The seventh-gen compact gets mid-cycle facelift, loads of new tech, and new turbo engine

The seventh-generation Golf was unveiled in 2012 and went on sale in Europe for the 2013 model year and crossed the pond to the United States for the 2015 model year. Built on the same MQB platform as the Audi A3, Seat Leon, and Skoda Octavia, the Golf Mk7 sports a more angular design and a longer wheelbase, while also being longer and wider than its predecessor. The roomier cabin gained new features and technology, including adaptive cruise control, a collision avoidance system, and driver fatigue detection. The compact arrived with a couple of brand-new engines, while the units that carried over were upgraded. Like its predecessor, the Golf Mk7 was made available in a variety of body styles and versions, including three- and five-door hatchback, wagon (Variant), GTi, GTE, and R. Now, the high-selling compact received its mid-cycle facelift in 2016.

Unveiled for the 2017 model year in Europe and the 2018 model year in North America the facelift brought new engines, a sharper design, new driver assistance systems, and a completely new generation of infotainment systems to all iterations of the seventh-generation Golf. The wagon version, also known as the Variant in Europe, will also benefit from these changes including the new exterior features front and rear and the brand-new, 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine.

There’s no official word as to when the revised Golf wagon will cross the pond to the U.S., but it’s safe to assume that it will arrive in dealerships alongside the hatchback sometime in 2017. Drivetrain details are also incomplete as of this writing, but Volkswagen should release more data closer to the car’s showroom introduction. Meanwhile, let’s have a closer look at what we already know about the Golf Variant, or SportWagen as it will be known here in the U.S.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf Variant.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant High Resolution Exterior
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Not surprisingly, the revised Golf isn’t very different compared to the outgoing model, with most exterior changes being minor nips and tucks. Up front, revisions include a radiator grille chrome strip that extends through the LED daytime running lights, new LED headlamps are that optional on lower priced trims and standard on the more expensive models, and a redesigned bumper. The latter now features a wider grille, reshaped foglamps, and a black strip just below the license plate.

Up front, revisions include a radiator grille chrome strip that extends through the LED DRLs.

Volkswagen also removed the radar sensor for Adaptive Cruise Control and Front Assist system from the lower cooling air intake, which is now hidden behind the emblem in the radiator grille.

Around back, the Variant gained new LED taillights, as did all versions of the Golf. Range-topping models also come with animated flowing indicators and a striking switch-over between the LED taillight and the LED brake lights when the brakes are applied. While the hatchback continues with the old bumper, the wagon sports a new element. Optionally, customers can order trapezoidal chrome trim panels for the diffuser-like section. This feature is borrowed from the larger Passat Variant model.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Volkswagen Golf VII Variant
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Competing designs

The Golf Variant has two main competitors in Europe, the Ford Focus Estate and the Seat Leon ST. Another successful vehicle in many markets, the Focus Estate (left) was revised in 2014, when it received the brand’s then-new corporate face with the

inspired grille, slimmer, angular headlamps, and new front bumper. While the front fascia is a tad more aggressive than the Golf, the rear end looks more utilitarian, which makes the Focus Estate a cool styling combination. Moving over to the Seat Leon ST (right), which shares underpinnings and many features with the Golf, the Spanish wagon is all fresh for 2017, having received a comprehensive facelift. The redesigned bodywork makes the Leon quite pleasant to look at, and unless you’re not a stickler for the Volkswagen badge, it’s a good option as far as design goes.

2015 Ford Focus
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2013 Seat Leon ST
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2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant High Resolution Interior
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Inside the cabin, the Golf carries over with almost no changes in terms of styling. Volkswagen speaks of new decorative trim panels in the doors, dashboard, and center console, as well as new seat covers, but gives no additional information. Most likely, these won’t much of a difference to buyers, but the driver seat with memory function and the customizable ambient lighting and automatic air conditioning settings might win a few new customers.

This update makes the Golf the first production Volkswagen with gesture control.

But even though the layout remains unchanged, that’s not to say that the interior lacks serious upgrades. These were made in the technology department and we have quite a lot of new features to talk about.

First, the Golf now has new touchscreens based on the Active Info Display system. More importantly, this update makes the Golf the first production Volkswagen with gesture control. There is a downside to this though, as the feature only comes with the range-topping "Discover Pro" system. The instrument cluster is also new. The fully digital unit is displayed on 12.3-inch screen that includes navigation in 2D or 3D. The instrument cluster has five different information profiles, in which the information and graphics displayed in certain areas changes. Drivers can choose between “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation.” The names speak for themselves, making each profile intuitive and easy to use.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant
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2014 Volkswagen Golf VII Variant
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The "Discover Pro" has a 9.2-inch display and is the first Volkswagen infotainment system to offer both touch- and voice-command operation.

