Volkswagen Golf GTE interior
A sporty steering wheel, some tartan seats and loads of blue details help you tell the GTE’s cabin apart from more basic Golf’s – but so does its much smaller boot…
The GTE’s cabin combines a classy, grown-up design with a sporty steering wheel and some tartan seats borrowed from the GTI. The controls are just as well-placed and intuitive to use as in the standard Golf and all the materials you’ll touch regularly feel solid and supple.
The black roof lining and eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system have been carried over mostly unchanged from the cheaper R-Line model but the GTE’s 12.3-inch digital driver’s display really helps set it apart. It looks almost as sharp as the Virtual Cockpit you’ll find across the pricier Audi range and it makes glancing down to check sat nav directions dead easy.
Pick a GTE Advance model and you’ll get heated front seats and tinted rear windows as standard but leather seats will set you back £1,750. The same upgrade on the standard GTE costs a whopping £2,115, however.
The GTE doesn't just borrow a few letters from the GTI – it’s pinched its tartan seats and sporty steering wheel, too
All GTEs come with VW’s eight-inch Composition touchscreen infotainment system as standard. It’s bright, easy to read and comes with two physical knobs so you won’t have to take your eyes off the road to crank up the stereo volume.
Its menus are sensibly laid out and easy to navigate but the lack of physical shortcut buttons can make switching between radio, media and sat-nav features tricky, especially on the move. Satellite navigation doesn’t actually come as standard, either – for that you’ll have to upgrade to a GTE Advance model or pay an extra £1,325 for the Discovery Navigation Pro system.
The latter comes with a larger 9.2-inch display, voice control and even gesture control features, so you can swipe through menus by waving your hand through the air. It’s great for impressing your passengers but it drops the standard system’s handy physical knobs in favour of awkward on-screen buttons so it’s not quite as easy to use. You do get a handy 64GB hard drive for storing music and a DVD player, however.
The sat-nav system itself is fairly easy to use but you’ll probably be better off using the standard-fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity to mirror your smartphone’s navigation apps instead.
These features also let you make calls and stream music through the GTE’s standard eight-speaker stereo. Upgrading to a more powerful, bassier Dynaudio stereo will set you back £550 but it’s well worth considering if you’re serious about sound quality.
The GTE’s party piece is its 12.3-inch Active Info Display – a high-resolution screen that replaces conventional analogue dials. It looks brilliant and you can reconfigure its settings to choose which features take pride of place behind the steering wheel.