New engine line-up and colour pallet manage to keep the Volkswagen Golf at the top of its game

“New engine line-up and colour pallet manage to keep the Volkswagen Golf at the top of its game

  • Great all-rounder

  • Wide choice of engines, body  styles and trim levels

  • Good reliability and resale values

95%

Overall Rating

  • Not the most original choice

  • Can get pricey

  • Standard kit could be better

Overall Rating

Overview

The Volkswagen Golf has been given a midlife facelift. It’s not a car that the German giants have ever needed any help shifting, having sold over 136,000 of them in Ireland alone. But as with anything else in life, if you want to stay at the top of your game, you need to keep things fresh.

Differences in the exterior are subtle to say the least. Volkswagen probably figured that since we liked the last one so much, they shouldn’t do too much messing around there. There have some minor enhancements all the same. The taillights are now full LED, the headlights stretch ever so slightly further back, and a new chrome strip above the air intake features on all models except the entry-level Trendline.

The more exciting developments take place under the hood. The new Golf is now available with an impressively powerful 1.0-litre turbo-charged petrol engine. Then there’s the new colour pallet, and in a completely unforeseen turn of events, Volkswagen have somehow managed to convince us that buying a yellow car isn’t actually such a terrible idea after all.

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Interior Gallery

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Space & Practicality

It’s the same size car it’s always been, which for many people, seems to be just the right one. It’s compact on the outside, but spacious on the inside. The boxy shape means plenty of headroom all round, and even backseat passengers get a generous amount of legroom. Although as with most cars in this class, the middle seat passenger won’t be as comfortable as the rest. The boot measures in at a respectable 380 litres. It has a completely flat load area when you fold the rear seats, and no load lip making it nice and easy to slide things in and out.

Back in the cabin there are plenty of cupholders, as well as lots of other nooks and crannys to stash the essentials. What’s particularly nice about the storage in the Golf is how well finished it all is. The glovebox is felt-lined, as are the door bins, and even the central storage area is lined with rubber, so that nothing rattles about when you’re out on the road.

Performance & Running Costs

Nothing at all, even the three cylinder engine under the hood. That’s right, powering our test car was a teeny tiny one-litre petrol engine. The difference between this one and the one you probably learned to drive in however, is that Volkswagen have thrown in a big turbocharger. This helps it to develop 110 bhp, and generally feel like much faster and more powerful car. Running costs are diesel-esque with an impressive claimed fuel economy of just 4.9l per 100km and an annual motor tax bill of just €200.

Now it won’t suit everybody and you will notice a significant drop in that fuel economy once you meet the higher end of those motorway speed limits. So while it’s probably still not the right option for those with longer commutes, for those who do mainly urban and city driving, it might just be all the Golf you ever need.

There’s also a larger yet surprisingly efficient 150hp 1.4l TSI, and of course the existing range of well-tested diesels, but the improvement in petrol performance is definitely the big news with this facelift.

Another thing that hasn’t changed too much is the quality of the drive, and the Golf is still as reassuring and composed on the road as ever before. The spot-on suspension, perfectly weighted steering and quiet, comfortable cabin make it a very pleasant way to get around. It’s also no doubt a huge part of the reason behind the Golf’s forty-year reign over the C segment.

Equipment & Safety

Four decades has seen the Golf live through and adapt to some huge developments in in-car technology, and a lot of the time be the first to do so. This new Golf is no different and now benefits from a new and improved range of infotainment systems. The touchscreens are larger, smarter and glossier than before and the cabin can now be fitted with an Audi-esque digital instrument cluster.

That is standard on the top-spec highline model, which also gets some other nice features like park distance control, 17 inch alloy wheels and sports seats.

It makes for an attractive package, but most Golf customers tend to go for the mid-spec Comfortline model which still gets pretty much everything you need. Highlights include the eight-inch touchscreen display, slightly smaller 16 inch wheels, Climatronic air-conditioning and Adaptive cruise control.

The Golf retains its full 5 star NCAP safety score and is now available with more driver-assisting features than ever before including automatic lighting, driver fatigue alert and voice control.

Reliability & Residuals

Other reasons you might buy a Golf are its great reputation for reliability and its famously strong resale values. It might not be the most original choice in the world, but it is one that will always make a lot of sense. Even in yellow.

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