Volkswagen Golf Mk8 - Upgraded and ready to amaze
The Volkswagen Golf is back! It's upgraded, enhanced with the latest technology and is set to leave a twinkle in everyone's eye. The masses will scrutinise Volkswagen's best-selling hatchback of all time, one of the most popular and iconic cars in UK history, but I have no doubt it will pass with flying colours.
The Volkswagen Golf first appeared way back in 1974, so it's rapidly approaching its 50th birthday, a tremendous milestone for any model of car to achieve and maintain such high popularity. To put into context, the Volkswagen Golf is the 3rd best-selling car of all time across the globe selling more than 33million units.
The Volkswagen Golf has won countless awards over the years and is arguably the best all-round compact hatchback ever. Over the years the Golf has been through many updates and facelifts. Volkswagen has maintained the trusted design silhouette, which has become synonymous with the Golf. Volkswagen's Golf is pitted against some top drawer cars, in one of the most highly competitive market sectors, with the likes of the Ford Focus, BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. The Golf always fairs well against these due to its all-round skill set. It is good in all areas, not just one or two, which is why it has been and is such a popular and desirable car.
We are now entering the 8th Generation (Mk8) of the Volkswagen Golf, and it looks better than ever if my opinion, with a new line-up of fuel-efficient engines and an upgraded interior featuring the latest technologies Volkswagen offers. There are currently only three trim levels to choose from; Life, Style and R-Line, but there will be others later in the year including the performance GTI and R models and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) GTE, which I am looking forward to sampling. The new Volkswagen Golf Mk8 is now available to order.
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Engines, Power and Performance
The line up of engines for the Volkswagen Golf is currently pretty straight forward, featuring a petrol, and a new mild-hybrid engine joins a diesel engine, both with varying power outputs. There will be further engines released later in 2020 including a plug-in hybrid and a couple of performance-based diesel and petrol units.
The petrol engine is a 1.5-litre TSI unit, which has the capability of shutting down two of its cylinders when not needed, to help increase fuel economy and comes with two power outputs, 130hp and 150hp. The 130hp has 200Nm of torque while the 150hp gets 250Nm of torque. Both variations are mated to a six-speed manual transmission with the 130hp model hitting 0-62mph in 9.2secs and the 150hp achieving the same feat in 8.5secs.
The current diesel offering is a 2-litre TDI, which as with the petrol engine, has two different power outputs. Firstly there is a 115hp and 300Nm of torque version capable of getting from 0-62mph in 10.2secs. Then we have the 150hp version which gets an increase in torque to 360Nm allowing it to sprint from 0-62mph in 8.8secs. The 115hp is mated to a six-speed manual transmission while the 150hp model benefits from a superb seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.
Finally, we have the all-new mild-hybrid engine (MHEV), which combines a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, powered by a 48V lithium-ion battery. It produces 150hp and 250Nm of torque, the same as the standard petrol 150hp engine and is also suggested to achieve 0-62mph in the same 8.5secs.
Although on paper the performance figures look relatively identical to those of the equivalent petrol engine, the MHEV with thanks to the electric motor, has a better spread of power across the lower rev range making it that little bit more responsive. The battery is recharged through the energy gained through braking and coasting; therefore, there is no need to plug-in to recharge.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the new Golf has been improved, with a near button-free modern dashboard which looks fantastic and features the latest Volkswagen technologies. The front seats have a tremendous amount of adjustment, as does the steering wheel and column, making it easy to find that perfect driving position. Both seats also come with lumbar support as standard across all trims for extra comfort and support.
The Mk8 Golf replaces the old analogue driver instrument display dials with a crisp new 10.25-inch colour digital display cluster behind the steering wheel, where you can access and view a variety of different functions and information. There is a 10-inch colour touchscreen where the Volkswagen Discover infotainment system is accessed. Some of the features included are voice control using the "Hey Volkswagen" phrase, DAB Radio, built-in sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Some of the optional extra's include; a rearview camera, keyless entry, panoramic sunroof and a head-up display (HUD). Some of these features do come at a premium cost, so you will need to decide how important they are to you before ticking the box in the options list. The overall build quality, fit and finish is top-notch with a generous amount of soft-touch plastics and trim pieces to enhance the overall modern and sleek design.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The new Golf is around 2.5cm longer than the outgoing model and has an additional 1.5cm or so wheelbase, allowing for an increased amount of knee and legroom in the rear. The Golf has always provided a decent amount of interior space, and the Mk8 is no different.
In the front of the Golf, there is plenty of legroom, which, thanks to front seats that can be slid back will fit those 6'6" +, and an abundance of headroom to match.
Climb into to the rear, and there is more than enough space to accommodate a couple of 6ft+ adults with relative ease. However, legroom can be restricted depending on how far back the front seats are positioned, and although it's not class-leading in terms of outright space, it's not far off.
There are various spacious storage cubbies throughout the cabin, including large door pockets, a couple of cupholders and a large glovebox. The boot is just 1-litre larger than the outgoing model with a capacity of 381-litres compared to 380-litres previously. Once you fold the rear seats down capacity rises to 1237-litres. It is by no means the Golf's strong point, but it is more than adequate for most everyday jobs.
The new Golf Mk8 scored an impressive 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, thanks to a plethora of safety assists and features across all trim levels. Every Golf comes with the latest Volkswagen safety systems such as; Car2X, e-call, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with front assist and speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Driver Alert along with Lane Assist.
Overall the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 was worth waiting for and will undoubtedly achieve outstanding sales over the coming years and will no doubt feature highly in the UK's best-selling cars of 2020 list. The Volkswagen Golf is, and will remain, the popular choice when it comes to selecting your next compact family hatchback thanks to its excellent all-round performance, style and iconic status.