VW GOLF GETS A 2017 MAKEOVER TO RETAIN FAMILY HATCHBACK CROWN
After over 40 years, Volkswagen’s Golf is still the family hatchback champ. As Paul Connolly reports, it has just been given a mid-life refresh to bring it up-to-date again
WITH more than 33 million total sales so far, it’s no exaggeration to say that the VW Golf is the family hatchback to beat them all.
Seven generations in, it’s still blazing a trail — even if its competitors are constantly improving and snapping at its heels.
Never one to rest on their laurels, Volkswagen has now given the Golf a significant facelift.
The fact that it follows just 36 months since sales began of the seventh-generation Golf is a major indicator of just how much VW has maintained its lead for the last four decades: constant refinement and attention to detail.
WHAT’S NEW? The latest model, available in showrooms now, has had a significant refresh to ensure it keeps its place at the top of the class.
So, what’s been changed? Well, the original changes to the Mk 7 Golf saw it based on VW’S MQB platform which brought it bang up to date in terms of performance, handling, comfort, economy, efficiency and technology.
That meant it was a significant improvement over the Mk 6 car. There was a huge choice of engines and some lovely alternative choices like the diesel GTD, the sporty GTI and the very hot Golf R.
All of which means that the latest changes come on top of already-significant alterations for the Mk 7.
But no car is perfect, and there some elements where the Golf ’s rivals excel, so VW has felt the need to bring the MK7 car up to date.
EXTERIOR CHANGES Let’s start with the outside: all updated models have fancy LED run-
ning lights at the front and full LED rear lights. These sit above the re-profiled front and rear bumpers that develop the Golf ’s mature exterior styling.
There are also fresh body colours and all-new alloy wheel designs.
There are also new bumpers front and rear, new halogen headlights and new front wings.
Included in the very comprehensive engine line-up is Volkswagen’s new 1.5-litre turbocharged EVO engine that uses clever Active Cylinder Management technology to shut the engine down during coasting, thus saving fuel.
This engine is available in 130 PS Bluemotion specification and as a 150 PS unit. CABIN REFINEMENTS There are further refinements inside the cabin. The infotainment screens are now larger across the whole range, with every Golf featuring a colour touchscreen that is at least eight-inches across.
Available as an option is the 9.2-inch Discover Navigation Pro infotainment system, which features voice control and gesture control amongst a range of other functions and features.
Gesture control is something that is perhaps a bit gimmicky. When it works, it’s great and Volkswagen’s is one of the best around. Volkswagen say the new Golf is the first car in its class to offer it.
This is part of a long VW tradition of innovating first in the Golf, including Anti-lock Brakes (1986), airbags (1992) and Electronic Stability Control (1999).
TRIM CHOICES The line-up retains a familiar — if rather lengthy — feel, beginning in the hatchback range with S and rising through SE, SE Nav, GT, R-line, GTE, GTE Advance, e- Golf, GTD and GTD Blueline to GTI, GTI Performance and, ultimately, R. The estate family offers generous choice, too, with S, SE, SE Nav, GT and GTD and GTD Blueline models being joined by Alltrack and R.
SAFETY The facelifted car also deploys the latest in safety technologies, some of which are optional.
Depending on model, these include: City Emergency Braking with new pedestrian monitoring (Front Assist); a new Traffic Jam Assist that offers semi-automated driving at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 km/h); and Emergency Assist which is also new to this segment. Emergency Assist notices if the driver is incapacitated and initiates various measures to rouse them in escalating stages culminating, if the driver remains inactive, in carrying out an emergency stop.
VALUE FOR MONEY The new Golf range costs from £18,665 for a three-door Golf S 1.4 TSI manual to £34,985 for a Golf R Estate 2.0-litre TSI. GTI models range from £27,865 to £29,935.
New body colours and alloy wheel styles have been added in an updated version of the seventh generation VW Golf
The Golf’s updated interior has voice control and gesture control among its offerings