Volkswagen's big-selling hatchback will be replaced by an all-new model next year, featuring more space, a clever range of engines and a high-tech ‘always-connected’ interior.
Few new cars have had their arrival more hotly anticipated than Volkswagen’s Mk 8 Golf. After 45 years, seven iterations and over 35 million cars produced, the covers are finally off the new VW Golf.
The Golf is one of the best-selling cars in the UK, with more than 46,000 examples sold so far in 2019 alone. It neatly straddles the mainstream and prestige hatchback markets, competing with everything from the KIA Ceed, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra to the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
Most manufacturers claim to be moving upmarket with each new car they launch, but in the Golf's case the challenge is not just to stay competitive with the likes of Audi and BMW, but also to stem the flood of family car buyers opting for SUVs and crossovers rather than traditional family hatchbacks.
To help it do that, Volkswagen says the new Golf will offer connectivity options, fuel-saving technology and self-driving systems that surpass those of the competition.
As we can see from these images, there's no revolution when it comes to the way the Golf looks on the outside; the new car will feature sharper creases to bring it in line with the latest Polo, but it's still instantly recognisable as a Golf.
Volkswagen will also simplify the Golf range, with the current three-door hatchback and Golf Estate both meeting a timely demise, and the fully electric e-Golf replaced by the upcoming ID 3 electric car.
Inside is where the excitement builds as there’s a larger touchscreen infotainment system mounted higher on the dashboard. There is a digital instrument cluster too, which puts the navigation directly in front of the driver, rather than to the side.
The new Golf will be based on the same underpinnings as its predecessor, but the front and rear axles are likely to be positioned farther apart to liberate more rear leg room. Boot space is also expected to grow, but don't expect the Golf to outclass the gargantuan Skoda Octavia in this area.
The excellent 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the outgoing Golf is carried over to the new car and offered as part of an expanded range of petrol and diesel engines.
No less than five of the new Golf’s powertrains will feature mild hybrid technology, where an electrically powered generator provides assistance to improve performance when accelerating away from traffic lights or overtaking. Crucially, though, the mild hybrid system can help to lessen the load on the engine and therefore lower fuel consumption and emissions.
The line-up will also include a new three-pot 1.0-litre petrol option and a 1.5-litre diesel, which is likely to be sold both as a conventional engine and as a mild hybrid.
Meanwhile, a 2.0-litre diesel will be offered in various states of tune, ranging from 135 to 201hp. Lower-powered versions of this engine are said to feature lighter components, a more responsive turbocharger and a resized diesel particulate filter – things that combine to bring a power and torque increase of around nine per cent, as well as a reduction of up to 10g/km in CO2 emissions. There will also be two plug-in hybrid models, one being a performance-oriented GTE version.
The new Golf is the first Volkswagen with Car2X communication fitted as standard. It will be permanently connected to the internet, thanks to a special 'e-Sim' which will allow it to show advanced 3D navigation mapping, always find the strongest radio signal and automatically allow the engine to coast in the run-up to junctions or when heading downhill.
Live information, such as the latest fuel prices at petrol stations, will also be available. The e-Sim should also help the Golf to accelerate, brake and steer by itself on the motorway.
UK sales of the new Golf will open in December, with first deliveries expected in February, 2020.