Even though this brief review comes about six months after the hype, it reaffirms what everyone else has said all along: VW's R32 may just be a Golf at heart, but it's still the best Golf ever, a fantastic all-arounder with quickness, agility and day-to-day livability. It may not have the edginess of the STi or Evo, which because they are also fast and AWD are often perceived as the R's main competition, but it makes up for the dearth of raw straight line acceleration with refinement, a ride that blends sport and comfort, and an appearance that doesn't scream "LOOK AT HOW FAST I AM!!!!" Rather it whispers seductively in your ear. C&D's editors actually seem to prefer the R32 to its "rivals", since not only can it keep up with them in the corners, it outperforms them in places like stopping and top gear acceleration. Figure about $30,000 to get into one of the 5000 brought to the U.S. for 2004.

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