New Volkswagen Golf – hatchback hero arrives with updated interior, engines and more

Facelifted hatchback gets an extensive list of upgrades, just in time for its 50th birthday

  • Exterior and interior tweaks
  • New plug-in hybrid engines
  • Golf GTI gets more power

You’re looking at the new Volkswagen Golf, facelifted for 2024 and coming in hot with a suite of changes both inside and out. We’d seen teasers earlier this year, but now the updated hatchback is free of camouflage and we can take a closer look at Volkswagen’s handiwork. 

The Golf turns 50 this year and still remains a popular choice in the hatchback market, despite the arrival of new, electric alternatives. Volkswagen will hope that the tweaks to the exterior, interior and engines are enough to keep buyers behind the wheel of one of Europe’s most popular cars.

What’s new for the 2024 Volkswagen Golf?

The new Golf has undergone some minor visual changes for this ‘Mk8.5’ generation, starting with a pair of new LED headlights that sit above a redesigned front bumper. Optional LED matrix headlights are available, and bring an illuminating VW badge and horizontal light strip along with them. The tail lights are new, complete with a 3D LED light arrangement.

There are five new alloy wheel designs, four new paint colours, and an optional contrasting black-painted roof for R-Line, GTE and GTI models.

Interior changes are minor, but most striking is the redesigned infotainment screen, which now sits as a free-standing unit rather than being integrated into the gauge cluster housing. It comes in two sizes – 10.4-inches as standard, 12.9-inches on top-spec models – and features new software with improved graphics, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Like the outgoing model, all Golfs are fitted with a 10.2-inch digital driver’s display, with a head-up display available at extra cost.

The steering wheel has had a rethink for this facelift – gone are the frustrating-to-use capacitive touch controls, replaced by traditional buttons. Volkswagen hasn’t followed the same approach for the volume and temperature controls on the dashboard, which both remain as touch-sensitive capacitive sliders, although they now illuminate to improve their usability at night.

What engines are available for the 2024 Volkswagen Golf?

As with the outgoing model, buyers aren’t short on engine choices for the new Golf. There are nine options to choose from – three petrols, two diesels, two mild hybrids and two plug-in hybrid.

The range starts with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, fitted as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox and available with either 113bhp or 148bhp. The other petrol engine is the 2.0-litre unit found in the Golf GTI. This has received a healthy 20bhp boost over the outgoing model, bringing peak power to 261bhp. The manual gearbox was dropped for the previous GTI and hasn’t made a return for this facelift.

The mild-hybrid options use the same 1.5-litre engine, plus a 48V electrical system to increase efficiency. Power is the same as the non-hybrid petrol engines, 113bhp and 148bhp, but Volkswagen’s seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox comes as standard.

The plug-in hybrid models look to be the most interesting, with more power and an improved electric-only range. The Golf eHybrid uses the 1.5-litre engine alongside a 19.7kWh battery and electric motor, bringing power to 201bhp. The sportier Golf GTE plug-in hybrid gets 268bhp from the same engine configuration, a 26bhp uplift over the outgoing model. Both send power through a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox and should achieve an electric range of around 60 miles.

The 2.0-litre diesel engines are carried over from the outgoing model, with power remaining unchanged at 113bhp and 148bhp. Facelifted Golf GTI Clubsport and Golf R models are set to appear later in the year, along with a four-wheel drive option for the 148bhp petrol engine.

What trim levels are available for the 2024 Volkswagen Golf?

There’s a new entry point to the range for 2024, simply named ‘Golf’. This model comes with automatic air conditioning, keyless go and the 10.4-inch infotainment display. ‘Life’, formally the cheapest Golf model, is the next step up, bringing chrome exterior trim, wireless smartphone charging, interior lighting and adaptive cruise control.

‘Style’ and ‘R-Line’ models sit at the top of the regular Golf lineup, adding 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded LED headlights with an illuminating VW badge, a rear-view camera and unique bumper designs.

As the top-spec, performance-oriented models, the Golf GTE and GTI come with sportier styling and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. There are sport seats on the inside, trimmed in a check pattern fabric that harks back to the original GTI, along with the bigger, 12.3-inch infotainment screen.

How much will the 2024 Volkswagen Golf cost and when can I order one?

There’s no word on pricing yet, so it remains to be seen whether the new entry-level ‘Golf’ trim will bring a lower starting price to the range. The first cars will reach dealerships this spring.

See what the new Golf is up against, in our list of the top 10 best hatchbacks…

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