VW gave the Golf a face lift and some new technology!

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As a model that has been around since the mid-1970s, there’s a certain standard that we’ve all come to expect from the Volkswagen Golf. With the current-gen model being introduced as early as 2012 at the Paris Motor Show we’ve been expecting to see a facelifted model anytime, and sure enough, Volkswagen has made some exciting changes for the 2017 model year. Building on the hatchbacks basic but sporty nature, VW has redesigned the front fascia, restyled the headlight lenses, integrated a whole new generation of infotainment systems, introduced some new engine options and announced a new seven-speed dual clutch transmission that will slowly replace the current six-cog unit. On top of this, the 2017 model year also brings some new safety features, including traffic jam assist, emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, and emergency assist.

For a car that is so widely loved – VW has sold more than 33 million examples since its introduction in the 1970s – the Golf is definitely a fan favorite, but its appearance in standard or non-GTI form has traditionally been somewhat mundane without a whole lot of character compared to models it competes with like the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and Fiat 500. But all that changes now that the Golf has all these sporty updates, which should be enough to keep the car fresh until the next-gen model debuts sometime toward the end of the decade.

It’s pretty clear that we have a lot to talk about, so let’s dive on in and see what’s up with the 2017 Volkswagen Golf. It’s sure to be the sportiest model that you’ve seen to date.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf.


2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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The heaviest change to the exterior takes place up front where the Golf no has a much sportier front fascia. The air dam is now huge compared to before with the bottom edge of its trim rotating around and doubling back on top of the corner air intakes. Those corner air intakes aren’t necessarily larger, but they are elevated compared to the pre-facelift model. That horizontal louver in each corner vent now looks like a separate unit as opposed to looking like a formed part of the fascia itself. The body line just above and to the outside of the corner vent is now more pronounced than ever. The chrome strip in the grille now extends into the headlights via a sporty LED stripe that surrounds the bottom and outer edges of each headlight bulb. On a side note, models that are equipped with adaptive cruise control or front assist now have the radar sensor hidden behind the VW emblem instead of inside the air dam.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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As you can see, the facelifted model (left) is much sportier and stylish compared to the pre-facelift model (right.)

In the rear, not much has changed, but all models now come standard with LED taillights. Higher trim models get the advantage of having animated flowing turn indicators that light up in a bright orange. Range-topping models also have Individual LED’s for the taillights and brake lights – a small feature that helps to differentiate it from the models that sit below it. Everything else has remained the same through the facelift, however, the horizontal body line on the hatch is now much more pronounced than before, and the reflectors in the corner of the rear fascia have also been slightly reshaped. It’s not much, but it’s just enough.

On a side note, take a look at that front end again. Does the design of the front fascia, specifically the air dam and the trim around the corner air intakes, remind you of Mercedes design a little bit? It’s not identical by any means, but if you look at the 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe, the design of the front fascia’s definitely have their similarities. See for yourself:

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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2016 - 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe
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The Competition

As I mentioned before, the Golf hasn’t exactly competed well in the looks department with competing models like the Mazda 3 and the Ford Focus, among others. In a world where automotive design has shifted toward a more aggressive style, VW has finally gotten on board with the golf.

2016 - 2018 Mazda3 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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2015 Ford Focus
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2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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As you can see the stylish and aggressive design of the Mazda 3 (top left) and the Ford Focus (top right) are now rivaled with a vengeance by the facelifted VW Gold (bottom.)

Granted the Mazda 3 was the sportier of the three, but it and the new Golf are now in a dead heat as far as exterior style goes. The Focus isn’t quite ready to compete in the looks department, but Ford is updating it for the 2018 model year, so it could very well make a late appearance to the party with more aggressive and sporty cues as well. Then again, if you’re someone who likes more traditional and laid back styling, the current Focus might be the best choice for you considering the overall aggressive nature of the new Golf and the Mazda 3.

Volkswagen Golf Mazda 3 Ford Focus
Wheelbase (inches) 103.8 106.3 104.3
Length (inches) 167.6 175.6 171.7
Height (inches) 57.1 57.3 57.8
Width (inches) 70.8 70.7 71.8


2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Interior
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Inside the facelifted Golf, there aren’t any drastic changes as far as overall design goes, but that doesn’t mean that Volkswagen left it untouched. On the contrary, VW says it’s “Color & Trim” division had come up with new decorative trim panels for the dash, doors, and center console. The seats also get new covers. As you can see from the image above, it looks like this model is sporting a carbon fiber-ish panel in the dash and on the door trim. It’s a little way to keep things fresh without spending tons of money on a complete redesign. More important than things like seat covers and trim inserts is the updated infotainment systems now available in the Golf.

