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

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - PAUL CON­NOLLY


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

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