Say hello to the new Volkswagen Golf. Well, I say ‘new’ but, really, it’s just been tweaked.
As you can see, it looks very similar to the current Golf. The big changes are more to do with engines and technology. Starting with the engines, the headline powertrain is the new four-cylinder 1.5-litre ‘TSI Evo’ which offers either 128bhp or 148bhp. To save fuel, it has the ability to shut off two of the cylinders with the BlueMotion version claiming 61.4mpg. That’s not bad at all for a petrol engine. As impressive as this engine is, a 1.6-litre diesel is expected to be the best-seller even after the scandal that has overshadowed the company for the last year.
If, like me, you’re more interested in the Golf GTI you’ll be pleased to know that it’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre TSI has been given a bit of an upgrade, too. Before, the GTI with the Performance Pack kicked out 227bhp – That’s now the basic engine. The new Performance pack produces 242bhp which is considerably closer to the 286bhp Clubsport but not so close that it’s stepping on its toes.
A new seven-speed DSG will be rolled out across the Golf range to replace the current six-speed. This is expected to be available in the GTI, too. A six-speed manual is still available.
The other big news is the new safety and tech features. Semi-automated Traffic Jam Assist is a new option that will brake, accelerate and steer at any speed below 37mph as long as both hands are on the steering wheel. Self-parking has been upgraded with Trailer Assist, an option that’ll park your Golf and whatever you’re towing into a bay.
A lot of the changes revolve around what Volkswagen are calling the ‘digitisation’ of the Golf. A new range of infotainment systems has been announced, each with a bigger screen. The top-of-the-range system is the new 9.2-inch screen with gesture control – that’s a first for the small hatchback class.
The new infotainment units will also connect to your phone or tablet so that they can be controlled remotely. Google Earth and street view can be opened up via your phone or tablet and displayed on the screen. It works the other way round, too, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remaining available. The facelifted Volkswagen Golf also comes with ‘Active Info Display’ which is pretty much their own version of Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’. If you buy a GTI or GTE, the display is completely customisable and gets extra graphics.
Other changes are styling related. The new Golf comes with updated headlights and taillights. Optional Xenons at the front are replaced by optional LEDs and the taillights are now LEDs throughout the range. If you tick the right option boxes, you’ll also be able to get scrolling ‘animated indicators’ which is something I have wanted to see on the Golf for a long time.
Other visual differences include the new exhausts seen on the R-Line Golf and the Golf Estate. The twin exhausts are similar to those seen on the current R-Line Passat Estate. The GTI now comes with a more pronounced red line through the grill and LED headlights as standard. It also has a new rear bumper and larger exhaust pipes. Similar changes can be found on the GTE although the red trims are swapped for blue, as they are on the current range.
Prices are yet to be announced but you can expect there to be at least a small increase on the current price. Sales start in February. What do you think of the new range? Let us know in the comments section below or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.