There aren’t any drastic changes as far as overall design goes, but that doesn’t mean that Volkswagen left it untouched.

The existing infotainment systems are gone and replaced by the next generation of MIB infotainment systems. This means larger screens and more features than ever. For instance, the Composition and Discover Media systems now have an eight-inch touchscreen – a 1.5-inch jump in size over the outgoing system. The Discover Pro system now boasts a 9.2-inch display (up from eight inches on the outgoing unit) and its resolution has increased from 800x400 to 1280x640. And, believe it or not, gesture control is now available in the Golf – a first for any VW model – but is limited to the Discover Pro system that also offers both touch- and voice-command operation. The gesture control and new proximity sensors that it relies on aren’t only a first for the Golf but a first for any car in the compact segment. On the more basic side of things, the Composition Color system has been updated to a 6.5-inch screen (up from five inches) with a resolution of 800x480 (up from 400x200.) The black-and-white Composition Touch system has been discontinued – it was apparently just too 1950’s.

All of the systems feature an all-new look that brings the golf into the modern age and put it on top of the competition as far as features, design, and functionality go.

VW has actually said very little about connectivity options with most of its infotainment systems, but we know that the Discover Pro comes with everything you could ever want. There’s a small amplifier with a 4x20 Watt output, a DVD drive, two USB ports that are Apple compatible, two SD card slots, and Aux-in socket (for those of you who didn’t update to the new iPhone 7) and 10GB SSD storage built right into the system. System utilities include a movie player, jukebox, podcast player, voice control, and navigation. A rear-view reversing camera, while standard on the Mazda 3, is an optional feature for the Golf. Other options include DAB+, two extra USB sockets, and two mobile phone interfaces. There are two option storage compartments available that allow cell phone integration and inductive charging, and Media Control, a feature that allows you to control the Discover Media and Discover Pro systems from a tablet or a cell phone.

On a side note, the Golf now gets Volkswagen Car-Net, meaning this is the first time the Golf is being offered with the “Security and Service” package. This includes things like automatic accident notification, service scheduling, and breakdown calling. Online monitoring of the vehicle’s location, doors, and lighting are all up for grabs. A feature parents will like is that the system can be set to automatically notify you if the vehicle is driven above a certain speed or if it has crossed into pre-defined alert areas.

2016 - 2018 Mazda3 High Resolution Interior
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2015 Ford Focus Hatchback – Driven
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2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Interior
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The images above represent the offerings from the Golf, and two of its competitors: The Mazda 3 (top left) and the Ford Focus (top right.) Obviously, the Golf (bottom) is sporting the Discover Pro infotainment display with its new design and gesture control, but in comparison to the competition, it is wildly more advanced. The Mazda three does have the cool motorized screen that appears to float atop the dash when activated, but it’s small and looks like a tablet from six years ago when they were bulky but offered a small screen. The performance of the Mazda 3’s system isn’t bad in all reality, but I guarantee the Discover Pro system seen in the new Golf is probably smoother and more responsive. Plus, it has gesture control. Take that Mazda and Ford!

In all seriousness, though, the Golf definitely has the best infotainment options available. Just look at how bulky and “last generation” the display is in the Focus. It will be interesting to see how the three compete when we see the next-gen models on the showroom floor, but for now, the Golf is winning hands down. It should also be noted that the Golf can be had with that all-digital instrument cluster – a feature not available on the Mazda 3 or Focus – while the Mazda 3 offers an Active Driving heads-up display which isn’t available in the Golf.

Considering the fact that the VW Golf is now more modern than the competition we’ve discussed here, it’s almost a dead giveaway that it’s the model to go for. But, interior room is important too, so here’s a chart comparing the interior dimensions of each model discussed thus far.

