Volkswagen launched the new Golf 8 in recent weeks so it was great to get the opportunity to drive the car this past week. The first impressions of any car are always important and for me the stand out feature when I first drove this new Golf was the refinement of the car.
Volkswagen has been cautious about changing the Golf and for good reason. That’s why the design changes are subtle while at the same more distinctive than in the previous model.
This new Golf clearly has its heritage to show in a design sense. The most obvious external change is the narrowed radiator grille and a new sharp design line at the height of the door handles.
Volkswagen now uses LED lighting technology to give a mix a new style to the front and rear of the car, as well as better night vision. Volkswagen claims that every part of the car’s body has been reshaped, and you can see that if you study it closely. They claim that the result is a more aerodynamic Golf with the drag coefficient (Cd value) cut from 0.3 to 0.275 designed to make the car quieter and more efficient.
That latter part is obvious with the 1.5 litre TSI turbo-petrol car that I drove. The refinement of the car with its six speed gearbox is a sheer joy to drive. The engine noise is so smooth and quiet that you may notice the slight hint of gentle wind noise, but it’s not at an annoying level.
There are bigger changes to the inside of the new Golf. This eight generation Golf has new instruments and online infotainment systems that merge into a new generation digital cockpit. That very clear in a visibility sense and automatically light sensitive for night driving.
This new Golf comes with touch buttons and touch sliders for some of the controls. They replace dials for the like of radio volume and they take a little getting used to. It’s more softly, softly, than heavy hands and big fingers. While these controls seem to blend into the overall dash area, once you’ve found them and understood how they function, you’ll be comfortable.
Volkswagen claims that this new Golf the first model in its price segment to feature a completely digital, high-end cockpit as standard. A new voice control system responds to natural voice commands.
Amazon’s Alexa assistant is directly integrated into the Golf. Drivers can ask Alexa to play music, control compatible smart home devices, or retrieve information such as news and weather. The We Connect Plus system allows streaming, internet radio and other online features on board the car.
There are four petrol engine choices for the new Golf along with two versions of the 2.0 litre turbo-diesel model. The entry model comes with a three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine with 90hp and 110hp, followed by a 1.5-litre TSI 130hp and a similar engine producing 150hp. There are two mild hybrid (MHEV) versions of both engine available which are the more expensive option in each engine size and plug-in hybrid versions will be available later.
The 115bhp or 150bhp versions of the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines come a twin dosing giving dual AdBlue injection, which claims to significantly cut nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx). Volkswagen claims that the fuel consumption in the new Golf TDI are up to 17% lower than in the equivalent predecessor. That makes them economy beaters than the petrol models, even though the 1.5 litres TSI petrol car that I drove has a range of more than 800km.
For the Irish market
There is a total of five specification levels for the new Golf. They are Golf (meaning basic), Comfort, Life, Style and R-Line. The entry Golf specification come with LED headlights, lane assist, wireless app-connect, keyless go, air care climatronic and the We Connect system. The entry price starts at €24,750, that’s over €4,000 more than the car that it replaces. You quickly jump by over €2,000 to the next Comfort level specification, while Style version that I drove with lots of extra kit, jumps to €31,550. So Golf prices have increased significantly with the introduction of the new model. I hope that the price lift is worth it.
To move from the entry 1.6 litre TDI diesel engine to the new 2.0 litre TDI engine also comes at a price to the new car buyer. The diesel start price is now €28,950, up from €23,445 just weeks ago.
This new Golf shows great refinement but at a significantly higher price than in the past. The car retains its solid feel with good road holding. The inclusion of a host of digital controls is impressive and looks superb from behind the steering wheel, from the entry model upwards. The car is going to be more fuel efficient across all models, but it’s clearly significantly more expensive to buy.
Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Turbo Petrol – specifications
Engine 1.5 litre
Engine power 130bhp
0 – 100km/hr 9.2 seconds
Economy 18.5km/litre (5.5l/100km or 52mpg)
Fuel Tank Capacity 45 litres
CO2 emissions 124g/km
Road Tax Band A3 €190
Main Service 25,000km/12 months
Euro NCAP Rating 5 star (2019)
Towing rating 1200kgs
Warranty 3 years/100,000km
Diesel Entry Price €24,750
N. Ireland Price £23,300