Golf 3: The Most Popular and Versatile Car in Europe
Golf 3: A Classic Compact Car from Volkswagen
If you are looking for a reliable, affordable, and versatile compact car, you might want to consider the Golf 3. This is the third generation of the Volkswagen Golf, one of the most successful models from the German automaker. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Golf 3, including its history, models, features, and special editions.
What is Golf 3?
The Golf 3 is the name given to the third generation of the Volkswagen Golf, a small family car that was produced from 1991 to 1998 (and until 2002 for the Cabriolet version). The Golf 3 replaced the Golf 2, which was launched in 1983. The Golf 3 was based on the Volkswagen Group A3 platform, which was also used by other models such as the Volkswagen Jetta and the Volkswagen Vento.
Why is Golf 3 popular?
The Golf 3 was a very popular car in its time, selling over 4.8 million units worldwide. It was also awarded the European Car of the Year in 1992, beating other contenders such as the Opel Astra and the Renault Clio. Some of the reasons why the Golf 3 was popular are:
It offered a wide range of engine choices, from petrol to diesel, from four-cylinder to VR6, from naturally aspirated to turbocharged.
It introduced new features and technologies that improved the safety and comfort of the car, such as airbags, ABS, power steering, electric windows, and central locking.
It had a distinctive and elegant design that appealed to many customers, with smooth lines, rounded edges, and a spacious interior.
It had several models and special editions that catered to different tastes and preferences, such as the Variant (estate), the Cabriolet (convertible), the A59 (rally), the GTI (sporty), and the VR6 (powerful).
What are the main features of Golf 3?
The Golf 3 had many features that made it a great car for its time. Some of these features are:
It had a front-engine, front-wheel drive layout, with an optional Syncro four-wheel drive system for some models.
It had a body style of either a three-door or a five-door hatchback, with a five-door estate (Variant) and a two-door convertible (Cabriolet) also available.
It had a wheelbase of 2,471 mm (97.3 in) for the hatchback and estate models, and 2,474 mm (97.4 in) for the Cabriolet model.
It had a length of 4,074 mm (160.4 in), a width of 1,694 mm (66.7 in), and a height of 1,422 mm (56.0 in) for the hatchback and estate models, and a height of 1,428 mm (56.2 in) for the Cabriolet model.
It had a curb weight of between 960 kg (2,116 lb) and 1,380 kg (3,042 lb), depending on the model and engine.
The Variant was the estate version of the Golf 3, which was introduced in 1994. It had a longer wheelbase and more cargo space than the hatchback model. It also had some unique features such as roof rails, rear wiper, and split-folding rear seats. The Variant was available with most of the engine options of the hatchback model, except for the VR6 and the A59. The Variant was also sold as the Volkswagen Jetta in North America.
The Cabriolet was the convertible version of the Golf 3, which was launched in 1994. It had a retractable soft top that could be operated manually or electrically. It also had some distinctive features such as a roll bar, a rear spoiler, and a glass rear window. The Cabriolet was based on the Golf 3 platform, but it retained some elements of the Golf 2 design, such as the headlights, grille, and bumpers. The Cabriolet was available with four engine options: a 1.8 L petrol, a 2.0 L petrol, a 1.9 L diesel, and a 2.8 L VR6. The Cabriolet was also sold as the Volkswagen Rabbit in Canada.
The A59 was a rare and special model of the Golf 3, which was designed for rally racing. It was developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in collaboration with Schmidt Motorsport in 1996. It had a modified body shell that was reinforced and lightened, with flared wheel arches, a large rear wing, and a vented bonnet. It also had a powerful engine that was based on the VR6, but with a displacement of 2.0 L and a turbocharger that boosted the output to 275 hp (205 kW). The A59 had a four-wheel drive system that used a six-speed manual gearbox and a viscous coupling differential. Only two prototypes of the A59 were built, and they never competed in any official rally events.
The Golf 3 offered a variety of engine choices for different markets and preferences. The petrol engines ranged from a 1.4 L four-cylinder with 60 hp (45 kW) to a 2.9 L VR6 with 190 hp (142 kW). The diesel engines ranged from a 1.9 L naturally aspirated with 64 hp (48 kW) to a 1.9 L turbocharged with 110 hp (82 kW). Some of the engines were also equipped with catalytic converters, fuel injection systems, or direct injection systems to improve the performance and efficiency of the car.
Safety and comfort
The Golf 3 introduced some new features and technologies that improved the safety and comfort of the car. Some of these features are:
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Airbags: The Golf 3 was one of the first cars to have standard driver and passenger airbags in Europe. It also had optional side airbags for some models.
ABS: The Golf 3 had an anti-lock braking system that prevented the wheels from locking up during hard braking, improving the stability and control of the car.
Power steering: The Golf 3 had an electric power steering system that made the steering easier and more responsive.
Electric windows: The Golf 3 had electric windows that could be operated by switches on the doors or by the key fob.
Central locking: The Golf 3 had a central locking system that allowed the driver to lock or unlock all the doors and the boot with one button.
Design and style
The Golf 3 had a distinctive and elegant design that appealed to many customers. It had smooth lines, rounded edges, and a spacious interior. It also had some stylish details such as:
A grille that integrated the Volkswagen logo and the headlights.
A tailgate that curved around the rear lights.
A dashboard that was ergonomically designed and had clear instruments.
A centre console that had easy-to-use controls and switches.
A steering wheel that had an airbag cover and horn buttons.
Mk3 special editions
The Golf 3 had several special editions that were released to celebrate certain occasions, commemorate certain events, or appeal to certain markets. Some of these special editions are:
The GTI was the sporty version of the Golf 3, which had a more powerful engine, a stiffer suspension, and a more aggressive look. The GTI editions were:
GTI 20th Anniversary: This edition was launched in 1996 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Golf GTI. It had a 2.0 L petrol engine with 115 hp (86 kW), a red and black interior, and a badge with the number 20 on the front grille and the boot lid.
GTI Colour Concept: This edition was launched in 1997 and had five different colour options for the exterior and the interior: yellow, red, blue, green, and black. It also had a 2.0 L petrol engine with 115 hp (86 kW), a leather steering wheel, and alloy wheels.
GTI VR6 Edition: This edition was launched in 1997 and had a 2.8 L VR6 engine with 174 hp (130 kW), a six-speed manual gearbox, a leather interior, and a sunroof.
The VR6 was the most powerful version of the Golf 3, which had a 2.8 L or a 2.9 L VR6 engine that had six cylinders arranged in a narrow angle. The VR6 editions were:
VR6 Highline: This edition was launched in 1994 and had a 2.8 L VR6 engine with 174 hp (130 kW), a leather interior, a wood trim, and a CD player.
VR6 Syncro: This edition was launched in 1995 and had a 2.9 L VR6 engine with 190 hp (142 kW), a Syncro four-wheel drive system, and BBS alloy wheels.
VR6 Turbo: This edition was launched in 1997 and had a 2.9 L VR6 engine with a turbocharger that increased the output to 240 hp (179 kW), a lowered suspension, and Recaro seats.
The Golf 3 was a classic compact car from Volkswagen that offered reliability, affordability, and versatility. It had a wide range of engine choices, new features and technologies, and a distinctive and elegant design. It also had several models and special editions that catered to different tastes and preferences. The Golf 3 was a very popular ca