Volkswagen Golf Mazda 3 Ford Focus
Headroom, front/rear (in) 38.4 / 38.1 38.6 / 37.6 38.3 / 38
Shoulder room, front/rear (in) 55.9 / 53.9 57.2 / 54.4 55.6 / 52.6
Hip room, front/rear (in) 55.5 / 53.5 53.9 / 52.8
Legroom, front/rear (in) 41.2 / 35.6 42.2 / 35.8 43.1 / 33.2


Volkswagen is really aiming to please with the facelifted Golf, so you’ll be happy to know that things are also changing under the hood as well. With the launch of the 2017 model, a new 1.5-liter TSI EVO gasoline engine will initially be available. It delivers 147 horsepower and 189 pound-feet of torque. It is, as you probably guessed, turbocharged and comes complete with Active Cylinder Management and common-rail direct fuel injection. Fuel economy is said to be 4.9-liters per 100 km or 48 mpg when converted. Following the rollout of the 1.5-liter TSI, a BlueMotion 1.5-liter Diesel will also be offered with an output of 128 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. VW says it will offer 4.6-liters per 100 km or just a hair over 51 mpg.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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With the launch of the 2017 model, a new 1.5-liter TSI EVO gasoline engine will initially be available.

Oddly enough, the new BlueMotion variant will also make use of a coasting function the shuts down the engine whenever the accelerator is released. This is traditionally found on hybrid vehicles and is included as a standard feature on all models equipped with this engine. According to Volkswagen, this function could increase fuel economy considerably to as much as 1.0-liters per 100 km or 235.21 mpg “depending on driving style.” Now that seems like one hell of a reach for an engine that is rated at about 51 mpg, as this number would top anything on the road today and then some, so take that with a grain of salt – it is clearly PR talk and getting even close to that kind of mileage is highly improbable unless you’re coasting downhill constantly.

Next in line is the Golf GTI. It doesn’t get a new engine of any sort, but VW has tuned it to provide an output increase of 9.8 horsepower which should put it on par with last year’s GTI Performance model. The GTI Performance model now outputs just over 241 horsepower. All models are being offered with a six-speed dual clutch transmission, but a new seven-speed DSG unit is said to gradually replace the six-cog unit over time. Overall performance like acceleration and top speed with the new DSG will likely remain unchanged, but VW has said that it will help cut CO2 output. Expect these new engines to push the Golf to 60 mph in around nine seconds or so.

On a side note, it appears as if the 1.8-liter gasoline engine will carry over from the 2016 model year with 170 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter diesel should also carry over, delivering some 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The 1.8-liter garners some 25 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

The Competition

As far as comparing the Golf to the competition, it can certainly hold its own. The Focus is available with a 2.0-liter three-cylinder a 2.0-liter four-banger, or a 2.3-liter EcoBoost that is borrowed from the EcoBoost Mustang exclusively for the RS model. The 1.0-liter is all about economy, giving just 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. This engine is only available in the SE hatch, but does offer stop/start technology and offers 30 mpg in the city, 42 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined when equipped with a six-speed manual or 28, 40, and 32, respectively when equipped with a six-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter offers up 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque and garners 26 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined with a five-speed manual. With the six-speed auto, those figures remain unchanged with the exception of highway mpg, which increases to 38 mpg. The 2.3-liter in the RS pushes out 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque but sucks as far as economy goes, achieving just 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined.

When it comes to the Mazda 3, it offers some stiffer competition in this department. It can be had with a 2.0-liter four-banger that pumps out 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet for torque. There’s also a 2.5-liter with four sleeves that delivers 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. Fuel economy isn’t the best, but the 2.0-liter does beat out the Focus with 29 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined. The 2.5-liter offers 25, 37, and 29, respectively. The Mazda 3 can be had with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with manual-shift. Both transmissions offer front-wheel drive only. Mazda has yet to publish performance figures, but it did test a 2017 model with the 2.5-liter and it managed to hit 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and topped out at 132 mph.

Volkswagen Golf TSI Volkswagen Golf TDI Mazda 3 2.0 Mazda 3 2.5 Ford Focus 2.0 Ford Focus 1.0
Engine 1.8L, inline four cylinder 2.0L, inline four cylinder SKYACTIV®-G1 2.0L DOHC 4-cylinder with VVT SKYACTIV®-G1 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder with VVT 2.0L Ti-VCT I-4 Flex Fuel 1.0L Ti-VCT EcoBoost
Horsepower 170 HP @ 4,500 RPM 150 HP @ 3,500 RPM 155 HP @ 6,000 RPM 184 HP @ 5,700 RPM 160 HP @ 6,500 RPM 123 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 200 LB-FT @ 1,600 RPM 236 LB-FT @ 1,750 150 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM 185 LB-FT @ 3,250 RPM 146 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM 125 LB-FT @ 3,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph 7.7 seconds 7.8 seconds 7.5 seconds 7.4 seconds 8.5 seconds 9.4 seconds
Top Speed 124 mph 125 mph 130 mph 132 mph 121 mph 129 mph
Fuel economy city / highway 26 / 37 31 / 42 27 / 37 25 / 33 26 / 36 30 / 42


2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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Full pricing details have yet to be released, but VW’s USA website does list the Golf S and Golf Wolfsburg editions for the 2017 model year. Of course, they still reflect last year’s styling, but that should be updated sometime in the near future. They are also only offered with the 1.8-liter at this time. The Golf S looks to start out at $19,895 while the Wolfsburg has a starting ticket price of $21,595. Other pricing details for the 2017 model should be released in the coming months so stay tuned for details on that front.

