One might argue that it’s all about the details...

The seventh-generation Golf is entering its sixth year of production for 2018, but instead of updating the model extensively or bringing about a new generation, VW decided to provide some minor updates across the whole line. This includes LED taillights and daytime running lights as standard equipment on the outside to go with new trim panels and material options on the inside. Those looking to upgrade their headlights can now opt for full-LED units as opposed to the Bi-Xenon option of yesteryear. But, when it comes to the 2018 model year, it’s really about technology. Entry level models across the line will see an upgrade that replaces the outdated five-inch infotainment screens with 6.5-inch units. SE and SEL trim levels will now get eight-inch touchscreen units, while the Golf R gets Volkswagen’s digital cockpit as standard equipment.

Golf S models will now get automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a new chrome grille, while SEL models now include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and an auto-dimming mirror. Do I have any GTI fans out there? If so, you’ll be happy to know that the base Golf GTI gets a power update for 2018 that brings it up to par with the Sport and higher trim levels. Instead of getting 210 ponies and 258 pound-feet (on premium fuel, of course) the base model will now deliver the same 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet available at 4,700 rpm and 1,500 rpm, respectively. All three trim levels of the GTI still get the option of a six-speed DSG or six-speed manual. (Save yourself the heartache and just get the manual, okay?)

The Golf GTI S model gets a new stop-start feature when equipped with an automatic transmission and a new design for those 18-inch rollers. SE trim gets the performance brakes from the Golf R to go with the limited-slip VAQ differential. The GTI Autobahn trim gets new DCC suspension control. You’ll find all of the aforementioned updates, include the LED headlights DRLS, will show up in the Golf R.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

It’s the little things… or is it?

It’s nice to see that VW has decided to make the Golf a little more modern for 2018. To be quite honest, the five-inch screen in the base model was annoyingly small, and the fact that you couldn’t get full LED exterior lights on the base model was a deal breaker for me. I’m not a fan of a majority of VW models these days, as I feel the design of most models are dated. I mean, after all, even the Golf hasn’t really changed all that much over the last 40 years. Sure, it’s not quite as boxy and is sportier, but it’s still the same general car – just safer, more powerful, and finally getting some infotainment displays that can compete with the rest of the hot hatches out there.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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It’s not quite as boxy and is sportier, but it’s still the same general car – just safer, more powerful, and finally getting some infotainment displays that can compete with the rest of the hot hatches out there.

Be that as it may, the Golf is one of my favorite VW models, and while these upgrades don’t really bring a lot of change from 2017, it’s enough to keep the model going for a year or two until VW can usher in the eighth generation. But, for now, the VW will soldier on with its mildly tuned-down looks, fairly aggressive power, and decent fuel economy – not a bad package overall if you like a modest look.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Interior
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Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Interior
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So what do you think? Are these few updates enough to make you consider a new Golf, or will you wait for the next-gen model? Let us know in the comments section below.

Press Release

Volkswagen’s award-winning Golf family receives styling, technology and driver assistance updates across the lineup. Each refreshed model sharpens its looks and adds even more value over the outgoing version. The revised Golf family goes on sale this Fall as 2018 models. (The updated e-Golf is a 2017 model.)

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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Interior and Exterior Styling. The updated exterior design showcases sharper lines, with new bumpers and a new chrome grille. Radiant full-LED taillights and Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) come standard, with available full-LED headlights replacing the optional Bi-Xenon headlights in the previous models. Wheel designs and body colors are also refreshed. Interior updates include new trim panels and materials.

Technology. Infotainment systems in 2018 model year vehicles now feature larger, crisper touchscreens. Standard 6.5-inch displays replace the 5-inch screens in previous models. SE and SEL trims feature standard 8-inch touchscreens. The new Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, allowing drivers to customize the vehicle information on the dashboards, is standard on the Golf R.

Driver Assistance Systems. Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist) is now available on most SE trims and above, as is Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert. The updated version of Front Assist now includes Pedestrian Monitoring. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), Park Distance Control, Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist), and High Beam Control (Light Assist) are also available on some models.

