Volkswagen’s Golf is a stalwart of the hatchback segment. Ever since it made its debut in 1974, millions have been sold worldwide, perpetuating the ‘Volks Wagen’ (people’s car) ethos of the Beetle it replaced. It’s the manufacturer’s most popular car, and one of three regularly cited as being the most prolific automobile ever. In fact, in the 45 years until 2019, 35 million units were shifted – that’s one every four seconds, or 780,000 a year.
Suffice to say it’s popular – incredibly so, and replacing it every eight years or so presents a massive challenge for Volkswagen. Thankfully, even though the new Golf is loaded with so much more tech than its predecessor, the pricing structure hasn’t gone mental.
The base Golf Life, with a 1.5-litre, 130PS engine starts from £23,875, with a 150PS version available for £24,475. A 2.0-litre, 115PS turbo-diesel Golf Life will set you back £24,875.
Above the Golf Life you’ll find the Golf Style. You can have the same engines as the Style for £25,470, £26,090 and £26,470 respectively, or a 150PS version of the diesel for £29,170. All but the higher-powered diesel will be paired to a six-speed manual ‘box, while the aforementioned engine benefits from a seven-speed DSG transmission as standard. The sportier R-Line trim is expected to arrive at a later date, with more engines promised over the coming months, including a smaller, 1.0-litre petrol and eTSI 48V mild-hybrids based on the 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrols.
While the Golf 8 GTI will debut at Geneva next month GTE, GTD, range-topping Golf R, and estate versions will arrive later this year.
Volkswagen claim the 8 to be its most connected car yet, not just the most advanced Golf, with its cutting-edge Car2X technology allowing communication with other similarly-equipped vehicles and connected ‘street furniture’, thus pre-empting hazards such as stationary traffic and approaching emergency vehicles. Other safety measures include Adaptive Cruise Control, a Driver Alert System, Dynamic Road Sign Display, Lane Assist and Front Assist, plus pedestrian protection measures.
The Golf Life is expected to be the more popular trim, and features Volkswagen’s Innovision Cockpit, a 10.25-inch Active Info Display, plus a 10-inch touch-screen infotainment system, which includes USB and Bluetooth connectivity with Wireless App-Connect and a three-year subscription to We Connect Plus. The latter offers media streaming, parking information and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. Also included is a wireless charging function and an informal voice control.
In terms of equipment, the lower spec includes 16-inch ‘Norfolk’ alloy wheels and automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and keyless start, among others. As standard, the Style specification adds 17-inch ‘Belmont’ alloy wheels, LED ‘Plus’ headlights, “3Zone” climate control, sports comfort seats and ‘Luxury Brown Wood’ decorative inserts.
Volkswagen’s IQ.Light LED-matrix headlight system is an £875 option, adding specific lighting modes for the city, motorway and poor weather. A £625 head-up display is also available.
Across all models, Volkswagen’s XDS electronic differential lock is now standard, while Dynamic Chassis Control is a £950 option, bringing adaptive dampers to tailor the car’s handling to ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Individual’ modes.