Volkswagen Golf (2020) Review

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Volkswagen Golf (2020) At A Glance

+Available with petrol, diesel or hybrid engines. Stylish interior.

-Not available until mid-2020.

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf will compete against the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Vauxhall Astra, but offer more choice with buyers getting the choice of petrol, diesel, hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains. Fuel economy figures and CO2 ratings are still to be confirmed, but Volkswagen says fuel costs will be up to 17 per cent lower than the outgoing Golf.

The four-cylinder 2.0 TDI turbodiesel is available with outputs of 115PS or 150PS and will be "amongst the world's cleanest combustion engines", according to Volkswagen, with a twin dosing dual AdBlue injection system reducing harmful nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) by up to 80 per cent. A high performance GTD will be launched in late-2020.

The petrol engines start with the familiar three-cylinder 1.0 TSI - with 90PS or 110PS - while the four-cylinder 1.5 TSI has outputs of 130PS or 150PS. Almost all of the petrols get the option of a mild hybrid system - badged eTSI - with a 48-volt motor and battery pack harvesting energy under braking and boosting fuel economy by using the captured energy to assist the engine. 

The Golf GTE will be the only version that will connect to the mains via a plug, with the electric e-Golf dropped from the range to make room for the ID.3.

The GTE's hybrid system - an electric motor linked to the 1.4 TSI petrol engine - develops 245PS and gets a more powerful 13kWh lithium battery pack that will allow it to travel further on pure electric power, although Volkswagen hasn't said what the improvement will be over the existing 31-miles you get with the outgoing model. 

The powerful 2.0 TSI will be added to the range in late-2020 when the GTI is expected to be launched, while the potent 4Motion R version of the Golf will arrive in early-2021. Until then, the GTE version of the Golf will be the most powerful version on sale at launch.

All hybrid versions are automatic only, with the GTE using a six-speed DSG gearbox while the eTSI petrols are linked to a seven-speed DSG 'box. All of the other petrol and diesels will use a new six-speed manual transmission as standard.

Buyers get the choice of four trim levels - S, SE, SEL and R-Line - and all models get LED exterior lighting and a 10-inch infotainment as standard. The interior shows a significant reduction in cabin clutter, with almost all of the buttons from the dashboard being replaced with touch sensitive controls.

A fully digital instrument cluster is also standard across the range, while an optional Ask Alexa voice control system will allow the driver to browse music or check the weather reports without taking a hand off the wheel. 

As you might expect, Volkswagen has refreshed the Golf's already comprehensive array of driver aids, which now includes a semi-autonomous cruise control system that will control the brakes, acceleration and steering on the motorway. A Car2X system will also allow the car to communicate with other Golfs - within a range of 800 metres - to warn the driver of potential road hazards or traffic delays.

Volkswagen hasn't released any specifications about the size of the interior or the boot, but the new-gen Golf will be 29mm longer than the outgoing model - now 4284mm - while the car's width has been shaved by a single millimetre to 1789mm. 

Looking for a Volkswagen Golf (2020 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Golf (2020)

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Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

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Ask Honest John

I'm looking for a medium-sized hatchback. What's the best model to buy?
"I've got up to £25k to spend. I'm looking at the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 (either the Style or the R). It's a Golf-size car I want, with a diesel engine and automatic gearbox. Is the Golf a better option than a Focus, Astra etc?"
The latest Golf is an excellent car and is unlikely to disappoint – but it's no longer the class leader it once was. If practicality is a concern, look at the Skoda Octavia, while the Ford Focus is a good alternative that's a little more enjoyable to drive. Alternatively, premium contenders like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will all feel a bit more special but won't cost a great deal more to run.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best petrol hatchback?
"I will be changing from an estate to a hatchback as the space is not used. Top choice at the moment is a Golf. My preferences are petrol (annual mileage 10k), automatic and a bit of grunt so around 150ps. What else should I consider with a budget of £15k - £20k? Thanks."
A Volkswagen Golf is a good choice. Take a look at the Mazda 3, too – it's a very stylish hatchback and the Skyactiv-X petrol engine should have enough grunt (avoid the Skyactiv-G). You could also consider a hybrid Toyota Corolla. It'll be very reliable and sounds like it'd suit your mileage well.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best first car for a tall driver?
"What’s the best first car for a tall man? He’s 6'8" and needs a lot of legroom."
Difficult one - assuming he's a young driver, anything particularly big will be expensive to insure. We'd recommend trying an insurance comparison website and searching for quotes for a wide variety of cars to see if there's anything surprisingly cheap. Try a Ford Fiesta or Honda Jazz as well as bigger cars like the Volkswagen Golf.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can I reject a car because it doesn't have folding mirrors?
"An elderly friend took delivery of the new mk8 Golf earlier this week. To his dismay, it doesn't have folding mirrors - which he needs because of a narrow garage. As his previous Mk7 had folding mirrors, he assumed the Mk8 would have the same. VW customer services told him he should have bought a 2021 model! Has he grounds for rejecting the car?"
Afraid not, you only retain the right to reject the car if there is something fundamentally wrong with it. If your friend was told that it had folding mirrors, then he might be able to reject it but even that would be a bit of a stretch. You don't say which trim or spec his old car or new car was, but he may have spec'd folding mirrors (or picked a trim level with them as standard), but that doesn't mean they're standard on the model he bought.
Answered by Georgia Petrie

What does a Volkswagen Golf (2020) cost?

Buy new from £19,555 (list price from £23,355)