New Volkswagen Golf facelift brings minor tweaks and ChatGPT

We take a look at the initial images of the facelifted Golf, biggest changes reserved for the interior

  • Bigger infotainment screen
  • ChatGPT integration
  • Full reveal in late January

Despite introducing a host of new electric vehicles over the past few years, including the ID.3 and ID.Buzz, Volkswagen hasn’t forgotten about its original hatchback, the Golf, which will receive a mid-life facelift later this year.

Currently in its eighth generation, the Golf continues to sell in vast quantities, and Volkswagen will be hoping to ensure it stays competitive against family-car rivals with this latest update. These teaser photos from Volkswagen provide a glimpse at what to expect from the updated hatchback before its full reveal later this month.

What’s new with the facelifted Volkswagen Golf?

Volkswagen has only provided a few teaser photos so far, but the most notable change we can spot is the Golf’s new interior. The infotainment screen appears to have grown in size from the 10.25-inch unit found in the current Golf, now sitting separately from the main instrument cluster.

One of our main gripes with the current VW Golf is the lack of physical buttons for important controls, such as the heating and volume. While the new Golf doesn’t appear to have addressed this issue, the touch-sensitive slider controls are now at least backlit, which should improve usability. There’s more ambient lighting to spruce up the cabin, though it’s unclear whether this will feature across the Golf lineup or stay limited to the high-spec GTI model pictured.

One interesting new feature arriving with the new Golf is the inclusion of an artificial intelligence chatbot: ChatGPT. We’ve seen this cutting-edge tech previously in the DS 4 hatchback, but it will be the first time it’s been used in a Volkswagen. Drivers will be able to control functions such as climate control and navigation by speaking to the system, which Volkswagen claims is “a uniquely intelligent, automotive-grade ChatGPT integration.” 

It’s hard to discern any exterior changes so far, with the funky blue and purple camouflage doing a good job at hiding any tweaks, but it’s unlikely there will be any major differences to the body of the new Golf. The headlights and tail lights are expected to be redesigned, along with the front grille and bumper.

There’s no word yet on engine choices for the new Golf, but Volkswagen has stated it will be available with “new assist systems and powertrains”, likely bringing more power to top-spec GTI and R models, and better efficiency for regular versions.

What does this mean for car buyers?

Anyone looking to buy a new hatchback will likely have the Volkswagen Golf on their shopping list. With the iconic car now entering its 50th year of production, it’s both practical and economical while providing a fun and surefooted driving experience. This mid-life facelift brings minor changes to the Golf, but we expect them to incrementally improve upon the already highly-refined family car recipe that has proven popular for so many years.

Volkswagen will fully reveal the facelifted Golf towards the end of January, with prices and technical details to follow before it hits UK showrooms later in the year.

To find out what the facelifted Golf will be up against, read our top 10 list of the best hatchbacks…

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