Moving over to the infotainment system, it’s a new-generation MIB with new design and larger screens. The standard "Composition Color" layout has a 6.5-inch screen, while "Composition Media" and "Discover Media" come with 8.0-inch displays, all larger than the units they replaced. Finally, the "Discover Pro" has a 9.2-inch display and is the first Volkswagen infotainment system to offer both touch- and voice-command operation with gesture control in addition to proximity sensors. The “Discover Pro” package also includes an amplifier with a 420 watt output, a DVD drive, two Apple-compatible USB ports, two SD card slots, a 10 GB SSD drive, and man more. Options include a rear-view camera, DAB+, up to two extra USB sockets, and two mobile phone interfaces.

Speaking of interfaces, the Golf also comes with a Media Control app, which provides an infotainment interface for tablets and smartphones. The app can be used to control many of the functions of the infotainment system from a tablet or phone. To do this, passengers need to connect their tablet or phone to the “Discover Media” or “Discover Pro” infotainment system using the WiFi hotspot.

Another brand-new feature for the Golf is the Security & Service package. This gives the driver immediate access to assistance in a wide range of situations. Services include Automatic Accident Notification, Breakdown Call, and Service Scheduling. Breakdown Call allows the driver to use the infotainment system to contact the Volkswagen Emergency Call Center for 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. The Security & Service function also include online monitoring of “Doors & Lights”, information on parking position, Area Alert, which notifies the driver if the Golf is driven in or leaves certain areas, and Speed Alert, which is activated as soon as a certain speed is exceeded. The Online Anti-Theft Alarm 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. Pretty cool!

As far as the most important feat of a wagon’s interior goes, Volkswagen had nothing to say about luggage room. This most likely means it remained unchanged at 605 liters (21.3 cubic feet) with the rear seats up and 1,620 liters (57.2 cubic feet) with the rear seats folded flat. These figures are among the best in class.

What do I get from the competition?

Styling-wise, both the Ford Focus Estate and the Seat Leon ST have everything they need to give the Golf Variant a run for its money, but the same can’t be said as far as technology goes. The Leon did receive the latest-generation Easy Connect infotainment, Seat Full Link, and Seat ConnectApp with voice recognition and gesture control, but the central display measure only eight inches, being smaller than the 9.2-inch unit you can get in the more expensive Golf models. Needless to say, Volkswagen made sure that the Golf has a few extras in order to maintain its more upscale status. Moving over to the Focus Estate,the 2014 facelift added an eight-inch touchscreen, improved materials, and a cleaner center console thanks to the new infotainment system. Granted, Sync 3 didn’t come with now mainstream features like Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, but Ford fixed that for 2017. On the other hand, gesture control won’t be added until the next-generation model arrives in 2018.

2013 Seat Leon ST
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2015 Ford Focus
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In terms of luggage space, both the Leon ST (left) and Focus Estate (right) fall behind the Golf. With the rear seats up, the Leon offers 587 liters (20.7 cubic feet), while the Focus has 476 liters (16.8 cubic feet) of usable room. When the rear seats are folded flat, the Leon offers as much space as the Golf at 1,620 liters (57.2 cubic feet), while the Focus falls short by more than 100 liters (3.5 cubic feet) with a total capacity of 1,516 liters (53.5).

Volkswagen Golf Variant Seat Leon ST Ford Focus Estate
Seats up 605 liters (21.3 cubic feet) 587 liters (20.7 cubic feet) 476 liters (16.8 cubic feet)
Seats down 1,620 liters (57.2 cubic feet) 1,620 liters (57.2 cubic feet) 1,516 liters (53.5 cubic feet)


There’s plenty of news in the engine department too. The biggest of them all is that the facelifted Golf gets a brand-new engine. The new unit is a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder that cranks out 148 turbocharged horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The small powerplant uses a new combustion cycle derived from the Miller cycle and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. The new unit replaces the 1.4-liter TSI and Volkswagen claims it needs only 4.9 liters for each 100 km. This converts to around 48 U.S. mpg, but an official rating from the EPA is not available.

2015 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Drivetrain
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Note: Standard Golf drivetrain shown here.

A new 1.5-liter, four-cylinder cranks out 148 turbocharged horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

A more fuel efficient, BlueMotion version of the 1.5-liter will also be released at a later date. This variant will generate 128 horses and 148 pound-feet and offer an extended coasting function that shuts down the engine when the driver releases the accelerator. The deactivation feature is actually a bit revolutionary for gasoline unit, as it has only been seen in conjunction with hybrid vehicles up to now. Fuel consumption is estimated at 4.6 liters per 100 km (around 51 mpg). Volkswagen claims the extended coasting reduces consumption in "real-life operation" by up to 0.4 l/100 km (almost five mpg). Based on what happened last year with the "Dieselgate" scandal, I’m tempted to be a bit skeptic about these figures, but let’s hope that Volkswagen learned its lesson.

