You might not see much visual difference between Volkswagen’s latest Golf and its predecessor, but under the skin the latest car is full of improvements.
But what will you actually gain from going for the newest model? We’ve taken a look at the statistics to see what progress has been made.
Continuing a trend we’ve seen ever since the first VW Golf, the Mk7 model has grown in relation to its predecessor. It’s 150mm longer, 13mm wider and slightly lower, but only by 4mm.
Model-for-model the new car is lighter too - dropping from 1229 kg in the old 1.2 TSI, to 1205 kg for the new model. Some variants are up to 100kg lighter, on the new MQB platform.
Aerodynamics have improved too - the new car is 10 percent more aerodynamic than the old model, with a drag coefficient of 0.27 - not far off a Toyota Prius.
And to look at? Well, it’s quite similar to the previous car, but the devil is in the details. It’s still very obviously a Golf, and you can trace its profile and some of its lines right back to the original. The wheel arches are now more pronounced though, the surfacing even cleaner than before, and the car looks better proportioned thanks to those dimension changes. Daytime running lights, standard across all Mk7s will help it stand out slightly.
The interior is typical Golf - that is to say, restrained - but has some noticeable benefits.
Golf Mk7 Interior
Golf Mk6 Interior
Space for passengers has improved. There’s 15mm greater rear legroom, and front seats can now go 20mm further back, suitable for taller drivers. There’s more shoulder room front and back (31mm and 30mm) more elbow room (22 and 20mm, front and back), and at 380 litres, the boot holds 30 litres more luggage than before.
The dashboard now looks and feels of a higher quality, and has been angled towards the driver - more like that in Mk3 and Mk4 generation Golfs. All Golfs now get a 5.8-inch touchscreen display, too. Different dashboard finishes conspire to make it a much more inviting environment than the occasionally dour old car.
Standard interior equipment is higher on all trims now, with the touchscreen display, Bluetooth telephone connection and a front armrest featuring on all models across the range.
We’ve not yet driven the new car ourselves at carwow, but it has already been showered in praise in the wider motoring press. Improvements have been made everywhere you’d expect - ride, handling, refinement, performance and economy.
Technology has also contributed. Golfs now get an electronic handbrake, and a host of safety features which you can read about in our Mk7 Golf safety preview.
The steering now uses a variable ratio system - responsive at low speeds, stable at higher ones - and that light-weight construction has made the Golf more nimble than before too.
Lastly, if you have trouble parking, the optional Park Assist system will do it for you…
Golf Mk7 Rear
Golf Mk6 Rear
This is perhaps the area with the fewest changes next to the old car.
That’s not to say that you’ll find no difference in performance or economy, but the engines themselves should be quite familiar. The standard 1.4-litre petrol has been dropped, and all engines now feature turbocharging. That means the range kicks off with an 85 PS 1.2 TSI, rises through a 1.4 TSI, and offers 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo diesels with the familiar TDI badge.
GTI and GTD models will also join the range, as will an ultra-efficient, 88 mpg BlueMotion diesel.
There are improvements all around, though. Even the 1.2 TSI is quicker and more efficient than its predecessor (thank the lower weight and better aerodynamics). And the 1.4 TSI ACT features clever cylinder deactivation, dropping two cylinders under light throttle loads (when cruising, for example) to save fuel. The result? Up to 58.9 mpg, and only 112 g/km of CO2.
Directly comparable engines:
1.2 TSI 85 PS Manual
Mk6: 51.4 mpg, £100 yr tax (D), 0-62 in 12.3 secs
Mk7: 57.6 mpg, £30 yr tax (C), 0-62 in 11.9 secs
1.2 TSI 105 PS Manual
Mk6: 49.6 mpg, £120 yr tax (E), 0-62 in 10.6 secs,
Mk7: 57.6 mpg, £30 yr tax (C), 0-62 in 10.2 secs
1.4 TSI 122 PS Manual
Mk6: 45.6 mpg, £135 yr tax (F), 0-62 in 9.5 secs
Mk7: 54.3 mpg, £30 yr tax (C), 0-62 in 9.3 secs
1.6 TDI 105 PS Manual
Mk6: 62.8 mpg, £0 tax a year (A), 0-62 in 11.3 secs
Mk7: 74.3 mpg, £0 tax a year (A), 0-62 in 10.7 secs
Golf Mk7 Front
Golf Mk6 Front
The Volkswagen Golf, next to the Porsche 911, is one of the best examples of vehicle evolution on the market.
At no time has the Golf made a stratospheric leap from one generation to the next, instead improving usefully in the areas that matter. The benefits for VW are clear - what works with one model will continue working for the next, and the sales keep pouring in.
But the benefits are there for the customer too, with better performance, economy, comfort and safety.
Also check out our article on the Mk7 Golf GTI vs Mk6 GTI
If you’re thinking of buying the new Golf then check out our 2013 VW Golf review section, with reviews, details on how to get a 10% discount, photos, videos, stats and more!