Volkswagen Golf hatchback - Interior & comfort
The Innovision Cockpit represents the biggest step forward for the eighth-gen Golf
If you're disappointed by Volkswagen's subtle makeover of the exterior, the Golf's new interior could help win you round. VW had to respond to the rapid shift in interior design from analogue to digital, as witnessed in models like the Mercedes A-Class, and the result is more attractive and interesting.
Volkswagen Golf dashboard
While it was certainly upmarket, the previous Golf's dashboard was rather sober. The Mk8 remedies that with a sleek design that's more attractive and swaps physical buttons for touch-sensitive ones. Like the A-Class, there's a digital display for the dials (10 inches here) and another for the infotainment system (10.25-inches) called Innovision Cockpit that flow together almost seamlessly. It's just a shame the surrounding piano-black plastic looks like it will attract smears and dust.
Surprisingly, though, there appear to have been some cutbacks. The Golf has long reigned supreme in the mainstream hatchback class for interior quality, but the plastic across the dash feels a bit cheap, the rear doors forgo the soft-touch pad found in the front and when you open the bonnet, the old gas struts have been replaced by a manual stick to prop it up.
The new technology isn’t entirely positive because the Golf's simple menus have been replaced by a new interface that's more fiddly to use. Touch sensitive controls aren't as easy to interact with, especially while driving, and this appears to be evidenced by poor scores in our 2021 Driver Power survey. There's some relief using "Hello Volkswagen" voice commands, which can control most features without needing to lift a finger from the steering wheel. Connectivity is excellent, with everything from Alexa integration to Car2X traffic and hazard data sharing, along with wireless Apple CarPlay.
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The Golf now uses the same trim levels in the UK as it does in continental Europe. A forthcoming entry-level model will be called 'Golf', while 'Life' and 'Style' replace SE and SE L respectively. R-Line, GTE and performance badges (GTD, GTI, GTI TCR and R) will stay the same as they were previously.
In Life trim, the Golf has standard fit automatic LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels, and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors. VW’s Discover Pro sat nav, which includes music streaming and internet access is also included. Driver assistance safety tech includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance and dynamic road sign display
Stepping up to Style trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels and upgraded LED headlights. Interior upgrades include additional ambient interior lighting colours, three-zone air conditioning and darkened metal interior trim.
The R-Line model adds more aggressive exterior styling with tweaked front and rear bumpers. It also gets front sports seats, grey painted 17-inch alloy wheels and rear privacy glass.
Optional kit for the Mk8 Golf includes additional paint colours and the firm’s Dynamic Chassis Control with selectable driving modes that can sharpen up the steering and suspension. New technology includes a head-up display that projects information onto the lower part of the windscreen, along with more options to stay connected while in the car.
Which Is Best?
- Name1.0 TSI Life 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual
- Name1.4 TSI eHybrid Style 5dr DSG
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name2.0 TSI GTI 5dr DSG
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto