Driving Report: VW Golf 8

To drive initially five four-cylinder engines are ready

For decades, we have been used to it: A new Golf develops outwardly cautious and goes with the inner values ​​only as far as it has to be and how it does not overwhelm the numerous customers. In principle, this also applies to the eighth generation, which is about to enter the market. Basically…

No new Golf without the water level message for sales: Shortly before the start of the eighth generation Wolfsburg reports "over 35 million" sold copies since 1974. The gulf of the eighth generation should and must add a few million more. Even though his role will change over the next few years. On the one hand, because other models such as a Tiguan or a T-Roc are becoming more and more important and, on the other hand, from next year there will be the all-electric ID.3, to which the Golf had already given the stage at the IAA in September. But now Germany's favorite car is here, at the beginning of December at the dealers. Prices start at 19.990 Euro for the 1,0-liter TSI (66 kW / 90 PS), which is not available yet. More prices at the presentation Volkswagen did not irritatingly named yet and justified this with still missing "regulatory approvals".

Before we take the ignition key or alternatively the smartphone, more on that later, take a look at the body. At first, the Golf looks like - well, just like a Golf. There are hardly any problems with recognition. What a real achievement of the designers is, because in fact hardly a Golf differed in detail more clearly from its predecessor than this.

Although there are few changes in the dimensions, 2 centimeters more in length (now: 4,28 meters), 2 centimeters less height (1,46 meters) and an almost unchanged width (1,79 meters). No wonder, the Golf 8 is from the same, just a little further developed so-called Modular Querbaukasten (MQB) "built" as its predecessor. But you have to get used to the rear with the new, two-dimensional brand logo, which may not appeal to everyone right away. The nameplate in new font is now in the middle below. The sweeping C-pillar is also preserved in the eighth generation.

In the side view of the Gulf but significantly wedge-shaped. This results from a lower pulled-down front with narrow, standard LED headlights and the higher mounted rear. They are connected by a similarly high waistline. At the same time, this also means less window space is available. How does this affect the quality of the all-round view? In fact hardly. Compared to its competitors, the Golf was always easy to survey due to its clear, edgy design and also offered a lot of space in the rear. That is still the case.

The front seats are accustomed to good seats - and the driver an almost revolutionary new cockpit. Where used to be classical instruments, he always looks today on a just over 10 inches large display, supplemented by another, central display with 8,25 inches or optional 10 inches. But these are only external signs of profound modernization. Because every Golf 8 is connected to the Internet, which allows, for example, the additional purchase of individual features such as a high-beam assistant or an adaptive cruise control. Also, the voice control could be purchased so if it was not chosen immediately when buying. It works in a similar way as the MBUX system in the Mercedes and activates the call "Hello, Volkswagen".

Everything that has to do with "light and sight" is now summarized on a "touch island" placed to the left of the steering wheel. There is no objection to that. For the volume control and the temperature control are under the navigation screen so-called "slider", which can be controlled with a finger in a depression. Around the hazard warning switch underneath, there are also buttons for direct access to functions such as parking, assistance systems and air conditioning.

Access to the Golf can still be obtained by remote key, or by smartphone. So you may also temporarily or permanently release your vehicle for other drivers, such as family members. However, we would like to bet that the majority of at least German buyers will continue to rely only on the key.

For the drive, five four-cylinder engines are initially available, including two 2,0-liter diesel with 85 kW / 115 PS and 110 kW / 150 PS, the latter always with DSG. Both engines use a dual Adblue injection, which should reduce nitrogen emissions by 80 percent.

