The latest Golf is in its eighth generation some 45 years since it was first launched. It has become a classless car loved by everyone from ordinary families to the rich and famous. Golf 8 starts at €28,292 (£23,860) on-the-road for the lead-in Life model with a perky 1.0-litre TSi engine under the bonnet. Standard fare includes climate control, powered and heated door mirrors, automatic lights and wipers plus automatic dimming rear view mirror, alloy wheels, navigation and a plethora of safety kit.
A variety of petrol engines from 1.0-litre to 2.0-litre with power ranging from 110PS through to 320PS depending on the model. There is also the option, across the engine range, of mild hybrid assistance and a plug-in hybrid GTE model. Transmissions are six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG dual clutch automatic.
Despite some noticeable minor cost-cutting measures – the lack of a gas strut on the bonnet, no cover over the cup holders in the centre console, visible key apertures on the door handles and a few others – there is still that solid, durable and quality feel to this latest Golf. Even in its lead-in form it has huge appeal and thanks to a policy of evolution rather than revolution in its design, Golf models on the second-hand market retain a premium price over competitors.
It has gone far too digital for some, although I’m sure VW would argue that the system makes for a more efficient driver experience. There is no doubt that when living with the car the various touchscreen actions required for various functions would become more familiar.
However, to me the system is not as intuitive as it could be and, until you’re fully used to it, it can feel like a distraction.
On the road performance brings no complaints with my 115 hp 2.0-litre diesel providing a good turn of speed when required and impressive fuel consumption. It produces a composed ride over even the roughest road surfaces and can move briskly along twisting cross country roads. Despite being a ‘dirty’ diesel it is now one of the cleanest units available with major reductions in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.
With its smartly evolved design there is no mistaking that this is a Golf, it retains that certain something special on the style front which appeals to such a broad range of drivers. At its price point the new Golf needed to deliver… and it does!
Facts at a Glance
- Model: VW Golf Life
- Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel
- Gears: 6-Speed manual
- Price: €30,219 (£25,485)
- Performance: 0-100 kph (62 mph) 10.2 seconds/Maximum Speed 202 kph (126 mph)
- Economy: 4.1l/100km (68.8 mpg) Combined driving
- Emissions: 108 g/km
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.