The Volkswagen Golf is roomy enough for four tall adults, has loads of smaller storage spaces dotted around its cabin and has a decent-sized boot that’s well thought out, although some alternatives have even more load-lugging capacity
You won’t have a problem getting comfortable behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Golf. Both front seats are height adjustable so you’ll not find yourself peering over the steering wheel. In fact, cranked up to its highest setting, the driver’s seat makes the Golf feel like a mini SUV – perfect if you’re vertically challenged.
Equally, if you prefer a sportier, low-set position then you can slam the seat down pretty low too, and the steering wheel adjusts in and out, as well as up and down. Basic S models do without steering-wheel-mounted controls for the radio and trip computer but all the dashboard’s functions are within easy reach, so this is no major hardship.
Jump into the back seats and you’ll find the VW Golf has more head and legroom than you’ll get in the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus, and the big windows help it feel airier than the more expensive Mercedes A-Class. If you need to carry three adults in the back then elbow room is fine, but the middle passenger will be short of foot space thanks to the hump in the centre of the floor. It’s also a shame to see signs of cost cutting, with the rear finished in cheaper plastics than the spongy materials found up front – but this is common among family cars.
If you often carry rear passengers then it makes sense to go for a five-door VW Golf and the same is true if you carry a child seat. The only slight issue is that the rear doors don’t open all that wide, but that’s splitting hairs – the well-marked Isofix points make it easy to slide the base into position and the seat locates without issue.
There’s no shortage of smaller storage areas in the Volkswagen Golf to hide the associated mess that comes with a family, and all the cubbies open with a damped smoothness that makes them a pleasure to use.
VW nails the basics perfectly – the felt-lined door pockets stop things noisily rattling around and can swallow a 1.5-litre bottle of water with plenty of room to spare. You can also hide small valuables under the front-centre armrest, and you get two cupholders and a small tray that’s perfect for change.
There are lots of nice little touches in the interior, such as the huge glovebox that’s cooled by the air-conditioning and the illuminated vanity mirrors on the underside of the sun visors. Another feel-good feature is the hidden phone tray – complete with AUX and USB plugs – and the infotainment system that reminds you to take your handset with you when you leave the car. All these nice features just help make for a more enjoyable ownership experience.
The VW Golf's boot isn't the biggest around but it'll have no trouble carrying a large baby buggy – or a set of golf clubs for that matter
The Volkswagen Golf’s 380-litre boot is substantially bigger than the one you get in a Ford Focus and a little bigger than the load bay in the Vauxhall Astra. If size is important, then the Honda Civic and Skoda Octavia both have even bigger boots.
But size isn’t everything – it’s what you do with it that counts, and in this respect the Golf trumps comparable models. A brilliant feature unavailable in a number of similar cars is the adjustable boot floor. It means you can choose between a deep load area or one that sits almost completely flush with the rear bumper, so there’s no awkward step to lift things over. You’ll also love the flip-down hooks for keeping your shopping in one piece and the floor tethers for safely securing heavy items. There’s also a 12v power socket for powering anything from a phone to a vacuum cleaner for getting rid of dog hairs. Speaking of which, old dogs will love the VW Golf‘s boot for another reason – it’s quite low to the ground, so it’s not a giant leap up from the floor to a cosy bed inside.
The adjustable boot floor also comes in handy when the standard 60:40 splitting rear seats are folded down, leaving a 1,270-litre load bay that’s completely flat – so long as you remember to remove the rear-seat headrests. That flat floor is useful when loading something awkward such as a bike. Incidentally, a bike will fit with both its wheels attached, but only if you push the front seats forwards – try doing that in a Ford Focus!