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Volkswagen Golf GTI interior

The Golf GTI is stylish and comfortable but the controls for the air-con and on the steering wheel are tricky to use

Style

The new VW Golf GTI’s interior is a pretty nice place to sit, although it’s no longer a class leader for quality, especially so in the back-seat area.

There are red highlights throughout, including across the dashboard, on the seats, armrest and on the doors. The dashboard and door trims also feature a neat honeycomb design, which emphasises the sporty theme.

A central touchscreen dominates the dashboard, and below it lies a row of touch-sensitive pads, which are somewhat less than wholly successful. Below these lies a panel that allows you to adjust the car’s drive settings, but this requires too much concentration to hit accurately.

The centre console is quite control-free, and features only a starter button that pulses red, plus a button for the handbrake, and if you’ve specified the DSG automatic gearbox there’s a tiny finger-sized gear selector.

Ahead of the driver sits a digital driver’s display in place of conventional dials. This screen can be configured as you fancy, but the annoying thing is that it’s permanently coloured red, which makes you think you’re always in Sport mode.

The rest of the interior is suitably roomy, and the two front occupants sit on large sports seats, which are trimmed in the traditional GTI tartan.

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Infotainment

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has an 8-inch screen front and centre on the dashboard, and besides is a 10-inch cockpit display.

Both screens respond quickly to inputs, be they by touch or using the buttons on the steering wheel, and the graphics are all sharp and clear. It’s just a shame that the information display background is permanently red in the GTI, because this can fool you into thinking you’re constantly in Sport mode.

There’s a strip of touch-sensitive controls beneath the screen that lets you control the cabin temperature and audio system volume. In practice, these can be annoyingly imprecise and worse still they’re not backlit, so you can’t see them at night. Still, there’s a voice-control system to allow you to manage settings, although the similar system in a BMW 1-Series is much better.

You can also control various functions through the controls on the steering wheel, although the fact that they’re touch-sensitive, and require swiping or pressing for different actions is simply confusing.

You can mirror your phone using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but only the Apple system allows you to do this wirelessly; you’ll need to plug your Android phone in using a cable. Both systems allow you to use Google Maps and Waze through the infotainment display

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