2020 Volkswagen Golf: Price, specs and release date

Russell Campbell
August 21, 2019

This is the 2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf – the latest version of one of the world’s best, and most-popular, family cars. Here’s everything you need to know. 

  • Specs incude

    self-driving tech and advanced mild-hybrid

  • Price

    est. from £20,000

  • Release date

    2020

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf price and release date

The 2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf is set to be revealed towards the end of the year with the car going on sale a few months later. Prices will start from around £20,000 for a basic car and you can expect to pay about £2,500 more for a mid-spec model with an engine that can haul you along at a decent lick and desirable equipment like autonomous driving. 

The Volkswagen Golf will also be available as a practical estate, city-friendly hybrid and as performance-oriented GTI and R models, and a high-specification car could easily cost more than £40,000.  

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf styling

You can expect the new Golf to take an evolutionary approach to its styling – the cues for which can be traced way back to the original model that went on sale in 1974. 

The most obvious change will be the car’s new slimline front end and bonnet that bulges like a beluga whale’s head. It’s designed to protect pedestrians from the car’s hard internals, if they’re unfortunate enough to get hit. 

Another boost to safety will come in the form of LED headlights. Previously only offered as standard on top-of-the-range models, they’ll likely now be fitted across the range, meaning all buyers can benefit from their pure white light. As a result, you can expect high-spec cars to also take a step up: they’ll be offered with Matrix LEDs that have multiple computer-controlled LED bulbs that can be turned off individually. This will allow you to use your full beams even with oncoming traffic. 

Underneath those you’ll see a restyled lower bumper that is designed to smooth the air flow around the car’s front wheels, making slight efficiency gains in the process. 

Like the front of the car, in profile the VW will be instantly recognisable as a Golf thanks to design elements like the stepped crease that runs nose to tail along the body and the thick pillar between the rear windows and the back windscreen. Both are designed to make the car look solid and durable – key Golf selling points. 

Even the most basic cars will get a subtle rear spoiler, designed to help fuel economy at motorway speeds. Slender LED tail lights will be standard at the rear. The back bumper design will depend on which model you specify: entry-level cars will sport a simpler design while sportier R Line cars will get a mock rear diffuser.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf wagon (estate)

Along with the hatchback body shape, you’ll also be able to have the new Golf as a longer estate model with a larger boot. It should be a quarter bigger than the hatchback’s load bay, allowing you to squeeze in an additional large suitcase and making it an ideal choice if you’re a dog owner. With the rear seats folded neatly away, you can expect the Golf estate to have a completely flat floor that will make it easy to slide in heavy loads. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf engines

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf will be the first Golf to offer mild-hybrid tech even on its regular models, with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo and 1.5-litre turbo petrol engines getting a 48V system that’ll help the car harvest more power when coasting or braking. These engines will use cylinder deactivation technology to save fuel – by resting half the engine when its extra power isn’t needed. If you really want to save fuel though, you’ll still want a diesel model – and VW is said to be developing a new 2.0-litre engine that should offer punchy motorway performance and excellent fuel economy. 

Perhaps more importantly, you can expect it to come loaded with clever tech that’ll make it extremely clean to comply with tough new emissions regulations. Fast GTI models are also on the way, but a few months later, with 255hp and 290hp versions expected. Most Golfs will be front-wheel drive, but expect the range-topping Golf R to get four-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.

The new Golf will also benefit from an all-new manual gearbox that, its maker claims, will be able to improve the car’s emissions and fuel efficiency by up to five per cent.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf plug-in hybrid

Along with having mild-hybrid technology on most models, you can also expect the Mk8 Golf to also be offered as a GTE plug-in hybrid version. It will use a turbocharged petrol engine in combination with a large electric motor and battery pack to give the car a reliable all-electric range of more than 30 miles. This would make the GTE exempt from paying inner-city tariffs such as the London Congestion charge. 

Brisk performance will also be on the cards. In fact, you can expect the GTE to offer similar performance to the GTI hot hatch, although its heavy batteries will make it feel less nimble in bends.

2020 Volkswagen Golf interior

To see the most significant changes that’ll be made to the 2019 Volkswagen Golf, you might want to skip the outside and jump straight behind the wheel because it’s inside where the real revolution will happen. As you can see from this sketch recently released by VW, even basic models will come with a large central infotainment screen that’ll come fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard – so you can use your phone’s sat-nav on the car’s big screen – and offer next-generation voice activation that really can understand spoken commands.

Spend extra and you’ll be able to swap the single central infotainment screen for two huge displays that sweep from behind the steering wheel to the centre of the dashboard. This upgraded system’s digital instrument binnacle will be capable of displaying a large sat-nav display behind the steering wheel, while the centre touchscreen will come fitted with connected tech that’ll mean the car can do things like find a parking space in real time. 

The same connected services will also mean you’ll be able to lock and unlock the car, update the sat-nav and check fuel levels remotely using an app on your phone. With colourful displays used to control most of the car’s functions, the dashboard will be largely free of conventional buttons – leaving the way clear for expensive trim pieces and selectable mood lighting that’ll make the car feel more premium. Expect plastic quality to be extremely high with soft and squidgy materials used for everything in your eye line.

2020 Volkswagen Golf Golf practicality

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf will have a marginally longer wheelbase – the space between the front and rear wheels – than the current model to give increased interior space. That’ll be felt most by your tall rear-seat passengers who can expect more head, knee and legroom. The car’s wider track will also allow for more hip and elbow room if you ever need to carry three people in the back. 

Boot space will also increase from the current model’s 380-litre figure to closer to 450 litres – giving you room for an extra small suitcase. Expect the boot to offer excellent packaging with a low load lip and a floor that remains flat even when the rear seats are folded away – making it as easy to load awkward loads as possible.

2020 Volkswagen Golf driving

While the 2020 Volkswagen Golf is set to be lighter than the current model, making it feel more nimble in bends. Improved sound-deadening and enhanced aerodynamics will make the new Golf quieter at a cruise and multi-link rear suspension is likely to be standard to help smooth out bumpy roads. 

But the big change isn’t how it’ll feel to drive, it’s that you won’t actually have to drive it. Well, sort of. That’ll be true on the motorway at least, where the new Golf’s array of safety systems and sensors mean it’ll be able to brake, accelerate and steer itself at a cruise while observing the speed limit all by itself. Even if you do something stupid – like pull out in front of another car – it’ll be able to correct the mistake. 

As well as braking to avoid potential collisions, the new Golf will be able to steer around accidents autonomously. Another safety feature at the front of the car is the raised bonnet which should protect pedestrians from the hard engine below should they be unfortunate enough to get run over.  

In town, the car’s upgraded self-park will mean it can squeeze itself into tight parking spaces, and you’ll get a brilliant view courtesy of the car’s high-definition reversing and birdseye-view cameras. 

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