The Competition

The Mazda 3 is offered in no less than four different trims here in the U.S. The entry-level Sport model comes in at just $20,145. Move up to the Touring model, and you’ll be asked to pay at least $22,245. Those models come equipped with the 2.0-liter, so if you want the 2.5-liter, you’ll have to step up to the Touring 2.5 at $23,445 or the Grand Touring at $24,945. Moving over to the Focus, the entry-level Focus SE hatch starts out at $17,140. Moving up to the Titanium will set you back at least $21,850, the Focus St comes in at $23,050, and the range-topping RS commands a staggering $36,775.

Volkswagen Golf S $19,895
Volkswagen Golf Wolfsburg $21,595
Ford Focus SE $19,015
Ford Focus Titanium $23,725
Mazda 3 Sport $20,145
Mazda 3 Touring $22,245
Mazda 3 Touring 2.5 $23,445
Mazda 3 Grand Touring $24,945

What others are saying

The Car Connection

Aaron Cole, the Managing Editor over at The Car Connection spent some time with one of the early 2017 Golf models and said: “There’s a Golf for nearly every taste and need—Golf, Golf GTI, Golf SportWagen— and don’t forget about the EV eGolf, which is very balanced and fun to drive.” He rated the Golf (1.8T S manual transmission) at 6.7 out of 10 with styling getting 5 out of 10, comfort and quality 7.0 out of 10, features 5.0 out of 10, performance 7.0 out of 10, safety 9.0 out of 10, and fuel economy 7.0 out of 10. Of course, he didn’t have his hands on a facelifted model, so it’s quite possible that his ratings for fuel economy, styling, and performance may change with the introduction of the facelift. For what it’s worth, The Car Connection rated the Chevy Cruze hatchback at 6.6 out of 10, the Ford Focus at 6.3 out of 10, and the Mazda 3 at 8.4 out of 10 overall.


Mazda 3

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The Mazda 3 isn’t exactly a spring chicken anymore, being introduced back in 2003. Since then it has gone through two generational shifts with 2013 being the most recent. While the current model is rather stylish aggressive and has received great reviews from many reputable sources, it’s almost time for Mazda to usher in a fourth-gen model. But, that won’t happen until 2019, so if you were considering going with the Mazda 3 and waiting until the next-gen model comes out, you might want to second guess that. You’ll be waiting at least a couple more years. Currently priced well to compete, you can get your hands on one for as little as $20,145, while going for a model equipped with the 184-horsepower 2.5-liter you’ll have to pay at least $23, 445.

Read more about the Mazda 3 here.

Ford Focus Hatchback

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The Focus has been around since 1998, with the third-generation model being introduced back in 2011. For the 2015 model year, it went through a pretty significant facelift, bring the model up to par with the rest of the market. This generation is expected to carry on for at least another year, with a new-gen model likely for 2018. Available with a number of different engines, the Focus is also available as a Sedan. The hatchback is obviously the sportier of the bunch, with the Focus RS and its Mustang engine being the range-topping model everyone wants. Pricing ranges anywhere from $17,000 up to as much as $35,000 for the RS.

Find out more about the Ford Focus Hatchback here.


2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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It’s nice to see that Volkswagen has finally given the Golf a sportier exterior than before. Its new look and the addition of some new fuel efficient engines should give it some major selling points. Of course, a next-gen model is practically around the corner, so hopefully the sporty and aggressive nature of this facelifted model with serve as an excellent canvass for change in the next-gen model. Until this, this model should soldier on rather successfully and as a favorite for those who love hatchbacks. As a model that now has amazing features – think gesture control – and amazing tunability with aftermarket parts and accessories, expect this model to continue in VW’s lineup for a long time to come. Sure, the competition is strong in this segment, but the Gold is widely known for reliability, so you really can’t go wrong with it.