In addition, there are petrol engines with 1,5-liter displacement and 96 kW / 130 PS or 110 kW / 150 PS, each with six-speed manual transmission. Always with DSG come the mild hybrids that run under the name eTSI. At the beginning there is the version with 110 kW / 150 PS. Later, the mild hybrids will also be available for the variants with 81 kW / 110 PS and 96 kW / 130 PS. Compared to the respective unit without hybrid support, the fuel economy should be according to VW at about 10 percent. In the coming year, the engine range will be completed gradually, including two plug-in hybrids (150 kW / 204 PS and 180 kW / 245 PS), the base gasoline and the sporty GTD, GTI and R models, the latter with over 300 PS. A natural gas variant of the 1,5-liter gasoline engine will also be available again.

And how is the new Golf going? Unspectacular, safe and dynamic - actually as usual. The only difference is that the suspension better cushions bad roads, the interior is even better shielded from the outside world, and above all the manual transmission has made a noticeable leap forward. In conjunction with the four-cylinder 130-PS petrol engine, the six-wheeler convinces with buttery, yet precise shifting paths. The gradation of the gears is perfect, we would recommend only extremely lazy people the expensive and sometimes harsh DSG automatic transmission as an extra. Also, the 150-PS gasoline engine does not have to be, clearly, he developed again noticeably more power. But who is not constantly on the highway, the 20 will hardly need more horsepower.

And who is often on German highways on the road, will grab the diesel anyway, which convinced us in the larger 150 PS version in the test drives, not surprisingly once again with a mighty start. Again, we noticed the superior insulation, so that even at low speed means to sit in a petrol engine. The foolproof driving behavior in every version is anyway a success factor of the Golf and reason why it is also a favorite of novice drivers.

Nice that the Golf now has a "real" head-up display, the information about Navi, current and permissible speed projected directly into the windshield and not in an always looking for a temporary solution-looking upstream disk. What the Golf usually offers for an extra charge everything from infotainment and assistance functions, from internet radio via the communication to other equipped with appropriate technology vehicles (Car2X) to extensive and transferable to other Gölfe personalization options - this would be the frame here bust.

His first goal has reached the Wolfsburg bestseller in any case. It is visually and technically state-of-the-art and is now right up front again in the compact class for engines, assistants and infotainment. And this despite the fact that despite the many changes in the Golf 8 you feel at home right from the start. And that may even be the most important prerequisite for continuing the success story for a few more years.


VW Golf - Specifications:

  • Five-door, five-seat hatchback model; Length: 4,28 meters, width: 1,79 meters, height: 1,46 meters, wheelbase: 2,64 meters, trunk volume: 380 - 1.237 liters
  • 1.5 TSI, 96 kW / 130 HP, maximum torque: 200 Nm at 1.400 - 4.000 rpm, 6 gearshift, Vmax: 214 km / h, 0-100 km / h: 9,2 s, Price: n / a
  • 1.5 TSI, 110 kW / 150 PS, maximum torque: 250 Nm at 1.500 - 3.500 rpm, 6-speed manual transmission, Vmax: 224 km / h, 0-100 km / h: 8,5 s, price: not specified
  • 1.5 eTSI, 110 kW / 150 HP, maximum torque: 250 Nm at 1.500 - 3.500 rpm, 7 speed DSG, Vmax: 224 km / h, 0-100 km / h: 8,5, price: n / a
  • 2.0 TDI, 85 kW / 115 HP, maximum torque: 300 Nm at 1.750 - 3.200 rpm, 6 manual gearshift, Vmax: 202 km / h, 0-100 km / h: 10,2 s, Price: n / a
  • 2.0 TDI, 110 kW / 150 HP, maximum torque: 360 Nm at 1.750 - 3.000 rpm, 7 speed DSG, Vmax: 223 km / h, 0-100 km / h: 8,8 s, price: ns

VW Golf - short characteristics:

  • Why: fresh design, modern engines, foolproof operation, high security, relatively large space, modern connectivity and infotainment systems
  • Why not: oh, go away with all the newfangled stuff, it is also expensive and the warranty is still only 2 years
  • What else: There are more than enough choices in this class - Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Mazda3, Peugeot 308, Kia Ceed, Hyundai i30, Renault Mégane etc. etc.
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