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.

Style

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 (as shown below), 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.

While every Golf looks stylish, your Volkswagen Golf interior will change as you move up the equipment grades. Check out which interior suits you best with our reviews of the Life, Style and R-Line trims.

Volkswagen Golf trim reviews

The Volkswagen Golf comes with a choice of three equipment grades, or trims – Life, Style and R-Line.

Golf Life

Life is the entry-level model, but you still get a 10-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, wireless connection for Apple CarPlay and standard wired connection for Android Auto. You also get a digital driver’s display instead of the traditional analogue dials behind the steering wheel. You can configure the display to show the info you’re most interested in.

You also get ambient lighting in Life cars, but with the choice of 10 colour options, not the 30 you get in Style and R Line.

So, by opting for Life trim, you’re not missing out on the main tech offered in the Golf. It just looks a bit more plain than the other two versions.

You get cloth seats as standard – VW calls the seat cloth design ‘Maze’. Also as standard, you get 16-inch ‘Norfolk’ alloy wheels.

Golf Style

There’s a £2000 jump from Life to Style, with much of the extra features focussed on enhancing the interior and making life easier for the driver. The front seats have what VW calls ‘Art Velours’ centre sections with microfibre side bolsters. They also have back storage pockets – so somewhere for back-seat passengers to put their phones or tablets.

As mentioned above, you get the choice of 30 colours for your ambient lighting, though we’d struggle to name 30 colours, never mind have a favourite. You get three-zone climate control in Style cars, so you, your front-seat passengers and those in the back can all have slightly different air-con settings.

Style cars do come with useful safety kit, however. They get high-beam assist, so you don’t have to manually flick from low to high beam at night. They also get Emergency assist (DSG automatic models) where if the car’s sensors detect you’re incapable of driving, it will switch on the hazard lights and bring the car to a controlled stop. Manual versions get Side Assist, that monitors blind spots and gives a warning for lane changing. It also has automatic cruise control, which keeps you in lane and maintains a safe distance to the car in front, even if that car slows down.

There are visual upgrades too that make the car look a bit smarter. You get brushed dark metal inserts in the dash and front door panels, carpet mats, front footwell lights and puddle lights on the door mirror.

The exterior is different to Life cars thanks to body coloured front air-intake fins and chrome strip, chrome surrounds on the window edges. There’s an LED light strip across the radiator grille and the headlights move as you corner, so you can see the edges of the road clearer. Style cars get 17-inch ‘Belmont’ alloy wheels.

Golf R-Line

R-Line is the sportiest-looking Golf – that is before you move on up to actual sporty Golf GTI. You get front sport seats – with a centre section made from ‘Sardegna’ cloth and Art Velours’ side bolsters. You get an R-Line logo on the seatbacks, too. There’s another R-Line logo on the steering wheel – which, by the way is heated.

The pedals are made from brushed stainless steel and you get carbon grey inserts on the dash and door panels. The biggest changes are reserved for the outside of the car. The R-Line exterior pack includes its own design of front and rear bumpers, side skirts, tinted glass on the rear and back windows and chrome effect exhaust tailpipes – although these are fake tailpipes, not real. You get ‘Valencia’ 17-inch grey alloy wheels and lowered sports suspension, too. It’s the coolest looking Golf in the range, which it’s why it’s our favourite.

See how much you can save on a Golf R-Line when you browse our Golf deals.

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

Mat Watson
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Infotainment

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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