New Volkswagen Golf review

Words by:
Tim Barnes-Clay
Featured in:
June 2021

There are loads of engines in the new Golf. All you need to know is that if you want it, VW will provide it – apart from a pure electric version. Why’s that? Well, the VW ID.3 model takes care of that side of things.

For this review, I tested the new Golf R-Line 1.5-litre eTSI, fitted with a seven-speed DSG ’box. Like the related Audi A3, the mild-hybrid car’s turbocharged petrol engine uses a 48V lithium-ion battery and 48V belt starter generator instead of an alternator and starter. The generator also serves as an electric motor that improves pulling power.

VW’s Golf has always had excellent traction and a comfortable ride. But now we’re in a tech-obsessed era, a “driving dynamics manager” system keeps an even closer eye on the way the car handles. In layman’s terms, the gadgetry makes the traction system communicate with the suspension. This ensures the Volkswagen will be more on the ball at one end of the spectrum, and comfier at the other. I’ve only driven the Golf in mild hybrid R-Line form so far on British roads, and I can vouch for its ride comfort and precision in corners. It behaves with composure across a range of environments, making it attractive as a daily driver.

Inside the hatch, an attractive interior finish complements exceptional insulation. There’s far more tech than before, and the seats in this new eighth-generation car are supportive and comfortable. There is also a massaging function on some versions of the vehicle. Along with adaptable mood lighting, the new Golf makes every journey a joy rather than a bore.

This isn’t a big car, but there’s still space for five-up – just. To be blunt, though, four adults are more like it in the real world. I took my kids and wife with me on a 200-mile trip, and they were happy enough. So, take from that what you will. At the end of the day, like its Audi A3 relative, the VW Golf is a compact family hatchback.

As for the boot, the cargo capacity is 380 litres with the seats in position and 1,237 litres with them folded down. What’s more, the rear bench splits 60:40 and folds almost flat, while there’s a convenient longer loads hatch in the centre.

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