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Spotlight: Volkswagen Golf

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Advanced connectivity, plus the widest choice of electrified drivetrains, are key to the all-new Golf range, explains Martyn Collins.

Still looks like a Golf

Outside, the distinctive, strong shoulders and thick C-pillars identify the eighth generation still as a Golf – although they’ve been tightened. It’s not any longer than before, although the latest Golf uses the latest version of the MQB platform.

Five-door only, the biggest change is at the front, with the larger, but slimmer LED headlights, which are set well back into the front wings. The lights will be the eighth generation Golf identifier, as they have a distinctive signature, similar to the one on the Golf-rivaling ID.3. There is even a lighting strip across the bonnet, linking them to the Volkswagen roundel. At the back, the high-set rear clusters have 3D-like detailing.

The sloping front styling is mostly responsible for the improved aerodynamics, the bonnet now has a considerable height and rakes downwards steeply, the grille is slimmer and the front air dam intakes are bigger, wider and more sculpted.

Electrified engine choices

With the incoming ID.3 carrying on where the e-Golf left off, there will be no full EV version of the eighth generation.

Still, Volkswagen is promising the new Golf will have the widest choice of electrified powertrains, relying on mild hybrid and plug-in drivetrains. The 48V mild hybrid versions will be badged eTSI, and offered in 109hp, 129hp and 148hp versions.  Volkswagen claims that the most efficient of these engines will have a NOx reduction of up to 80%, compared with the outgoing model. Plus, a CO2 emissions reduction of almost 20%.

The most powerful Golf Mk8 at launch will be the only plug-in hybrid version to be offered: the Golf 241bhp GTE. According to a Volkswagen source, the new 48V hybrid models, along with the GTE, will be especially attractive to fleet users and operators. However, Volkswagen still sees diesel playing its part in the overall fleet sales mix, because it remains an efficient choice – especially against direct rivals.

Intelligent and connected

Gone are the instruments and centre console, to be replaced by a digital cockpit. This is made up of two digital screens, the first for instruments and the other being a bigger 10-inch one for infotainment, which is standard across the range. Amazon Alexa is fully integrated into the new Golf, offering music or weather reports, plus the chance to control compatible appliances at home.

Volkswagen is also promising more personalisation for settings in the Golf than before. Customisable features saveable via the cloud include the instruments, seat and mirror positions, plus air-conditioning settings.

In our opinion, the cleverest tech as standard in the new Golf must be the ‘Car2X’ communication system. It works by exchanging information between other vehicles and the infrastructure itself and is not just limited to Volkswagen vehicles, as its EU-standard network allows other vehicles from other brands to exchange data about hazards on the road.

In summary

The new Golf is an advanced evolution of a proven formula – although it perhaps doesn’t look like a radical departure from the previous model.

It is too early to confirm UK pricing, but Fleet World was told to expect small increases over outgoing models. It is likely the UK will follow the model system used in other markets: Golf, Golf Life, Golf Style and Golf R-Line. Higher- specification models are expected to be the most popular among fleets. MC


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Martyn Collins

Martyn has 18 years experience as a motoring journalist, working across a wide selection of B2B and consumer titles. A car enthusiast since his early years, Martyn has a particular interest in the latest models and technology and in his spare time enjoys driving his own Minis.