The Volkswagen Gol is a subcompact car manufactured by Volkswagen do Brasil since 1980 as Volkswagen's entry-level car in the South American market—where it succeeded the South American VW Beetle (Fusca). Variants of the Gol were marketed in North America as the Volkswagen Fox from 1987–1993—and manufactured and marketed in Iran under the Gol nameplate.
The Gol takes its name from the Brazilian Portuguese word for "goal."
The Gol family comprises many body styles.
A 3 and 5 door hatchback which takes the name VW Gol in most countries; in Mexico, Egypt and Russia it has been called the VW Pointer. The first-generation Gol was offered only as a three-door; a five-door version was added in 1997.
A sedan produced only for the first generation. The Brazilian-built two-door and four-doors sedans were called the VW Voyage and Argentinian-built ones VW Gacel; the nameplate VW Fox was used in the United States and Canada. After a facelift in 1991, Argentinian-built models were renamed the VW Senda. For the second generation this model was replaced by the Volkswagen Polo Mk 3 Classic, which is still sold in Mexico and Argentina. But a new Voyage notchback sedan returned in the G5 generation.
VW Parati is a station wagon built on both generations since May 1982. The Parati I was a three-door sold in North America as the Fox Wagon. The second-generation Parati is sold in Argentina as the Gol Country.
VW Saveiro is a lightweight pickup truck. All Gol generations have been sold with this body, and was introduced to the market in September 1984. It is named after a traditional Brazilian fishing boat.
The VW Furgão is a lightweight panel van based on the Gol.
Gol G1 (1980–1994)
The Gol was released in 1980 to replace the Brasilia, which was in turn a replacement to the Beetle in the Brazilian market. It was based on its own unique BX automobile platform derived from the existing VW/Audi B1 and B2 platforms. With a design specific to Latin America, the Gol featured the 1.3-liter air-cooled, H4 engine from the Beetle, but front-mounted. A 1.6-litre engine was added later. In the mid 1980s, this engine was replaced by 1.6 and 1.8-litre longitudinally-mounted water-cooled gasoline I4 engines from the Passat. A 1.6-litre Diesel engine was made only for export (Diesel engines are not allowed in cars in Brazil).
The first generation (or "G1") Gol had two mild facelifts in 1987 and 1991. The 1988 Gol GTi was the first Brazilian-built car to use fuel injection. The 2.0-liter I4 engine was the same used by the Santana.
GT 1.8 (1984–86)
The Gol GT 1.8 was the BX family's first sports version and an answer to the Ford Escort XR3, a successful sports car in Brazilian market. With a 1.8 liter engine borrowed from Santana (MkII Passat), the Gol GT was much faster than the Escort XR3, but externally did not have the same beauty. First series still had a 4-speed gearbox, soon changed to a 5-speed (both manual).
GTS 1.8 (1987–1994)
Successor of Gol GT, the GTS had an updated design, following the new 87 BX line up style and also featuring new accessories that were not available before, such as rear spoiler and side skirts. The 1.8 liter engine produced 94 hp (70 kW) running on gasoline or 99 hp (74 kW) running on ethanol. The GTS was a very successful model and was kept in production alongside with the upcoming GTI.
The Voyage 2-door sedan variant of the Gol was released in June 1981 with a 1.5 inline watercooled gasoline engine. The same engine was offered with an ethanol option.
By May 1982 the 1.5 were upgraded to 1.6. In 1984 a watercooled 1.8 was launched as a higher level option.
In January 1983 the four-door sedan was released. It was known as VW Amazon in some export markets, with diesel engines.
Gol (Fox) in North America 1987–1993
Volkswagen Group of America marketed variants of the Gol (manufactured by Volkswagen do Brasil) in North America as entry level models from 1987-93 under the Volkswagen Fox nameplate. Initially offered as a two-door and four-door sedan as well as a two-door wagon, the wagon was discontinued for model year 1991 along with the two-door sedan for the Canadian market. That same year the four-door sedan (as well as the two-door, in the US) received a mild restyling.
All North American models employed a longitudinally-mounted straight-4 1.8 L gasoline engine producing 81 hp (60 kW) at 5500 rpm and 93 lb·ft (126 N·m) at 3250 rpm.
Early models (1987–1989) featured Bosch CIS-E type Jetronic electro-mechanical fuel injection, using an oxygen sensor to assist in fuel management. Later models (1990–1993) employed Bosch Digifant electronic fuel injection. In Canada from 1987–1989 it was offered with the simpler Bosch CIS fuel injection system without an oxygen sensor for the engine fuel management system.
Over the course of its model history, trim levels included base Fox, GL, GTS, GLS, GL Sport, Polo, and a Wolfsburg Edition. Options included air conditioning, five-speed (vs. four) manual transmission and metallic paint. No automatic transmission was offered. The GL trim featured revised cloth trim, rear license plate backing, ceiling-mounted map light, glove compartment light, trunk light, tachometer [except on wagon models], body-coloured bumpers, hubcaps, passenger side exterior rear view mirror, 175/70-13 tires, locking gas cap and 3-point rear seat belts.
The 1991 facelift included revised grill, headlights, turn signals, badges, and hubcaps—as well as reduction of towing hooks to two from four. Later North American models featured "automatic" non-motorized front seat shoulder belts along with a knee-bar and manual front lap belts.