Interior layout

Volkswagen Golf Estate review

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Volkswagen Golf Estate
Review continues below...
10 Apr 2017 22:00 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 10:05

In this review

Interior layout

The interior layout, fit and finish

Volkswagen Golf estate driving position

No matter what your shape or size, you should be able to find a comfortable driving position because the driver’s seat slides back far enough to accommodate long legs, plus you get seat height and steering wheel in-and-out adjustment on all trims.

All models get a front centre armrest, while only entry-level S trim misses out on manual lumbar adjustment (although it’s cheap to add as an option). The fact that the pedals are in line with the steering wheel also helps to provide a natural seating position, plus the driver’s seat is firm and supportive.

Once you are sitting comfortably, you’ll notice that all the buttons and switches on the dashboard are well placed, including the simple rotary air-con controls that make it easy to tweak the temperature on the move.

Volkswagen Golf estate visibility

Few cars in any class offer better all-round visibility than the Golf. The windows are large and deep, and the pillars relatively slim. Even the small front quarter light windows, which bring a small extra pillar between the side windows and the windscreen, don’t obstruct your vision too badly. Being an estate with a relatively boxy back end means it’s pretty easy to judge where the rear bumper is as you back into parking spaces.

For anyone with an acute case of ‘parkaphobia’, front and rear parking sensors are standard on SE models and above, and optional on the cheapest S trim. You can add a reversing camera to make parking even easier, while the optional Park Assist system can practically do the job for you, steering into a space automatically while you simply control the car’s speed.

Volkswagen Golf Estate

Volkswagen Golf estate infotainment

Every version, including the entry-level S trim, gets at least an 8.0in, high-definition, glass-fronted colour touchscreen. Either side of the screen are touch-sensitive shortcut buttons, so you can flit between the main menus, plus two rotary switches: one for volume control and the other for scrolling through lists or zooming in and out of maps (with sat-nav fitted) if you don’t want to do this via the touchscreen.

The logical menus are easy to figure out without resorting to the handbook to connect your phone or set up radio station presets. The one annoying feature is the screen automatically brings up extra icons when it senses an approaching finger – this is rather distracting. The good news is that you can disable this and leave said icons displayed constantly.

Overall, we’d still prefer a rotary-controlled arrangement like BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s MMI system, because they’re less distracting to use on the move. But at least the Golf’s set-up is responsive, with well-sized icons that make it one of the best of its ilk. You can also accept an incoming phone call simply by pressing a clearly marked button on the steering wheel, or dial a number using voice control.

Every version gets a DAB radio, Bluetooth and Aux and USB sockets, while the standard eight-speaker stereo produces crisp sounds and resists distortion well. SE adds Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, which display selected smartphone apps and let you control them from the touchscreen – including sat-nav. Only SE Nav models and above come with in-built sat-nav and this upgrade also includes speed-limit display and online features.

An optional system, called Discover Navigation Pro, has a bigger 9.2in screen and includes gesture control. The latter is a bit of a gimmick, really; it's fine for showing off to your friends, but it’s so much easier to change radio station or music track conventionally, rather than by hit-and-miss, mid-air hand movements.

Volkswagen Golf estate build quality

The Golf’s interior is a cut above those of many estate rivals, including the Seat Leon ST and Ford Focus Estate. Yes, there are plusher, more premium offerings, such as an Audi A4, but the Golf is cheaper. Still, all the materials in your eyeline look and feel expensive, with lots of tactile, soft-touch plastics and nicely damped switches. It’s also bolted together sturdily.


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There are 6 trims available for the Golf estate. Click to see details.See all versions
SE adds 16in alloy wheels, front-seat lumbar adjustment, a rear-seat armrest, a ski hatch and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. And it adds gadgets such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLin...View trim
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Entry-level S trim isn’t lavishly equipped but does come with trinkets including air conditioning, four electric windows, height-adjustable front seats, a front centre armrest, a DAB radio, Bluetoo...View trim
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This sportier trim offers 17in alloy wheels, sports suspension, sports seats and a performance monitor that includes a lap timer and G-meter. Other additions are privacy glass and interior ambient...View trim
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GTD BlueLine
Gets all the same kit at GTD trim save for smaller alloy wheels in the name of lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy...View trim
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On top of GT trim on which it’s based, GTD comes with sill extensions, headlight washers, LED headlights, lowered, sports suspension, a honeycomb front grille, heated front seats, heated windscreen...View trim
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The range-topping Golf Estate gets all the GTD’s upgrades, including sports suspension and sporty looks inside and out. It also comes with a barnstorming 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and qu...View trim
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