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Volkswagen Golf R interior

It’s incredibly high tech inside the Golf these days, but usability has definitely suffered as a result

Style

The new VW Golf R’s interior is a nice enough place to sit. There are blue highlights throughout, including across the dashboard, on the seats, armrest and on the doors. The dashboard and door cards also feature a neat velour trim, which feels classy.

That said, some of the plastics lower down in the cabin and in the rear-seat area feel pretty below par for a £40k car.

A crisp central touchscreen dominates the dashboard, and below it lies a row of touch-sensitive climate controls, which are somewhat less than wholly successful to use.

Below these lies a panel that allows you to adjust the car’s drive settings, but this requires too much concentration to hit accurately on the move.

The centre console is quite control-free, and features only a starter button, a button for the handbrake and 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 as is the Volkswagen way.

The rest of the interior is suitably roomy, and the two front occupants sit on large sports seats, which are trimmed in a mixture of grey velour and a stripy blue material that feels surprisingly cheap and out of place in a £40k car. Behind everyone is a 374-litre boot that features all the usual hooks and lashing points. There’s reasonable space for everyone, but those in the rear might feel a bit hemmed in, simply because the one-piece sports seats up front are so big.

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Infotainment

The Volkswagen Golf R 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.

There’s a strip of touch-sensitive controls beneath the screen that let you control the cabin temperature and audio system volume. In practice, these can be annoyingly imprecise. And unlike the rest of the cabin, there’s no backlighting for the panel, making it unusable 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 at responding.

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, however.

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