2017 Volkswagen Golf reader test team review
The Mk7.5 Volkswagen Golf has refreshed looks, new technology and a new engine. Will potential buyers be impressed with the updated plush family hatchback?...
How often have you read this on our website: “This new car’s design is an evolution of its predecessor’s”? It’s becoming relatively common, but the Volkswagen Golf has been doing it since 1974, with great success.
The Mk7 version of this plush family hatchback arrived in 2012, and now there’s this Mk7.5, which gets upgrades to its styling, safety kit and infotainment, plus a frugal new 1.5-litre petrol engine.
However, rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series are similarly capable, but with that premium-brand Midas touch applied to their interiors. So, is this update to the Golf significant enough to keep it competitive?
Age: 38Job: ParamedicDrives: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
“I’ve never driven a Golf before, but I’m very interested in this new model. I want a hot hatch variant, because I’m a bit of a racer at heart, but I also have two Rottweilers, and my current car doesn’t really have enough space for them.
“I really like the new 8.0in infotainment touchscreen; the larger size of it compared with the one in the previous Golf makes the dash look much better. It’s easy to connect your phone via Bluetooth for music, and although the sound quality from the stereo isn’t as good as I’d like, it is very easy to navigate the system’s menus.
“I didn’t think the boot would be big enough for my dogs, but you can drop the floor down quite a way. With it down, they’d definitely fit in. The mechanism you use is so quick and easy that I actually thought I wasn’t doing it right at first.
“I really like the leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and the buttons on it are well laid out.“Another thing that caught my eye is the lovely rear-view mirror with no rim and no buttons on it.”
Rated 5 out of 5
Age: 26Job: Financial auditorDrives: Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk7)
“The Golf GTI really interests me, because it’s pretty much the ‘do-it-all’ car, with performance and practicality – as clichéd as that is.
“With the new sporty Golf models – the GTI, GTI Performance and R – Volkswagen has taken things up a step. The GTI now has the 227bhp of the old GTI Performance, and the Performance is up to 242bhp.
“It’s great that they’re carrying on pushing, because the top hot hatches are so powerful now; the latest Ford Focus RS has 345bhp.
“I’m also pleased Volkswagen has made improvements in other areas, such as the Dynamic Chassis Control, which apparently now has a bigger difference between its Comfort and Sport settings.
“The infotainment is massively improved, and you can get gesture control on higher trims. I think it’s so cool that they’ve put luxury car tech on an ‘attainable’ car; that will distinguish this Golf from its rivals.
“I’m unsure of how much of a step this car represents in other areas, though; the interior is much the same and the exterior isn’t massively changed. So, I think I’d be more interested in waiting for the Mk8 if I were to buy a new Golf.”
Rated 4 out of 5
Find out what our other two readers thought of the Golf on the next page.