We street check the all-new Volkswagen Golf – arguably probably the most vital launch of 2020 when it comes to gross sales…
After 45 years and greater than 35 million examples constructed, the eighth technology VW Golf is the newest incarnation of a legend.
Taking over the likes of the Ford Focus, Seat Leon, Kia Ceed, BMW 1 Sequence and Mercedes-Benz A-Class within the hotly-contested household hatchback sector, it’s a smooth evolution of the outgoing mannequin, which nonetheless managed to be the UK’s second best-selling automotive in 2019.
Simply as importantly for some, there’s additionally stacks of recent digital expertise obtainable, together with voice activated management, which lets you handle a complete vary of capabilities with out touching a button.
Initially obtainable in three trim ranges (Life, Type and R-Line), there’s a selection of petrol (with gentle hybrid choices) and diesel engines, plus a plug-in hybrid model to observe.
Decrease and sleeker than its predecessor, its slim LED headlights and modest grille give it a barely meaner search for entrance, however in any other case that acquainted profile is way the identical.
The brand new Golf is much extra revolutionary inside the place the traditional dashboard has been changed by a state-of-the-art minimalist look.
For starters, there are two huge screens – a 10-inch central infotainment system, that includes a customisable show, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as commonplace, plus a ten.25-inch digital instrument binnacle forward of the driving force (commonplace throughout the vary).
Extra controversially, just about all the standard switches have been changed by touch-sensitive surfaces. So, as an example, the temperature is adjusted by sliding a finger throughout a panel on the base of the principle show.
The Mark 8 Golf has an extended wheelbase, which provides as much as extra inside area. Rear seat passengers have by no means had it so good, whereas baggage area is a wholesome 380 litres with the seats up and 1,237 litres with them flipped down.
Nonetheless, there are a couple of too many laborious surfaces within the cabin for a automotive that’s at all times had extra of a premium really feel than its hatchback rivals.
Priced from £23,300, the brand new Golf is nicely outfitted, with entry-level Life spec automobiles getting 16-inch alloy wheels, plus LED headlights, entrance and rear parking sensors, and computerized air con. Customary security tech contains autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise management, velocity signal recognition and lane hold help.
The huge engine selection contains 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrols, 2.0-litre diesels and a swift plug-in hybrid (GTE) which develops 242bhp by way of its 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and electrical motor.
The three mild-hybrid variations of the petrol engines are known as eTSI. All of them use a small electrical motor and battery pack to spice up their standard engines and enhance gasoline financial system.
We examined the smaller of the two.0-litre diesels (113bhp) in entry-level Life trim, and with a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds and a prime velocity of 126mph, it’s no slouch.
Gas financial system of as much as 68.8mpg is claimed (55-60mpg is achievable in on a regular basis driving) and with CO2 emissions as little as 108g/km, it’s spectacular on paper.
The excellent news is that it appears sooner than the stats counsel and there’s no scarcity of grunt.
With this sort of financial system, the diesel is sensible in the event you do loads of motorway miles. In any other case, the super-efficient 1.5-litre (128bhp) petrol mannequin will do exactly wonderful.
It’s a disgrace that diesels have been demonised, as a result of as we speak’s technology are cleaner, extra economical and refined than ever, and the Golf is a shining instance.
Given the selection, we’d at all times go for VW’s very good seven-speed DSG computerized gearbox, however the six-speed guide on our automotive was nicely matched with a easy motion and quick throw.
Steering is sharp, whereas journey high quality is on the agency facet, however good. Whether or not you’re on the lookout for a motorway cruiser, a frugal commuter or a sensible on a regular basis automotive, the Golf ticks all the proper containers. It’s surprisingly entertaining when pushed too.
Our solely gripe is the fussy touchscreen tech. Sure, the design is clear, however these methods work finest with shortcut buttons under.
As a substitute we get gesture-controlled sliders for adjusting the local weather management, as an example, which can be triggered when accessing the touchscreen for the multitude of different primary capabilities.
As for the “Good day Volkswagen” voice assistant characteristic.. as ever with these methods, it’s hit or miss. Give me Google’s Android Automotive (as fitted to Polestar 2, any day).
To summarise, the Golf’s digital interface appears to be like cool, however usability – and presumably security – have been compromised.
Verdict: The all-new Volkswagen Golf is extra refined, spacious and linked than ever. Add wonderful gasoline financial system and critical badge attraction, and it’s bought success written throughout it. Simply ensure you obtain a masterclass in utilizing the infotainment system earlier than leaving the showroom.