Pricing for all models will be announced closer to market introduction.

2018 Golf

The 2018 Golf is available with a 1.8L TSI® engine that produces 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque (184 lb-ft with the 5-speed manual). Drivers can choose from a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission on S and SE models; SEL models come standard with the automatic transmission.

Interior and exterior updates for the 2018 Golf S include LED taillights; LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs); automatic headlights; rain-sensing wipers; a new chrome grille; and a larger, 6.5-inch touchscreen for the Composition Color infotainment system. Existing standard equipment includes Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect; power reclining front seats; cruise control; and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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The 2018 Golf SE builds off of the new content in the S trim, with a new 8-inch display for the Composition Media infotainment system. The SE trim continues to offer premium features found in the previous model year, including 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; V-tex leatherette seating surfaces; Front Assist; Blind Spot Monitoring; Car-Net Security & Service with a six-month trial; KESSY® keyless access with push-button start; Voice Control; SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with a three-month trial; and a sunroof.

New equipment for the 2018 Golf SEL includes 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; an 8-inch touchscreen for the Discover Media navigation system; ACC; and an auto-dimming mirror. Standard equipment carried over from the previous model includes Climatronic® dual-zone automatic climate control; 12-way power driver’s seat; sunroof; comfort sports seats; ambient lighting and Car-Net Guide & Inform with a three-month trial. An optional Premium Package offers Lane Assist; Light Assist; Park Distance Control; Park Assist; LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs); and the acclaimed Fender® Premium Audio System.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Golf Alltrack

The fun-to-drive and rugged Golf Alltrack features a powerful, yet fuel-efficient, 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. For exceptional performance on a variety of road conditions, the Golf Alltrack offers standard 4Motion® all-wheel drive, Hill Descent Control, and increased ground clearance over the Golf SportWagen. A six-speed DSG remains for all trims, along with the choice of a six-speed manual for S and SE trims.

Updates for the 2018 Golf Alltrack S include LED taillights; LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs); a 6.5-inch touchscreen for the Composition Color infotainment system; alarm prep; and automatic headlights with rain sensor. Other existing standard features include 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; fog lights; Car-Net App-Connect; V-tex leatherette seating surfaces with power recline (for front passengers); ambient interior lighting; and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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The 2018 Golf Alltrack SE builds on the S trim with a new 8-inch display for the Composition Media system as well as standard Front Assist. The model is loaded with attractive existing features including a panoramic sunroof; Car-Net Security & Service with a six-month trial; Voice Control; and SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a three-month trial.

The 2018 Golf Alltrack SEL model adds to the SE trim with a new 8-inch touchscreen for the Discover Media navigation system and ACC. Standard premium equipment carried over from the previous model includes 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; the Fender® Premium Audio System; Car-Net Guide & Inform with a three-month trial; Climatronic; 12-way power driver’s seat; and front comfort sport seats. An optional Driver Assistance and Lighting Package offers Lane Assist; Park Distance Control; Park Assist; Light Assist; and LED headlights.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Golf GTI

The original hot hatch rides into the 2018 model year with a power upgrade to the base trim and a simplified lineup of four-door models: S, SE and Autobahn. The 2.0-liter TSI four-cylinder turbo now makes a standard 220 horsepower at 4,700 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at just 1,500 rpm (achieved with premium unleaded fuel) across the lineup. All three trims can be paired with either a six-speed DSG® automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.

The 2018 Golf GTI S has been updated with LED taillights, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), a 6.5-inch display for the Composition Color infotainment system, and automatic headlights with rain sensor. New for 2018, the S with automatic transmission offers a fuel-saving stop-start feature that shuts down the engine while at a stop, and restarts automatically when needed. There’s a new design for the 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and the S continues to offer a performance value with features such as a rearview camera, leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel, ambient and footwell lighting with LED reading lights, LED fog lights, and Car-Net App-Connect.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Exterior
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The updated SE model now features full LED headlights with a signature red GTI stripe outlining the new design, performance brakes from the Golf R and the electronically controlled, torque sensing, limited-slip VAQ differential. A new 8-inch display for the Composition Media system brightens the cabin, and the SE also adds upscale touches like Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring. The SE trim now features Clark Plaid cloth seating surfaces, with leatherette seating surfaces as an option. A sunroof is also optional in the SE trim. As in last year’s model, the SE offers the KESSY keyless access system, Voice Control, SiriusXM satellite radio with a three-month trial, and Car-Net Security & Service with a six-month trial.

