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Volkswagen dials up the tech for new Golf

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback Review Video
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PROS

  • Wide range of engines to suit most drivers
  • Promise of more involving handling
  • High-tech interior and 'We Connect' services
  • Practical and spacious 

CONS

  • Digital cockpit might put off technophobes
  • No electric version this time around
  • Rear torsion beam on cheaper cars
  • Small improvements to passenger and boot space

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback rivals

Written by Adam Binnie on

You might be thinking that we’ve already had a new Golf, but that was merely an update of the seventh-generation car. This is the new, eighth-generation car and as always with VW’s bestselling hatchback, it’s kind of a big deal.

It tackles rivals like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and BMW 1 Series with a simply enormous range of engines -petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid, with separate performance variants of each.

No electric version this time

Conspicuous in its absence from that list is a battery powered Golf, as those duties are now taken care of by the similarly sized – but fully electric – ID.3.

Small hardship though because it comes with a wide range of drivetrains to suit all (well, most) buyers, from traditional 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrols and 2.0-litre diesels, to a range of petrol engines boosted by 48v mild-hybrid tech and even a plug-in hybrid.

There is the choice of a new six-speed manual gearbox, or a DSG automatic, the latter now featuring a dinky Porsche-style gear switch in place of a lever, freeing up space in the centre console for storage.

Arriving later are performance versions of those – the GTI, GTI TCR and R petrols, the GTD diesel and the GTE plug-in hybrid.

Revolution in interior design

Following VW’s established trim structure, the Golf is set to be available in Golf, Life, Style and sporty-looking R-Line trims. All come with LED headlamps and tail lights – offering differing levels of sophistication, including matrix-style adaptive units.

VW Golf 2020 interior

Inside, a pair of screens and banks of touchpads replace conventional dials and physical buttons. All versions feature a 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit display, plus a 10-inch infotainment screen, with VW’s new connectivity packages – We Connect and We Connect Plus.

These allow owners to locate and unlock the car using a smartphone, as well as control and determine a number of its functions including its climate control and when the next service is due, while We Connect Plus (free-of-charge for the first three years) adds things like over-the-air sat-nav map updates, WiFi hotspot and the ability to receive deliveries straight to your car.

Subtle changes to exterior styling

VW doesn’t usually break the mould when it comes to Golf design and as such the new car is an evolution of the old one, with the biggest change in the front end.

Whereas previous Golfs have featured headlights and grilles that cut into the leading edge of the bonnet-line, on the Mk8 they hang below, with a very slender upper air intake.

Constructed using the latest version of the Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB underpinnings, the Mk8 Golf is longer, lower and narrower than before. The wheelbase is marginally longer but passenger and luggage space remain largely unchanged.

When does it arrive? 

First customer deliveries are in spring 2020, with the GTE arriving by the summer. All other models mentioned, but not yet revealed, will find their way into showrooms throughout the second half of 2020.

Read on to find out more about this game-changing hatchback.

Dealwatch special

Our leasing partner, ZenAuto is offering previous-generation Golfs from £281 per month. The usual terms and conditions apply.*

View deal

*These deals are indicative examples of some packages available as of 2 January 2020 but are subject to change without prior notice. Everyone's financial circumstances are different, and the availability of credit is subject to status. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. Bauer Consumer Media Limited is an appointed representative of ZenAuto Limited for the broking of regulated hire agreements. ZenAuto Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ZenAuto Limited's registered office is Number One, Great Exhibition Way, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds LS5 3BF. ZenAuto Limited's company registration number is 10967345. ZenAuto is the trading name of ZenAuto Limited. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback rivals

Other Volkswagen Golf models: