 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm. Both engines combine with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, but a four-speed automatic transmission also remains available as an option.
The straight-four engine offers adequate acceleration to the 1997 Volkswagen Golf from standstill, as well as lively passing performance. This is the case with both transmissions. However, while the four-speed automatic shifts promptly, it lacks certain smoothness in its performance. The manual gearbox combination provides better acceleration and, of course, better fuel economy.
The 2.8-liter engine offers impressive acceleration figures to the Volkswagen Golf. Irrespective of the engine choice, the Golf provides a relatively smooth ride. Road noise remains prevalent, especially at highway speeds.
The 1997 Volkswagen Golf earns three out of five stars for driver and passenger safety in frontal-impact tests conducted by the NHTSA.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Golf 2.8-liter V-6, automatic: 18/24 mpg city/highway
- Lively and powerful performance
- Decent passenger and cargo space
- Sporty steering and handling
You Won't Like
- Noisy engine
- Too much road noise in the cabin
Zippy, stable, and fun to drive.
If You Like This Vehicle
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