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VW unveils revamped Golf. Image by Volkswagen.

VW unveils revamped Golf
The ever-popular hatchback gets a tweaked look and some fresh tech in its mid-life update.
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What's all this about?

One of the world’s most popular family hatchbacks, the Volkswagen Golf, has received a significant mid-life update for 2024. Now more high-tech and featuring a tweaked exterior design, the famous five-door is hoping to keep up with the competition.

Already? The current-generation Golf only launched recently...

It may feel new, but the Golf 8 was first revealed in 2019, and it’ll be five years old at the end of this year. Time flies, but somehow this eighth-generation Golf is already halfway through its expected lifespan.

So what's new?

Well, let’s start with the outside, where VW has changed the front bumper and the car’s lights, with new LED light clusters at the front and rear. They aren’t just any old lights, either — they’re LED matrix systems that allow for different light signatures and beam profiles depending on the situation.

Then there’s the interior, where VW has put a new touchscreen into the dashboard. It’s a pretty obvious change — where once there was a fairly unremarkable screen, there’s now a massive iPad-style ‘floating’ touchscreen in a choice of sizes, depending on the model — but it isn’t quite as new as it seems. It’s already been announced for the updated ID.4 and ID.5 models, as well as the new Tiguan, and it’s designed to be more functional and user-friendly than the old system.

That sounds promising. Wasn't the old system a bit rubbish?

That’s probably a little harsh — VW ironed out its faults with updates as time went on — but yes, it wasn’t a classic of the genre. The new system is supposedly easier to navigate, with configurable taskbar arrangements at the top and bottom of the screen, giving drivers easier access to the functions they use most. As with all these systems, it’ll probably be worth investing some time to set it all up when you first get in the car. Eventually, it’ll also get Chat GPT AI technology to help the voice assistant feel more natural and take over from the touchscreen in certain situations.

What about the touch-sensitive sliders?

Ah, they remain for climate control and volume control, but we’re happy to report that VW has learned from previous mistakes and has indeed backlit the sliders, so you have half a chance of being able to use them at night. We doubt it’ll solve the problem of usability entirely, but at least it’s a step in the right direction, albeit one that should never have been necessary.

And the engines...?

VW has, predictably, made some small tweaks to the engine range, but the basics remain unchanged. There’s a selection of common-or-garden ‘cooking’ models, joined by a plug-in hybrid, a high-performance ‘GTE’ plug-in hybrid and a petrol-powered GTI performance model. We’re expecting an R model to join the range later, although quite how that will be powered remains to be seen. And yes, we will still get the choice of hatchback and estate body styles.

But petrol-heads might notice the Golf GTI is no longer available in manual form. It’s seven-speed auto-only from hereon in, but power has increased slightly to 265hp car for extra performance. And for those who prefer diesel, there’s a choice of two different 2.0-litre engines. A 115hp unit with a six-speed manual transmission, or a 150hp version with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The rest of the range comprises the hybrids (both of which get six-speed automatic gearboxes) and the 1.5-litre petrol engines with 115 or 150hp and the option of mild-hybrid technology. A 2.0-litre petrol with 204hp will follow in 2025, offering an automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive as standard.

It’s worth noting, however, that the plug-in hybrids (both the 204hp eHybrid and the 272hp GTE) will get a 50kW DC quick-charging function for, erm, faster charging, and an electric range of around 60 miles. Although the GTE isn’t as efficient as the less powerful eHybrid, VW says both will manage more than 620 miles (1,000km) without refuelling with petrol or electricity.

Anything else?

VW is putting some new standard equipment in the mix, too, with six equipment packages at launch. Internationally (we aren’t sure how the range will look in the UK), the basic ‘Golf’ versions will be joined by Life, Style and R-Line trims, while the GTE and GTI models sit at the top of the range. All will get climate control, parking sensors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and LED headlights.

So when can I have one?

The new Golf is set to arrive in dealerships this spring, although VW hasn’t yet told us how much it will cost. But the company is sure to provide proper specification and pricing details for the UK before the car is made available to the public.

James Fossdyke - 23 Jan 2024

Earlier articles featuring 2024 Volkswagen Golf

2024-01-08: VW teases Golf facelift in Las Vegas

2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.

2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen Golf Reveal. Image by Volkswagen.    - Volkswagen road tests
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VW teases Golf facelift in Las Vegas. Image by Volkswagen.
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