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The Volkswagen Golf is a small family car manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974 and marketed worldwide across six generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates – as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada (Mk1 and Mk5), and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico (Mk1).
The front-wheel drive Golf was Volkswagen's first successful replacement for the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle. Historically, the Golf is Volkswagen's best-selling model and the world's third best-selling model, with more than 25 million built by 2007.
Most production of the Golf was initially in the 3-door hatchback style. Other variants include a 5-door hatchback, estate/wagon (Variant, from 1993), convertible (Cabriolet and Cabrio, 1979–2002), and a Golf-derived notchback saloon/sedan, variously called Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Vento or Volkswagen Bora (from 1979). The cars have filled many market segments, from basic personal cars, to high-performance hot hatches.
Every generation of Golf has been a runner-up in the European Car of the Year awards, but only one has been a winner, the Golf Mk3 in 1992.
VW Golf on top of the world
The latest version of VW's hatchback has been named World Car of the Year.
The Volkswagen Golf MkVI has been awarded the 2009 World Car of the Year title.
The WCOTY jury consists of 59 eminent motoring writers from 25 countries, including Telegraph Motoring's Mike Rutherford.
They observed that: "The new Golf VI feels more expensive than other family hatches, thanks to its solid build and high quality cabin. Customers get a choice of nothing less than six engines including the punchy and efficient 158hp, 1.4-litre TSI unit that features both a turbo and supercharger.
"The Golf is also available with the firm's new 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine, developing either 108 or 138hp. It goes without saying that choosing between the slick six-speed manual and superb DSG twin-clutch gearbox can be difficult. Sitting on an outstanding chassis, the VW is more refined than its rivals, especially when highway cruising. Wind, road and engine noise are kept to a minimum, making the Golf a relaxing long distance companion."
Receiving the award at the New York International Show, Stefan Jacoby, president of VW of America, said: "The Golf is an iconic nameplate for Volkswagen and is known throughout the world. The Golf is Volkswagen's best selling nameplate with more than 26 million units sold in more than 120 countries."
Other categories included World Performance Car (won by the Nissan GT-R, Car Design of the Year (Fiat 500) and World Green Car (Honda's FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell car).
Finalists for the Performance Car category included the Audi RS6, BMW 135i, Corvette ZR1, Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, Mitsubishi Evo X, Porsche 911 Carrera and Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
In the World Car Design of the Year category, the jurors were assisted by four highly respected world design experts. A similar process was applied to select the World Green Car award, a panel of three experts suggesting a shortlist on which the jurors voted.
The inaugural World Car title was awarded in 2005, when the Audi A6 triumphed. A year later, BMW's 3-series took the title, with the Lexus LS460 winning in 2007. Last year, the honour went to the Mazda2/Demio supermini.