Review: Volkswagen Golf (2020)

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

Not available until mid-2020.

Volkswagen Golf (2020): At A Glance

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. 

Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI 2020 Road Test

What does a Volkswagen Golf (2020) cost?

List Price from £22,325
Buy new from £20,071
Contract hire from £169.20 per month

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Golf (2020)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What small family cars would you recommend?

My son wants a car the size of a Ford Focus or Mercedes-Benz B-Class. Which would be your first and second choice and is there a car in that group he should not buy? I would very much appreciate your guidance.
The latest Ford Focus, Kia Ceed and Mazda 3 are all good choices. There are new versions of the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia on their way this year - if your son isn't concerned about having the latest model, there are some really good pre-reg deals to be had on the outgoing cars (
Answered by Andrew Brady
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