The eighth generation of the most popular Volkswagen had a more difficult market entry – due to problems with the newly developed infotainment, it arrived late (just like the fourth Octavia or the current Audi A3) and was immediately criticized for its not-so-pleasant design, cost-saving measures, ergonomic mistakes and just not a complete digitization. Things we are definitely not used to at VW.

But time heals all wounds and customers quickly got used to the new Golf – it is still one of the best-selling cars in Europe (last year it was seventh) and also in the Czech Republic (it managed to reach tenth place, which is a success in the high competition of Škoda cars). Mainly because, at its core, the Golf has remained a really great car that is easy to live with and can be relied upon. Now Volkswagen is coming up with a welcome modernization that should solve the last remaining pain points.

Photo: Volkswagen

The eighth generation Golf had its faults. But VW is doing everything to rectify the situation.

A bestseller for half a century

When the first Golf came into the world in 1974, it was a big hello. It wasn’t the first compact hatchback, but it was definitely one of the most sophisticated, versatile and user-friendly cars on the market, which is why customers immediately fell in love with it. And they love him to this day. Over the years, seven more generations were gradually introduced, some more successful and others a little less so (the even generations were always weaker), but he certainly can’t complain about the lack of interest – over 37 million units have already been sold!

Photo: Volkswagen

A lot has changed in the automotive world in fifty years, but the Golf has always been able to adapt. That, too, is part of the recipe for his success.

You can recognize it at first glance by the thinner front lights, which are equipped with more powerful LED technology – the most advanced ones have an anti-glare Matrix function and a beam of up to 500 meters. Some versions (sports GTI and plug-in hybrid GTE) can additionally have a horizontal LED bar across the entire width of the front fascia, now including the backlit VW logo, which clearly distinguishes them visually. The rear lights with LED technology also have new graphics with a 3D effect, and you can choose from several welcome/farewell animations in the infotainment system.

Photo: Volkswagen

The new thinner headlights on some versions are connected by an LED strip with an illuminated emblem.

You’ll have a choice of eleven colors (four of which are new metallics: blue Crystal Ice and Anemone, silver Oyster and black Grenadilla), and for the R-Line, GTE and GTI versions, a contrasting paint job with a black roof is available. The range of alloy wheels has grown with five new pieces with a diameter of up to 19 inches.

In the interior, the first thing you will notice is the huge 12.9-inch touchscreen (the base version has a 10.4-inch display) of the new infotainment system – it is a more advanced evolution of MIB4, which promises much more intuitive control (including a smart voice assistant) and easier access to popular functions thanks to wide individualization of the display ( widgets) and two fixed bars (the upper one is configurable, the lower one integrates climate control). Also, the physical control bar under the display is finally illuminated and the steering wheel has physical buttons instead of touch pads – VW has obviously learned from its mistakes.

Photo: Volkswagen

The new steering wheel and infotainment are the most important changes in the interior. Believe that their contribution is greater than you think.

The improvement also includes a smarter parking assistant, which can safely park the car transversely (0.6 meters on each side of the car is enough) and longitudinally (into a gap just one meter longer than the length of the car) and then drive out of the place. A completely new function is parking with the help of a mobile phone, where it can drive into and out of a parking space without the driver having to sit behind the wheel (he must be close to the car with his phone), which can facilitate a number of difficult situations in tight underground garages or at shopping centers.

Photo: Volkswagen

The changes also apply to the more practical Variant version.

The basic petrol three-cylinder, which was a thorn in many people’s side (actually more like an ear), was also dropped from the range of engines. It will be replaced by a weaker version of the turbocharged four-cylinder 1.5 TSI – it will therefore be available in 85 kW (115 hp) and 110 kW (150 hp) variants. A 1.5 eTSI equipped with a 48V mild-hybrid system and active cylinder deactivation (ACT) combined with a DSG dual-clutch automatic will also be available in the same power variants. There is also the popular 2.0 TDI diesel in a variant with 85 kW (115 hp) and a manual, or with 110 kW (150 hp) and a dual-clutch automatic. The sporty GTI with a turbocharged two-liter petrol will then improve by 20 hp to 265 hp. In 2025, a 2.0 TSI with 204 horsepower and four-wheel drive will arrive.

Motor Performance Transmission
PETROL
1.5 TSI 85 kW (115 hp) manual, 6 degrees
1.5 TSI 110 kW (150 hp) manual, 6 degrees
1.5 eTSI 85 kW (115 hp) automatic DSG, 7 steps
1.5 eTSI 110 kW (150 hp) automatic DSG, 7 steps
GTI 2.0 TSI 195 kW (265 hp) automatic DSG, 7 steps
NAFTA
2.0 TDI 85 kW (115 hp) manual, 6 degrees
2.0 TDI 110 kW (150 hp) automatic DSG, 7 steps
PHEV
eHybrid 150 kW (204 hp) automatic eDSG, 6 steps
GTE 200 kW (272 hp) automatic eDSG, 6 steps

Hot news is the plug-in hybrid of the new generation (Passat/Tiguan and Superb/Kodiaq have the same) combining a 1.5 TSI gasoline four-cylinder with an electric motor that receives energy from a battery with a capacity of 19.7 kWh (previously 10.6 kWh), so it should charge (AC 11 kW, DC 50 kW) to travel around 100 kilometers. It will be available in an eHybrid variant with a combined output of 204 hp and a 272 hp GTE.

“The Golf has been the heart of the Volkswagen brand for half a century, offering affordable mobility for everyone at the highest technical level. Constantly adapting to customer needs, it became a global bestseller. This is exactly what we are now building on with the latest development stage of the product line – with even higher efficiency, comfort and quality and a new control concept. There isn’t a better Golf than this one,” Thomas Schäfer, head of Volkswagen, enthusiastically describes. Indeed, it seems that a thorough modernization has solved a number of problems, but we prefer to see the result for ourselves behind the wheel.

How do you like the modernized VW Golf?

Great, it’s a step forward.

I would go for another car in this class.

A total of 6 readers voted.