Volkswagen Golf interior
The new VW Golf’s interior is a massive step forward over the old car’s in terms of tech but some of its flashy features aren’t particularly easy to use
The new VW Golf’s interior looks great. Rather than a sea of buttons and fussy details, such as you get in many other small family cars, you get a central touchscreen, a row of touch-sensitive pads, some shiny trim that links the four slim air vents and a couple of contrasting trim pieces to stop the whole cabin looking too dark and dingy.
Pick a model with an automatic gearbox and the centre console looks super-minimalist, too. There are a couple of buttons for the likes of the parking brake and a tiny finger-sized gear selector, but that’s about it.
Another feature you won’t find in every hatchback is the digital driver’s display. This replaces conventional analogue dials with a reconfigurable screen that you control using shortcut buttons on the steering wheel.
This whole arrangement looks very smart and feels even more special if you pick a model with built-in customisable mood lighting that stretches across the dashboard, onto the doors and above the centre console. This feature comes with a choice of 10 colours in Life models and 32 colours in higher-spec Style and R Line versions.
Speaking of which, these R Line cars also get a set of more supportive sports seats with integrated headrests and a black roof lining instead of the standard car’s grey trim to make you feel more cocooned inside.
Some features of the VW Golf’s cabin are a little tricky to get used to, but it looks great and comes packed with standard equipment – even in entry-level models
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Unlike most cars, the VW Golf comes with the same infotainment system in entry-level and top-spec models. There’s an 8-inch screen mounted on the dashboard – nice and high so you can glance at it easily while you’re driving – and a 10-inch display where you’d expect to find a set of analogue dials.
Both screens look nice and sharp and respond quickly to your inputs, but the blue-on-black menus icons for the central screen could do with an extra splash of colour to help you tell them apart.
There aren’t any physical shortcut buttons either, but you do get a strip of touch-sensitive pads under the screen that let you control the stereo volume and the temperature of the cabin. You can also tweak these settings using the VW Golf’s voice control feature, too – although this isn’t a patch on the more reliable system you get in a BMW 1 Series.
Something the VW Golf lets you do that you can’t in the BMW 1 Series, is mirror your Android phone on the car’s built-in screen using a cable, Bluetooth and Android Auto. Own an iPhone? You can go one step further and wirelessly link your iPhone using Apple CarPlay.
These let you use Google Maps and Waze through the VW Golf’s infotainment display, but the standard VW system is still pretty good, with clear, crips maps and concise directions that are easy to follow.
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