Roomier, safer Golf is above par

The all-new Volkswagen Golf has been unveiled in Berlin, 36 years after the original model redefined the small family car.

The seventh-generation Golf builds on the success of its predecessors, of which more than 29million have been sold, bringing new levels of comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency to the class.

Despite offering more room for passengers and more advanced technological features, the Mk VII Golf is up to 100kg lighter than the car it replaces, helping to make it up to 23 per cent more efficient.

On top of this, the new Golf is also safer than ever, thanks not just to a stronger body structure (which is also 23kg lighter) but also to a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems.

Though the new car’s dimensions are larger, its overall design is unmistakably that of a Golf.

Inside the Golf, rear leg-room is improved by 15mm, and the front seats have been moved 20mm further back, benefitting taller drivers.

Front shoulder-room is improved by 31mm to 1,420mm (at the rear it is 30mm wider) and elbow-room by 22mm to 1,469mm (20mm wider at the rear).

There is more room for luggage, too. The boot is 30litres larger, at 380litres, with a low 685mm sill to make loading effortless. The front passenger seat can also optionally fold fully forward, creating a loadspace which is up to 2,412mm long.

In the cockpit, the centre console is now angled more towards the driver, giving easier, more ergonomic and direct access to auxiliary controls, including the new generation of touchscreen infotainment systems that is available on the Golf.

The steering is more agile in dynamic driving situations, while ensuring high-speed stability and easy manoeuvring in the city. Specify the latest generation Park Assist and the new Golf will even park itself in a space no more than 80cm longer than the vehicle.

For the first time, the Golf is also available with driver-profile selection, which allows the driver to choose from four modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual. With a DSG gearbox a fifth option – Comfort – is also offered. Each of these modes alters the throttle mapping and engine management (among other parameters) to the chosen style, so in Eco mode, for example, the engine management, air-conditioning and ancillary systems are controlled to achieve maximum fuel consumption.

Powering the Golf is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate stop/start and battery regeneration systems.

At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2litre TSI 85 PS unit returning 4.9l/100km (around 57.6mpg and 113g/km), and a 1.4litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders, and achieves up to 4.8 l/100km (58.9mpg and 112g/km). The launch diesel engines are a 1.6litre unit with 105 PS, which returns 3.8 l/100km (74.3mpg and 99g/km) and a 2.0litre 150 PS unit which returns 4.1 l/100km (68.9 mpg and 106g/km).