Automotive

VW aims to reset the benchmark with touchy-feely new Golf

VW aims to reset the benchmark...
A new TSI Evo engine headlines the new Golf lineup
A new TSI Evo engine headlines the new Golf lineup
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The refreshed Volkswagen Golf family 
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The refreshed Volkswagen Golf family 
A new TSI Evo engine headlines the new Golf lineup
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A new TSI Evo engine headlines the new Golf lineup
There are new headlamps to make the Golf look a bit fancier
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There are new headlamps to make the Golf look a bit fancier
The Golf range sits on nicer wheels than before
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The Golf range sits on nicer wheels than before
The Golf will be available as a three or five door hatch
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The Golf will be available as a three or five door hatch
The new Golf will be on show at the Los Angeles Motor Show
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The new Golf will be on show at the Los Angeles Motor Show
The yellow of this car is a new color for the Golf
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The yellow of this car is a new color for the Golf
The new daytime running lights on the Golf help it fit in with the rest of the VW range
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The new daytime running lights on the Golf help it fit in with the rest of the VW range
Volkswagen has gone touch-heavy for the new Golf interior
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Volkswagen has gone touch-heavy for the new Golf interior
A 9.2-inch display features in the cabin of the new Golf
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A 9.2-inch display features in the cabin of the new Golf
The new VW Golf is up against the stiffest competition it has ever faced
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The new VW Golf is up against the stiffest competition it has ever faced
The Golf GTE uses a hybrid powertrain to hit 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds
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The Golf GTE uses a hybrid powertrain to hit 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds
The Golf GTE has unique daytime running lights to set it apart from the regular range of VWs
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The Golf GTE has unique daytime running lights to set it apart from the regular range of VWs
The new Golf is cleaner and more powerful than the model it replaces
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The new Golf is cleaner and more powerful than the model it replaces
Although there's more touch tech, the Golf's cabin is still unmistakably a VW
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Although there's more touch tech, the Golf's cabin is still unmistakably a VW
The tartan trim on the Golf GTE seats is a modernized take on a VW staple
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The tartan trim on the Golf GTE seats is a modernized take on a VW staple
The Golf GTI is faster than the car it replaces
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The Golf GTI is faster than the car it replaces
The new Golf GTI  is as powerful as the old Performance Pack model
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The new Golf GTI  is as powerful as the old Performance Pack model
The new VW Golf GTI doesn't mess with the formula too much
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The new VW Golf GTI doesn't mess with the formula too much
The wheels on the GTI look like those from the 40th Anniversary special
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The wheels on the GTI look like those from the 40th Anniversary special
The large central touchscreen in the GTI can be used to display performance information
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The large central touchscreen in the GTI can be used to display performance information
The Golf Wagon runs with the same range of engines as the hatch
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The Golf Wagon runs with the same range of engines as the hatch
In Europe, the Golf Wagon is called the "Variant"
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In Europe, the Golf Wagon is called the "Variant"
The new Golf Wagon is more handsome than before
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The new Golf Wagon is more handsome than before
New taillights lend a sharper edge to the rear of the car
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New taillights lend a sharper edge to the rear of the car
View gallery - 25 images

Few nameplates in the automotive world carry the same weight as the Golf. The Volkswagen hatch has been the segment benchmark since it launched back in 1974, but the seventh-generation model is up against increasingly tough competition from the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Renault. To make sure it stays ahead of the game, VW has given the Golf a comprehensive refresh, with a new touch-heavy interior and a prettier face.

Although the design team in Wolfsburg has worked on the exterior, the biggest changes to the Golf are on the inside, so that's where we're going to start. Volkswagen has been using its recent concept cars to experiment with touchscreens and button-free interfaces, experiments culminating in the cockpit you see below.

The tartan trim on the Golf GTE seats is a modernized take on a VW staple
The tartan trim on the Golf GTE seats is a modernized take on a VW staple

Base model cars make do with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, but range-toppers will come with a whopping 9.2-inch display which can be controlled using voice inputs or, for the first time in a VW, gesture control. Drivers are able to scroll through menus, browse song lists and rearrange the home screen without actually touching it, with an audio prompt confirming things are working as they should.

Unlike BMW, Volkswagen won't let drivers answer calls or control the audio volume using gestures, so it'll be interesting to compare which system feels more intuitive and useful.

The refreshed Golf is now available with the full virtual cockpit system that debuted in the Audi TT. It replaces the traditional speedo and rev counter with a fully customizable 12.3-inch display, which can be set up to look like a regular instrument cluster, or put into modes prioritizing navigation and infotainment.

The tech-heavy overhaul extends to the range of active driver assists on offer. Hidden behind the big VW badge on the hood is a radar sensor, giving the Golf the ability to keep its lane and stay with stop-start traffic up to 60 km/h (37 mph) with no driver input. When the driver is in control, the car is able to sense when they fall asleep and, if a gentle nudge isn't enough to wake them up, will gently pull the car to a stop within its lane.

The yellow of this car is a new color for the Golf
The yellow of this car is a new color for the Golf

Underpinning the updated Golf is a range of cleaner, more powerful powertrains. The jewel in the new-engine crown is the four-cylinder TSI Evo, making 110 kW (148 hp) of power and 250 Nm (184 lb.ft) of torque. Peak torque is available from just 1,500 rpm and cylinder deactivation helps the TSI Evo return a claimed 4.9 l/100 km (57.6 mpg) on the New European Drive Cycle.

Moving up the range, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the GTI has been boosted from 162 kW (217 hp) to 169 kW (227 hp), while cars fitted with the Performance Package now make 180 kW (241 hp), enough to keep it competitive with upstart hot hatches like the Peugeot 308 GTi. There's also a hybrid GTE, good for a 7.6 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) thanks to a 150 kW (201 hp) powertrain.

The refreshed Volkswagen Golf family 
The refreshed Volkswagen Golf family 

Regardless of which engine is fitted, the refreshed Golf has a prettier face than before. It's still not what you'd call beautiful, but the hint of extra flair applied to the front end does make it look a bit less Germanic and boring. Down back there are slimmer taillights, and the whole range sits on fancier wheels than the cars they replace.

The refreshed Volkswagen Golf will be up for preorder in December this year. A new version of the e-Golf will make its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show, where New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action.

Source: Volkswagen

View gallery - 25 images
2 comments
KaiserPingo
But why should we trust them..., this time... ?
DavidRogerBrown
Surely,no diesels for the U.S. market. With all the recalls for all the manufacturers,how does one trust any of them?