The interior layout, fit and finish
Inside, the main difference between the Performance and the TCR is that the latter swaps the GTI’s trademark tartan seat fabric for something less retro – and less distinctive. Whichever version of the car you go for, though, the driver’s seat can be adjusted for height and for lumbar support, and there’s plenty of reach adjustment to the steering wheel.
Combined with pedals that line up neatly with the seat and steering wheel, drivers of all shapes and sizes should be able to get comfortable easily enough. But you’re not held in place as tightly as you are in the Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS, so the GTI’s seats are less well-suited to fast driving.
'Easy to operate' sums up the 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, because the menus are logically laid out and the panel is flanked by touch-sensitive shortcuts for switching between the main functions. What’s more, there are two rotary knobs: one for volume, and the other for scrolling through lists or zooming in and out of maps if you don’t want to do this via the screen itself.
You get Apple Carplay and Android Auto for mirroring your smartphone, along with a DAB radio and Bluetooth. Meanwhile, an upgraded system with a bigger 9.2in screen and more features is on the options list, but we’d save the money.
The Golf’s large windows and relatively slim windscreen pillars help with visibility. And while the rear pillars are fairly chunky, all GTIs get front and rear parking sensors as standard, so you shouldn’t find parking overly stressful.
The Golf’s boxy design also helps with visibility: its large windows and relatively slim windscreen pillars make it easy to see straight ahead and to the side. The rear pillars are fairly chunky, but since all GTIs get front and rear parking sensors as standard, you shouldn’t find slotting into a tight parking space overly stressful.