The current Volkswagen Golf has been around for five years now, so Volkswagen thinks it’s time for a facelift, they even say it’s an update. Also, they state it’s the first time in 40 years a Golf-model has been facelifted. Sure, that’s debatable, but if Volkswagen themselves say “it’s an update”, the changes are going to be minimal. And that’s exactly what has happened. If you have a trained eye, you can see it’s got a new front bumper, new headlights, a new rear bumper, and new rear lights. The fenders are supposed to be renewed as well. So the exterior changes are very minimal. The new stuff isn’t on the outside, that’s for sure. In here, however, there are some bigger changes. Not very much, but they’re present. It’s now possible to get the fully digital instrumentarium we know from the Passat. Also, there are new multimedia systems available.The new systems are now bigger and come with a higher resolution. That means everything is a little bit sharper. That’s very good, but I wouldn’t call it an improvement to be honest. For example, the most expensive Discover Pro-system. Volkswagen proudly states: “There are no physical buttons on this anymore”. That’s right, but they said exactly the same Porsche said about their system, and just like with Porsche, it doesn’t always work in your advantage. A physical button to control the volume, is very nice and handy to use. Now that isn’t there anymore, you’ll have to use the touchscreen. That isn’t the end of the world, but it also isn’t better than a normal button. The same goes for zooming on the satnav, because previously you had a button for such things, but now you have to pinch or use the touchscreen buttons.Again, it isn’t horribly bad or something, but it also isn’t better, ergonomically speaking. The addition of Gesture Control, however, is quite funny. Just like in a BMW, you can wave at your screen at it will do something. However, in a BMW you can do a lot of things with that, like controlling the volume. That isn’t possible with this Discover Pro-system. The only thing you can do is swipe left or right in specific menu’s. It’s quite funny to be honest, but the one time it works, but other times it doesn’t.The sensor is quite sensitive. You have do it at the right height and at the right speed. If it really is an addition, I’m not really sure. The rest of the interior has stayed mostly the same, like we expect from a Golf. For it’s segment,
it’s got a lot of room in the back and in the boot. The ergonomics and seating position are just right, the build quality is very good, it isn’t really cosy however… No, the real news in this update comes from under the hood. The most engines become a little bit more efficient or more powerful, the 6-speed DSG in the GTI becomes a 7-speed DSG, but all-new is this 1.5 TSI which I’m driving right now. It replaces the 1.4 TSI not only in the Golf, but also in every other VW Group model supplied with the 1.4 TSI.It will be available in two power levels: one with 130 hp and 200 Nm and one with 150 hp and 250 Nm. If those values sound familiar to you, that’s right. Those figures are similar to what the 1.4 TSI produced. But why did Volkswagen create a new engine? Volkswagen says it’s primarily because of the efficiency. The new engines are supposed to be much more efficient, not only on the rolling road, but also in real life. To be honest, the 130 horsepower version is the most interesting. That’s because it will, as one of the first mass produced engines, get variable turbine geometrics on the turbo. That’s quite unique actually, because the only other manufacturer which uses that technology, is Porsche. So you’d think I’d be driving the 130 hp version… Nope. That one wasn’t available yet, in June it will come to the Netherlands though. We will get back to that one. For now, we’re driving the 1.5 TSI with 150 hp, 250 Nm and a twin scroll turbo. And it’s a very good engine. It’s got 250 Nm or torque between 1500 and 3500 RPM, so it’s pretty quick in the middle range. When you get higher in the revs, it tones down a little, but since it’s a turbo engine, you won’t really get there often.It’s got moderately quick throttle response, the performance is good, but that was the same for the 1.4 TSI. And that’s the problem. It’s a very good turbo engine, but it isn’t such of a leap from the 1.4 TSI. The same goes for the drivetrain, you can still get it with a manual 6-speed or a DSG automatic gearbox with a double clutch. Right now I’m driving the manual 6-speed, and it’s pretty good. It’s got a light clutch but you can feel it gripping on. The same goes for shifting, you can feel when you go into gear. It all is very light, and that’s good. It’s a drivetrain you don’t really have to worry about, it performs easily. Driving in the Golf hasn’t really changed, it’s still nice to drive, just like it always has
been. It’s a solid car and it’s good on the road. There’s a little bit of roll when you corner, but not in annoying amounts.Besides that, it’s got lots of grip and it feels very neutral. If you corner too fast because of a misjudgment, there’s enough room to keep you from crashing. It isn’t very exciting though, the steering isn’t very communicative, it’s very mild and easy. It won’t surprise you, and that’s nice. It also stands out that everything is damped away pretty neatly, so if you’re driving on bad roads you won’t hear the suspension working. It’s Golf in optima forma, an ‘everyones friend’. It just is very good. Well, the updated Golf stays what it always has been. It’s still good at everything, it still gets A’s and A+’s, it’s a very nice car. What also isn’t going to change, however, is the price. That has always been a critical point with Golfs, because if you want some nice options on your Golf, like satnav, separate airconditioning, you’ll have to pay. On the other hand however, that was also the case with the pre-facelift Golf. But, when you consider everything, because of those little changes, the updated Golf is now more modern, it more connected, it’s got a little bit more safety systems and it’s got new engines.In essence: it’s still very, very Golf. So the step forwards, isn’t really that big. But on the other hand, the Golf already was the best selling C-segment car in the Netherlands, so maybe it didn’t need a lot of improvements. .