Volkswagen Golf hatchback driving position
Whatever your shape or size, you should be able to find a comfortable driving position behind the wheel of a Golf. The driver’s seat slides back far enough to accommodate long legs an you get seat height and four-way steering wheel adjustment on all trims. There's a front centre armrest on all models, and only entry-level S trim misses out on adjustable lumbar support. The fact that the pedals are neatly in line with the steering wheel also helps give a natural driving position.
Taller drivers may find the steering wheel blocks their view of the instrument dials, and the 'comfort' seats that feature on many trims don't provide a huge amount of shoulder support. However, the figure-hugging sports seats in sportier versions are both supportive and comfortable on longer jaunts.
Once you’re are sitting comfortably, you’ll notice that all the buttons and knobs on the dashboard are well positioned, including the simple air-con dials that make it easy to tweak the temperature on the move.
Volkswagen Golf hatchback 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 don’t obstruct your vision too much when pulling out of junctions.
Front and rear parking sensors are standard on SE trim and above, and optional on the cheapest S trim. You can add a reversing camera to make parking even easier, or the optional Park Assist system can practically do the job for you, steering the car into a space automatically while you simply control the car’s speed.
Volkswagen Golf hatchback infotainment
Every model, including entry-level S trim, gets at least an 8.0in high-definition, glass-fronted colour touchscreen. Either side of it are touch-sensitive shortcut buttons that allow you to between the main function menus, and the set-up gets two dials: one for volume control and the other for scrolling through lists or zooming in and out of maps (with sat-nav fitted), which make it easier to operate on the move.
The menus are easy to figure out, so you won't need to resort to the handbook to connect your phone or set the radio station presets. However, an annoying foible is how the screen automatically brings up extra icons when it senses an approaching hand – which is rather distracting. The good news is that you can disable this feature and leave those icons permanently displayed. Generally, the system isn't quite up to the class-leading BMW iDrive or Audi MMI systems you'll find in the 1 Series or A3, but at least the Golf’s touchscreen is responsive and has usefully sized icons.
Every version has a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB socket and the standard eight-speaker stereo produces crisp sounds and resists distortion well. SE trim adds Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink smartphone mirroring, but you'll need to upgrade to SE Navigation trim or above to get, as the name suggests, a built-in sat-nav.
An optional system, called Discover Navigation Pro, brings a larger 9.2in screen and includes gesture control, which allows you to scroll through menus and change radio stations or playlists using mid-air hand movements as if you were swatting away a fly. In our experience, though, it's a bit of a gimmick and doesn't work very well, and the larger-screened system is an expensive option that we wouldn't bother with.
Volkswagen Golf hatchback build quality
The Golf’s interior is a cut above those offered by many family car rivals. True, it doesn’t feel as special inside as an A3 – the plastics in the lower reaches of the cabin are harder and the switches don’t operate with quite the same precision – but the materials in your eye-line look and feel classy enough, with lots of tactile, soft-touch plastics that seem extremely solidly bolted together.