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    • That front fascia really reminds me of Mercedes design
    • Facelift to debut late for the 2017 model year
Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author

Press Release

Volkswagen is updating the most successful model in the Group’s history—the Golf. The main focus of the 2017 model year is—alongside new engines, sharper design and new driver assistance systems—a completely new generation of infotainment systems. The top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system can be operated by gesture control, a world first for the compact car segment. With its 9.2-inch screen it forms a conceptual and visual entity with the Active Info Display, which is also new to the Golf. In parallel to this, the range of online services and apps has also been enlarged. The update to the Golf, of which over 33 million have been sold to date, also reflects a new standard for assistance systems in the compact class: technologies such as City Emergency Braking with a new Pedestrian Monitoring function, the new Traffic Jam Assist (partially automated driving at speeds of up to 60 km/h) and Emergency Assist, which is also new in this segment, significantly improve safety.

These changes are accompanied by the enhanced EA211 TSI engine family. The new Golf initially sees the debut of the new 1.5-liter TSI Evo turbocharged gasoline engine, a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder with Active Cylinder Management (ACT). This will be followed by a BlueMotion version producing 96 kW/130 PS. Volkswagen has also boosted the performance of the Golf GTI, with 169 kW/230 PS for the base model and and 180 kW/245 PS for the GTI Performance model. A new seven-speed DSG (dual clutch gearbox) will gradually replace the six-speed DSG as a high-efficiency gearbox for the Golf.

The more refined design of all new versions of the Golf makes a more powerful impression than ever before. The modifications include new bumpers at the front and rear, new halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, new full LED headlights instead of Xenon headlights, new front fenders, new full LED taillights—which come as standard for every version of the Golf—as well as new wheels and colors. The interior is upgraded with refined new decorative trims and fabrics.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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New details freshen the Golf’s iconic design. The lower chrome strip on the radiator grille extends through the LED Daytime Running Lights to the left and right as a chrome element (painted red on the GTI and blue on the GTE). The LED headlights, which either come as standard or as an optional extra, depending on the equipment version, replace the Bi-Xenon headlights in the new Golf. The cooling vents in the lower part of the bumper, which have also been redesigned, accentuate the width even more. The interplay of the new details make the Golf even more striking.

Another optical highlight for models with Adaptive Cruise Control ACC and/or Front Assist is that the radar sensor for these systems on the TDI, TSI, LNG, GTD and GTI versions will no longer be located (visibly) in the lower cooling air intake in the bumper, but will instead now be hidden behind the VW logo in the upper radiator grille.

The back of the car has also been made more charismatic: from now on, all versions of the Golf and Golf Variant will come with full LED taillights. In contrast to many standard LED taillights, none of the functions will use conventional light bulbs. Also, the top-of-the-range version of the full LED taillights (available for the two- and four-door Golf) will have animated flowing indicators. This version can be recognised by a translucent white LED stripe that turns orange when indicating. Last, but not least, the top-of-the-range version is set apart by a visually striking switch-over between the LED taillight and the LED brake lights when the brakes are applied.

For the interior of the Golf, Volkswagen’s‎ “Colour & Trim” design division has come up with new decorative trim panels in the doors, the dash panel and the center console, as well as new seat covers.

The sporty GT versions are set apart by color applications to match the character of the specific Golf version, instead of the chrome strip in the radiator grille and headlights—red for the Golf GTI and blue for the GTE. The back of the Golf GTI is distinguished not only by the new bumpers and the full LED taillights, but also by the enlarged cross-section of the chrome-plated exhaust pipes.

The latest version of the Golf Variant is also making its debut. A new rear bumper makes the Golf Variant appear even more elongated and elegant and marries neatly with the full LED taillights. Just like the Passat Variant, the Golf Variant is also available with sophisticated trapezoidal chrome trim panels, which are directly integrated into the diffuser, as an option.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Interior
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The update to the Golf is most readily visible inside, because the new car offers a new and increasingly digital display and control concept. It is based on the new Active Info Display and the first infotainment system with gesture control to be offered in a production Volkswagen. Along with this, Volkswagen has updated its whole range of infotainment systems. Its most important characteristic is the sophisticated new design, larger touchscreens and, in the case of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system, gesture control, which is implemented here for the first time in the Golf’s compact car class.

The Golf’s Active Info Display is a fully digital instrument cluster with numerous interactive functions. All of the instruments are displayed virtually on the 12.3-inch color display. The navigation information can be displayed in 2D or 3D. Its resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels enables extremely precise and sophisticated interactive display of all the details. There are five different information profiles, in which the kind of information and graphics displayed in certain areas changes. The driver can select from one of the following profiles: “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation”.

