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, it 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.The Golf name is derived from the German word for Gulf Stream – and the period in its history when VW named vehicles after prominent winds, including also the Passat (after the German word for Trade wind), Jetta (after the Jet stream), Bora (after Bora) and Scirocco (after Sirocco). "Golf" is also a sport, a theme that is shared with the Volkswagen Polo.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.