Volkswagen Golf (Mk8) review


What is?

Can it really be this time again? Like your MoT test or the start of the football season, a new Golf always seems to arrive sooner than expected. So here we are: eighth in line.

Golf is the lingua franca of the world of hatches, universally known and understood. Although it is always up to date, each generation is an evolution that holds few surprises. This is the key to your success. No golf buyer has ever had to engage in a conversation that starts with “You bought a What?’

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Same old, same old then?

However, something is different here. This generation of Golf is at a crossroads. When it hits the streets, VW launches the ID.3. The ID.3 is a conventional electric car that you can have for a similar price (probably more to buy but less to race). A forward-thinking capsule powered by new energy, literally and metaphorically.

So in some respects the Golf is rear-facing, like the cutty sark, the last of the great tea-clipper ships. A highly refined version of something the world no longer needs.

Are you sure the Golf doesn’t look old-fashioned?

A little behind, maybe. It even has a diesel engine, albeit a new one with a dual urea cat to remove NOx. Which means that people no longer trust diesels. Which was, let’s not forget, what VW was doing in the first place.

But it also looks to the future, with a glass cockpit running new, highly connected systems for infotainment, control and hazard warning.

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What are the new songs?

The Mk8 uses the same MQB platform as the Mk7, so you won’t find any significant changes to dimensions or core hardware. Instead, most parts of the suspension and drivetrains are slightly upgraded and tweaked.

All panels are new. If only a little. Recognize it by the new front graphic, a blade running through the vestigial grille and into the shallow LED headlights. On the side, a new crease crosses the door handles. At the rear we find new-shaped taillights and, because it is more watery, a more split rear window.

What’s the verdict?

The new eighth-generation Golf continues to be the lingua franca of the hatchback world. A finely polished machine

There wasn’t much of a problem with the Mk7 Golf. And, in fact, most of the time in the new one, we crave the clarity of the old car’s infotainment. While some of the new system’s features are impressive, the lack of buttons appalls us.

But the rest of the car is of course finely polished. Better steering, better refinement, better security, more modern lighting. They all got ahead of a car that was already practically leading the class. Get a 150hp TSi with the multi-link axle and you’ll laugh.

Oh, and by the way, for the next few years, VW doesn’t even anticipate a drop in Golf sales. Early orders suggest ID3 buyers will come from elsewhere, while yesterday’s Golf buyers stick with today’s Golf. They won’t go far wrong.

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