The “Navigation” profile is a good example of the interactive features of the Active Info Display: here, the speedometer and tach are moved to the sides to make more room for the map in the middle. Information on driving, navigation and assistance functions can also be integrated into the graphic areas of the speedometer and tach, as required. Data such as telephone contact images or CD covers can also be displayed on the Active Info Display. Depending on the model, the graphics can be customized: in the Golf GTI, for example, the graphics use GTI red as a contrasting color, while the Golf GTE uses GTE blue to help the instruments blend in with the look of the plug-in hybrid. The Active Info Display is available as an optional extra for all versions of the Golf, as an alternative to analog instruments.

Volkswagen has replaced all of the existing infotainment systems in the Golf with a new generation of the MIB system. The most important feature is that all of the systems now offer a new design and larger touchscreens, although the names of the infotainment systems remain unchanged. The 5-inch “Composition Touch” and “Composition Colour” systems (with a display resolution of 400 x 240 pixels) have been replaced by the new 6.5-inch “Composition Colour” system, with a touchscreen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and the black-and-white “Composition Touch” has been discontinued.

The next level up, “Composition Media” and “Discover Media” (incl. navigation) have so far had 6.5-inch screens. They have also been replaced by systems with the same names, but with 8.0-inch screens, while the resolution of 800 x 480 pixels also remains unchanged. The 8.0-inch screen of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system (incl. navigation) will from now on be replaced by a 9.2-inch touchscreen, with the resolution increased from 800 x 480 to 1280 x 640 pixels. The new “Discover Pro” will be the first Volkswagen infotainment system to offer both touch- and voice-command operation with gesture control in addition to proximity sensors—a world premiere in the compact car segment. Volkswagen plans to introduce the new systems in several other product lines in the course of 2017.

Not only does the “Discover Pro” version of the MIB have a 9.2-inch display with a resolution that has increased from 117 to 155 dpi, it has also been completely redesigned. In contrast to the previous 8.0-inch system used in the Golf, the entire front is spanned by a stylish glass surface, a finish that also applies to the new “Discover Media” system. Conventional buttons and controls are a thing of the past with “Discover Pro”: all haptic operation is performed via the touchscreen and five capacitive panels on the left side of the new infotainment system. This vertical bar on the left comprises the functions: “Menu”, “Home”, “On/Off”, “Volume up” and “Volume down”—in other words the main commands, because the driver needs to have direct access to functions such as the volume control. The same applies to the capacitive panel “Home”, with which the driver can get back to the main menu—and thus the home screen—from any of the sub-menus in an instant.

In contrast to the previous version of the “Discover Pro”, the driver can now also configure the home screen. The navigation function is displayed in a large panel on the left of the screen, while there are two smaller panels arranged vertically on the right. The driver can assign important functions to these two display panels, which are also interactive—for instance, the radio or the media library in the top panel and his phone contacts in the bottom panel. Like on a smartphone, as soon as the driver touches the “Home” button—no matter which menu they may currently be in—the system will return to the personalised home screen, as outlined above.

Gesture control can be used in various different menus. All it takes is a swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items left or right, allowing the driver to scroll through the main menu, change radio stations, flip through the playlist or browse through the Picture Viewer and albums in the media library (CoverFlow). A ’light flare’ indicates which options can be operated by gesture control and operation is supported by visual interactive feedback. Successful swipes are also confirmed by a sound effect, which can optionally be deactivated.

The range of equipment offered with the “Discover Pro” system also includes an amplifier with a 4 x 20 watt output, a DVD drive, two USB ports (Apple compatible), two SD card slots, AUX-IN socket, a 10 GB SSD drive, the full range of music playback capabilities, a movie player, jukebox, podcast player, proximity sensor and voice control as well as navigation. Optional are a “Rear View” reversing camera, DAB+, and up to two extra USB sockets as well as two mobile phone interfaces.

In the updated Golf the driver or front seat passenger can simply put their smartphone in a redesigned optional storage compartment with an interface for mobile telephones (“Comfort” mobile phone pre-installation). The highlight here is that the phone can be charged and coupled to the vehicle’s external antenna inductively (in accordance with the Qi standard). Other optional extras include the Car-Net options “App Connect”, “Security & Service” (new in the Golf) and “Guide & Inform”, while “Media Control” is available as an optional extra for the infotainment functions.

