For many, the Volkswagen Golf is the de facto family hatchback. It's also consistently one of the bestselling cars in the UK and faces strong competition from rivals including the Skoda Octavia and Vauxhall Astra. Thanks to its premium badge, the Golf also verges into territory occupied by the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.
Even amid such competent rivals, though, the Golf makes a great case for itself, thanks to its engaging driving style and a vast array of standard equipment. In fact, even an infotainment system that could be easier to use and some questionable interior quality didn't stop the Golf from being awarded a full five stars on our road test.
There's a variety of Golf models on offer, though, and an equally big options list, so here we've sorted the features worth chosing from those you should steer clear of.
Volkswagen Golf options
We recommend you go for SE Navigation specification, which, as its name suggests, comes with sat-nav, as well as the 16in alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control you get with SE models.
One option we consistently recommend is metallic paint, as it doesn't tend to cost too much and can increase the resale value of your car. In the Golf's case, there are seven colours to choose from for a reasonable cost of £570. You can opt for more expensive options, but we don't think they're worth it.
You don't get climate control as standard on the Golf until you get to GTE models and above, but you can add it lower down the range for £415. For the added comfort it brings, including an allergen filter for pollen and the like, it's an option we'd choose.
For £245, you can add front fog lights to the Golf. This might seem over-cautious, but you'll be grateful that you did in colder months, when dense fog or snow can seriously limit how far in front of the car you can see.
If you really want to splash out, you can equip the Golf with a digital instrument cluster, which replaces the car's conventional dials with a configurable screen. It's a useful, too, as it can even put the sat-nav map in front of your eyes – but, at £495, it's an expensive choice.
Discover Navigation Pro is Volkswagen's range-topping infotainment system. For £2090, you get a 9.2in screen with sat-nav, a DVD player, a hard disk for your music and gesture control. Controlling your music using mid-air hand gestures sounds good but, in practice, we've found it frustrating to use, so we wouldn't bother.
Volkswagen Golf – our recommendation
Model: 1.4 TSI 125 SE Navigation List price: £20,980 Target Price: £19,316 Options we'd choose: Metallic paint (£570), climate control (£415), front fog lights (£245) Cost of recommended options: £1230
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