At the top of the range, the Golf GTI Autobahn adds a new 8-inch touchscreen for the Discover Media navigation system and DCC suspension control. It continues to offer a panoramic power tilt and slide sunroof, leather seating surfaces, a 12-way power driver’s seat, Climatronic, ACC, the Fender Premium Audio System, and Car-Net Guide & Inform with a three-month trial.

The available Driver Assistance package on the Autobahn trim adds Lane Assist; Park Assist; Park Distance Control; and Light Assist, which automatically dims and engages high beams depending on oncoming traffic. Summer tires are available as an option on all trims.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Interior
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2018 Golf SportWagen

The Golf SportWagen is available with a 1.8L TSI engine mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, or with 4Motion all-wheel drive combined with a six-speed manual or the six-speed DSG automatic. S models are available in manual or automatic and have the option of front-wheel drive or 4Motion® all-wheel drive. SE and SEL SportWagen trims are only available with front-wheel drive and the six-speed DSG automatic transmission.

New for 2018 on the Golf SportWagen S are: LED taillights; LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs); a larger, 6.5-inch display for the Composition Color infotainment system; and automatic headlights with rain sensor. Outfitted with standard 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (16-inch alloys for S 4Motion trim), the model also retains functional equipment from its predecessor, including Car-Net App-Connect; power reclining front seats; and cruise control. The S 4Motion trim continues to feature heated front seats as standard equipment.

The Golf SportWagen SE augments the S trim with a new 8-inch touchscreen for the Composition Media system; 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; Front Assist; and Blind Spot Monitoring. Existing premium features include a panoramic sunroof; V-tex leatherette seating surfaces; Car-Net Security & Service with a six-month trial; Voice Control; SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a three-month trial; and KESSY keyless access with push-button start.

New offerings on the Golf SportWagen SEL include 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; fog lights; an 8-inch display for the Discover Media navigation system; and auto-dimming interior rearview mirror. The existing upscale cabin environment of the Golf SportWagen SEL features a standard Fender® Premium Audio System; Car-Net Guide & Inform with a three-month trial; ACC; Climatronic; 12-way power driver’s seat; ambient lighting; and comfort sport seats.

Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much High Resolution Interior
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2018 Golf R

The Golf R—the most powerful Golf model ever to be sold in the North American market—is equipped with an EA888 four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI 2.0-liter engine that produces 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque (achieved using premium fuel). The Golf R is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or—new for 2018 and exclusive to Golf R—a seven-speed DSG dual clutch automatic.

New features for the 2018 model year include standard LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs); LED taillights; an 8-inch display for the Composition Media system; Start-Stop for DSG-equipped models; and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit.

Standard features retained from the 2017 Golf R model include the 4Motion all-wheel drive system; 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; Performance Monitor (Sport HMI); Electronic Parking Brake; Drive Mode Select with Race Mode; KESSY keyless access with push-button start; 12-way power driver’s seat; ambient lighting; automatic headlights with rain sensor; heated sport seats with leather seating surfaces; Car-Net App-Connect; Car-Net Security & Service with a six-month trial; SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a three-month trial; Voice Control; auto-dimming rearview mirror; and Climatronic.

New equipment in the 2018 Golf R with DCC and Navigation model includes an 8-inch touchscreen for the Discover Media navigation system and Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring. Existing equipment includes 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with an all-new design for the 2018 model year; ACC; Blind Spot Monitoring; Lane Assist; Light Assist; Park Distance Control; DCC suspension control; Car-Net Guide & Inform with a three-month trial and the Fender Premium Audio System.

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