With the “Media Control” app, Volkswagen offers an infotainment interface for tablets (and smartphones). The app can be used to control many of the functions of the infotainment system conveniently from a tablet or phone. Passengers simply connect their tablet to the “Discover Media” or “Discover Pro” infotainment system using the WiFi hotspot. The systems that can be controlled include the radio, all audio and video sources (e.g. USB, CD, DVD, hard drive) as well as the navigation system. The information shown on the menu includes artist, album name and cover.

Standard features in the navigation menu are supplemented by an address-search function that uses the Internet and which can also be used to enter selected search results as destinations. Over and above this, rear seat passengers can also send calendar events and address book entries on the tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system as destinations for the navigation system now, turning “Media Control“ into a mobile extension of the infotainment system and an affordable modern-day rear seat entertainment system.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
- image 694764

Volkswagen Car-Net

This is the first time that Volkswagen has offered the “Security & Service” package in the Golf. This gives the driver mobile access to assistance in a wide range of situations. The highlights include services such as “Automatic Accident Notification”, “Breakdown Call” and “Service Scheduling” (for making maintenance appointments with your dealership). Breakdown Call allows the driver to use the infotainment system to contact the Volkswagen Emergency Call Centre, which can then arrange for prompt assistance or medical attention, while the system already sends the vehicle data and its location to the emergency services when the driver calls for roadside assistance. Over and above this, “Security & Service” offers functions like online monitoring of “Doors & Lights” as well as information on “Parking Position” (by smartphone or web portal). Anyone who has a learner driver in the family will appreciate “Area Alert” (which automatically notifies you if the Golf is driven in or leaves certain areas) and “Speed Alert” (which is activated as soon as a certain speed is exceeded). Another useful feature is the “Online Anti-Theft Alarm”, which will send you a notification via the Volkswagen Car-Net app on your smartphone or by email if an attempt is made to break into the car.

“Guide & Inform” allows the use of a wide range of online services. It includes an app for the “Discover Media” system and an extended range of apps for the “Discover Pro” system. The services available for “Discover Media” include apps such as “Online POI Search”, “Destination Import”, “Fuel Info” (location and price), “News”, “Parking Info” (location and availability), “Weather”, “Charging Stations” (e.g. Golf GTE) and “Online Traffic Information”. The “Online Traffic Information” service (current traffic situation information) makes it easier to predict how long each journey in the Golf will take, as it feeds data such as traffic density and traffic jams, clearance of traffic jams and other congestion into the navigation system’s dynamic route guidance virtually in real time, so that it can be taken into account. The messages themselves can be viewed in detail via the “Traffic” menu item, while graphics and colored marks on the map displayed on the screen permanently provide up-to-date information on the traffic situation The “Online Traffic Information” service can thus help you to avoid jams in real time. The larger range of apps for “Discover Media” system also includes Google Street View™, Google Earth™, “POI Voice Search” and “Online Map Update”.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
- image 694794

Driver assistance systems

If there has ever been a model series that has democratized automotive advances, it is the first seven generations of the Golf. Systems such as ABS, ESC and later the whole broad spectrum of assistance systems came to be taken for granted by millions of people the world over thanks to the affordable Golf. It was, for example, one of the first cars in the compact class with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, Lane Assist, Blind Spot Sensor, Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist, Driver Alert System, reversing camera (Rear View), traffic sign recognition, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and trailer stabilisation. The updated Golf continues this tradition. With the 2017 model year Volkswagen is expanding the range of assistance systems, adding Traffic Jam Assist, the new Pedestrian Monitoring for Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Trailer Assist, which is the first time ever that a trailer manoeuvring system has been available in the compact class, and Emergency Assist. The proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash) has also been refined.

Volkswagen has developed Traffic Jam Assist on the basis of Lane Assist (lane departure warning system) and ACC (automatic distance control) for all Golf models with a DSG gearbox. The system makes traffic jams or stop-and-go driving in the Golf much more comfortable. It also makes driving in jams safer, as the assistant helps the driver to avoid the rear-end collisions so typical of traffic jams. By combining various assistance systems the Golf is, for the first time, capable of partially automated driving.

Lane Assist provides the basis for this system with adaptive lane guidance even at speeds of below 60 km/h. Not only does the system countersteer to make corrections if the car is about to leave the lane, but, with adaptive lane guidance enabled, it also keeps the Golf in the middle of the driving lane or in the driver’s preferred position. ACC is also integrated in Traffic Jam Assist as a second assistance system, because, with ACC, braking and accelerating is automatic even at stop-and-go speeds. ACC and Lane Assist thus merge into Traffic Jam Assist, which means that the system enables assisted lateral and longitudinal guidance. The car steers, accelerates and brakes automatically, within the system’s boundaries, but only under the condition that the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel and participating in steering, so that the driver can intervene at any time.

