Volkswagen Golf R hatchback - Interior & comfort
The options list was extensive and expensive, but since the VW Golf R was well equipped to begin with, buyers didn't need to get carried away
Ignore its technical features and that single-letter badge and the Volkswagen Golf R is just another Golf, which means Volkswagen has had seven generations to get the interior basics spot-on. There are some special R touches to distinguish it from lesser models, but otherwise it’s restrained, classy and – as you’d expect for a VW – very well made.
Volkswagen Golf R dashboard
The dashboard is a sober-looking but well organized and beautifully finished affair. It’s dominated by a meaty flat-bottomed leather steering wheel incorporating the usual stereo and trip-computer controls, plus other functions. It adjusts for reach and rake, too. In combination with the front sports seats, which have height and lumbar adjustment, you can find the perfect driving position with ease.
The latest R gets Volkswagen’s next-generation infotainment system, which uses gesture recognition as well as a nine-inch high-resolution touchscreen. It looks great and many features can be accessed using pinch-to-zoom movements like a tablet computer, but it can be tricky to use accurately when the car is in motion. It’s often easier to ignore the infotainment screen and set the configurable Active Info dashboard display to show navigation info.
Without doubt, the Golf R is well equipped, but there are some surprising omissions. On the plus side, it has 18-inch alloy wheels, quad exhaust pipes, bright bi-xenon lights, a lower ride height and a special R bodykit. You also get front and rear parking sensors, a, climate control, adaptive cruise control, heated seats and rain-sensitive windscreen wipers. The infotainment system not only provides sat nav, but also DAB digital radio, MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Among the the most appealing options was the £2,300 Performance pack, which consisted of special 19-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, a roof spoiler and derestricted 166mph top speed. This could only be added to cars with the DSG gearbox, but any car could be fitted with a titanium high-performance exhaust from Slovenian specialists Akrapovic, for £3,000.
Other options included Dynamic Chassis Control, which offers a choice of three suspension settings (Sport, Comfort and Normal), sat nav and a rear-view camera. Lane-keeping assistance was expensive, as was the climate windscreen. Similar to Ford’s Quickclear windscreen, this accelerates defrosting in winter, and helps reduce the interior temperature in summer. Leather was also an option but the standard Alcantara upholstery is perfectly good.