Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Fancy a brand new VW Golf Mk8 after lockdown?
We've got one for six months - follow our journey and experiences here..

Report by Percy Lawman - Senior Product Content Manager

I can’t think of a better car to cuddle up and get intimate with after 14 months of lockdown than a real family favourite – the VW Golf. While it’s not been around quite as long as the post-war forces radio show, it probably has as many, if not more, enthusiastic followers.

The Golf is now in its eighth iteration and is battling for the honours in one of motoring’s most hotly-contested arenas.

VW Golf 1.5TSi 150 R-Line

Mention the word ‘family hatchback’ and hard-hitting gladiators like the Ford Focus [which won Parkers ‘Best Small Family Car’ in the 2020 New Car Awards], Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Skoda’s Octavia and the SEAT Leon are familiar names that frequently slog it out and jostle for the top trophies so it’s a blisteringly-hot and intense place to be.

My new partner for the next six months is KY70 BHA, a 1.5 TSi 150 Golf R-Line [2021 model year], with a six-speed manual gearbox and finished in a wonderful ‘Moonstone Grey’ colour guise. It’s nothing like ‘Battleship Grey’ but has an intense zing about it. Parked outside on the drive, early impressions from passers-by seem to be very encouraging - the colour is the most talked about aspect and always in a positive light. When in town it seems to be a frequent head-turner.

VW Golf 1.5TSi 150 R-Line side view

Coupled with the great colour scheme, the car is fitted with some of the lowest profile tyres I’ve seen for a while. All four wheels sport premium Bridgestone ‘Turanza’ 225/40 R18 rubber which are fitted to optional 18 inch ‘Bergamo’ alloys. This makes for a really low profile and there’s only a couple of centimetres from the tarmac to the rim edge. Even so, there’s plenty of fresh air between the tyre and the wheel arch should you hit that dreaded pothole and give the suspension system a work out. Yes, it sits very low and certainly looks the part but owners should be aware and steer clear of those dreaded high kerbs.

VW Golf 1.5TSi 150 R-Line 18'' alloys

Whilst we are talking options, our Golf brags an additional rear-view camera, climate control, head-up display, IQ LED ‘Matrix’ lights, winter pack, digital key prep and DCC [Dynamic Chassis Control]. The later I’m looking forward to seeing how the Golf can pick its way a multitude of driving scenarios from potholed back roads to fast ‘A’ roads and sweeping corners. It certainly promises to be a great ride!

Whilst I’ve yet to take the car on any really serious jaunt, a brief run down the A1 on a 100-mile round trip gave me my first initial driving impressions. As big alloys and low-profile tyres were the order of the day, the car as expected, liked the ‘fast-road’ scenario. It felt brisk but not quick, probably not helped by a brand new ‘tight’ engine and big wheels. The engine required a reasonable amount of work to achieve the desired result. Normally, new engines loosen up and become more responsive after a few thousand miles have been covered and we’d expect the same here.

Road noise was manageable but the chunky tyres and big rims made for an increase of a few dB’s but nothing that was difficult to live with. We’ll report back more in a future update when we’ll test the DCC in more varying and aggressive environments - especially those great UK potholed backroads.

VW Golf 1.5TSi 150 R-Line front

We’ll also be cramming plenty of shopping into the not-so-large boot. Even so, at 381 litres it’s over 100 litres larger than the Ford Focus at 273. When you’re not talking huge amounts of space, 108 extra litres can’t be sniffed at.

All-in-all the Mark 8 Golf looks to have got off to a great start and on the surface seems to cementing its place again into family hatch history. It's jam-packed with modern tech and during the next six months we’ll enjoy getting under the skin of one of the country’s most popular cars, finding out what we like and what doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Percy Lawman - 30th April 2021