Another system in which Lane Assist and ACC merge to create a new assistance system is Emergency Assist: as soon as the sensors detect that the driver is not making any steering, braking or acceleration movements any more, the system initiates various escalating actions to alert the driver, and if the driver remains inactive, it initiates an emergency stop. The hazard warning lights are activated automatically and the Golf executes a gentle steering manoeuvre to make surrounding traffic aware of the hazardous situation. ACC prevents the vehicle from colliding with the traffic ahead. Finally, the system brakes the Golf gradually to a standstill to avoid a serious accident, if possible.

Front Assist is a system which warns the driver and brakes automatically in the event of an imminent collision. One component of the Front Assist system is the City Emergency Braking function. The latest version of the Front Assist function is not only capable of detecting other vehicles, but also pedestrians who are crossing the street. As soon as a pedestrian is at risk, the system warns the driver and eventually slows the Golf down autonomously.

Another debut for the compact class is Trailer Assist. This is designed to free the driver of the complicated rethinking needed when reversing with a car and trailer, whereby you have to turn the steering wheel to the left so that the trailer turns to the right – and vice versa. Generally, the goal was also to make reversing over straight and longer distances easier and more exact. Trailer Assist is now capable of doing this almost automatically. To reverse a Golf with a trailer into a parking bay or an entrance from the street, all the driver needs to do is stop at a suitable spot and engage reverse gear. The system is activated by pushing a button. Then the current driving angle and possible driving angles are displayed on the instrument cluster. This is achieved with image-processing algorithms that use data from the rear-view camera, which monitors and analyses the angle between the car and the trailer. With the help of the mirror adjustment switch, which serves as a sort of joystick, the driver can freely adjust the desired driving direction of the car-trailer combination. The Golf executes the steering commands entered by the driver, who only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brake. The driving direction of the Golf is automatically controlled by the electromechanical power steering system.

Park Assist makes it possible to park in any parking space that is parallel or perpendicular to the carriageway semi-automatically, and the system can also exit from parallel parking spaces. In the case of perpendicular parking spaces, not only is parking in reverse supported for the first time in a Golf, but it is also possible to park in a forward direction semi-automatically. The first generation of Park Assist assisted the driver by performing automated steering for parallel parking. The second generation of Park Assist added automatic steering for reverse parking into spaces perpendicular to the carriageway, and parallel parking spaces could also be smaller. In addition, automatic exiting from parallel parking spaces was also possible. The third generation of Park Assist, which is now available for the Golf, also makes it possible, as outlined above, to park forwards semi-automatically in parking bays. Due to its high functional versatility, Park Assist 3.0 can optimally assist the driver, especially in difficult traffic situations, because it speeds up the parking process.

The Golf is one of the first cars in its class to feature a proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash). The Golf update includes further refinement of the proactive passenger protection system. It also interacts intelligently with the Front Assist system to react to strong autonomous braking interventions and acute collision hazards in order to provide the best possible support to passengers in critical situations. If the system detects a potential accident situation—for example, through the initiation of hard braking because a brake assistant is activated—the front seatbelts are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the air bag and seatbelt system. When a critical and unstable driving situation is detected—such as severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention—the side windows and sunroof are also closed, except for a small gap. The reason for this is that when the windows and roof are nearly closed, the head and side airbags offer optimal energy absorption and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness.

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
- image 694799


The number of convenience and assistance systems increases with each new generation of vehicles. As outlined above, this is also true of the new Golf. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, often by different drivers of the car. This means that drivers constantly have to restore their personal settings. Volkswagen has designed a new generation of personalization that simplifies this process significantly. This involves combining the individual settings for a driver into a user account, which is saved by the vehicle. Drivers can open the user management menu to activate their individual user account, and thus implement their individual settings. Drivers simply identify themselves using their car key, which takes place when the Golf is unlocked. This activates initial settings such as adjusting the seat position on the driver’s side, which can now be saved using the memory function. An overview of personalization options in the Golf, depending on the specific equipment version:

Ambient lighting
ACC Adaptive Cruise Control
Front Assist
Infotainment system (including media library, navigation & telephone)
Automatic air conditioning settings
Instrument cluster/multifunction display
Lane Assist
Light and Sight (“leaving home” and “coming home” functions, rain sensor and automatic dimming rear-view mirror)
Park Assist
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert

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