Volkswagen’s Golf is a mainstay of fleets up and down the country. But does the latest iteration of this fleet favourite still make a safe bet?
With the launch of the ID-3 earlier this year, and the T-Roc in recent history, buyers in the compact class looking for a Volkswagen have more choice than ever – with the latest Golf hatchback still clamouring for a place.
Trim levels available at launch will include S, SE, SE-L and R-Line trim levels, alongside a GTE plug-in hybrid. GTD, GTI and R models will follow.
Upon first impressions, the new car remains recognisable as a Golf – with a few tweaks to update the design for this eighth generation. The bootlid has been redesigned with smaller light clusters and a concave shape, featuring the new Volkswagen logo revealed a few weeks ago. At the front, a full-width LED lightbar adds visual appeal on higher-spec trims, with the headlights now sitting below the bonnet line. They may be subtle changes, but they’re enough to freshen up the design. An optional LED matrix headlight system features 22 lights per headlight unit, which also includes the sliding indicator effect.
With pure electric now hived off into the ID range, every Golf available will feature some kind of combustion engine – and the brand has updated powertrains significantly.
A brand new 2.0-litre diesel engine offers 150 PS, available with either manual or DSG transmissions, and has Nox emissions reduced by up to 80% compared to its predecessor, thanks to an improved SCR system.
A pair of 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol models offer outputs of 90 – 150 PS in manual and automatic variants – including a new 6-speed manual gearbox.
An optional eTSI 48-volt mild hybrid setup paired with DSG gearbox will be available on models of 110 PS and above. Volkswagen claims fuel economy improvements of up to ten per cent over the standard engines.
The DSG gearbox is now fitted with a smaller gear controller, thanks to a shift by wire system.
In the UK, the GTE will be the only plug-in hybrid on offer, with a combined 245 PS from the 1.4 TSI petrol engine paired with an electric motor, and an estimated pure electric range of up to 40 miles.
In car technology
All cars for the UK market feature a digital instrument panel as standard, along with a 10-inch landscape infotainment screen in the centre of the dash. Physical buttons have been heavily reduced, with touch sensitive areas, improved voice control, and Amazon Alexa integration.
Standard safety features include Lane Assist, pedestrian protection, and Front Assist, with more autonomous features available the further up the range you go. Optional adaptive cruise control includes predictive speed detection, which anticipates road features and begins to reduce speed accordingly using GPS data.
The new Golf is the first vehicle to include Car2X, a new European standard that allows vehicles to communicate with each other. It can pass information on traffic jams, roadworks and breakdowns via a local, self generated network independent of mobile signals across an area up to 800m. The system is even designed to receive signals from emergency vehicles before they may be in sight.
A number of features will be available for upgrade once a car has been purchased, if not included in the trim level from new. Specification dependent, retrospective installation of adaptive cruise control, main beam assist, navigation, Android Auto and CarPlay, and wifi hotspot functionality can be purchased later and activated later in the vehicle’s life.
It’s unclear where this leaves drivers with BIK liability, but it’s welcome functionality nonetheless.
When will the new Golf go on sale?
Pricing and CO2 emissions will be announced in December, when ordering will commence. First deliveries of the new VW Golf will start in the Spring.