Unfortunately, Volkswagen has yet to release information about the Golf’s other drivetrains, but it’s safe to assume that the previous engines will carry over with mild improvements. The gasoline lineup should include a 1.2-liter BlueMotion with just under 90 horsepower, a 1.0-liter BlueMotion with at least 113 horses, and familiar 1.8-liter four-pot with more than 170 horsepower. On the diesel front, the 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter TDI units should provide between 89 horsepower and 170 pound-feet to 148 horses and 236 pound-feet, not including the performance-oriented Golf GTD.

We will be back to update this section when Volkswagen spills the beans.

Finally, the German company has also developed a new seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The new unit will help reduce CO2 emissions and will gradually replace all of the six-speed DSGs used in the Golf until now.

Competing performance

Note to Robert: I wouldn’t make any tables here for the time being since there are no official output specs outside the new 1.5-liter engine

While performance figures aren’t yet available and we can’t roll out a comprehensive comparison, I expect the Golf to be on par with the Seat Leon, which uses the same engines except for the new 1.5-liter unit. Granted, output numbers aren’t identical on all engines, but the differences aren’t that big. For instance, while 1.0-liter crank out 113 horses in both cars, the 1.8-liter gets a few extra ponies in the Leon. The same goes for the 1.2-liter TSI. Diesels are actually identical, but we will have to wait for Volkswagen to roll out the new specs to be sure. All told, although the Golf is usually advertised as the more dynamic model, I doubt it will be more than a tenth-second quicker in any configuration. Moving over to the Focus, the engine lineup is just as varied, with the main difference being that you can get an Estate with more than 123 horsepower. The gasoline range includes a 1.6-liter with 84 and 104 horsepower, a 1.0-liter turbo with 99 and 123 horses, while the diesel lineup includes a 1.5-liter TDCi with 94 and 118 horsepower.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant High Resolution Exterior
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The facelift adds numerous driving assists and safety features, including Traffic Jam Assist, new Pedestrian Monitoring for Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, and Trailer Assist. The latter is a first in the compact class and is designed to free the driver of the complicated rethinking needed when reversing a car and trailer. The new safety package also includes Emergency Assist and a refined passenger protection system. Just like the outgoing model, the facelifted Mk7 comes with front airbags, driver’s knee airbag, side head and chest airbags, airbag cut-off switch, seat belt reminder, and ESC as standard.

What Others are Saying

Car and Driver

Car and Driver’s Drew Dorian describes the Golf SportWagen as an Audi in Volkswagen clothing: "The Golf SportWagen continues to be one of the most well-rounded vehicles available, even in its most basic S trim. Niceties such as a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a tilting-and-telescoping steering column, a backup camera, aluminum wheels, and heated side mirrors are all standard. And that’s a good thing, because buyers who want all-wheel drive in the standard SportWagen are stuck with the base S model."


Edmunds believes that the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen "provides familiar Golf goodness along with a cavernous cargo area. It’s a compelling alternative to similarly priced crossovers." The outlet also noted at the end of its drive test that "the rigidity of the Golf SportWagen’s structure shines through, as the ride is controlled yet supple, with little harshness to speak of."

Kelley Blue Book

KBB also praised the Golf for its SUV-like cargo capacity and good fuel economy: "If you need the cargo-carrying capacity of a compact SUV, but not the added bulk or average fuel economy, the 2016 VW Golf SportWagen is the perfect solution." On the other hand, the publication believes that "without AWD, the Golf SportWagen can’t compete with the Subaru Outback or Impreza 5-door."


2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant High Resolution Interior
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Pricing information for the new Golf Variant is not yet available, but it shouldn’t be significantly more expensive compared to the outgoing model. In the U.K., the current wagon retails from £18,980, while the U.S.-spec model starts from $21,580.

Competing prices

Withe neither the Seat Leon ST and Ford Focus Estate available in the U.S., we need to look at other markets in order to compare prices. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Focus Estate starts from £16,295, which makes it more than £2,000 more affordable than the Golf. This difference is likely to increase a bit with the arrival of the new Variant. Moving over to the Seat Leon ST, it starts from £19,225, a modest £245 premium over the Golf. Granted, that’s not much, but it’s a bit surprising to see that the Seat is more expensive than the Golf. This will likely change with the facelifted model, which will probably fetch around £20,000 before options.

Ford Estate £16,295
Seat Leon ST £19,225
Volkswagen Golf Variant £20,000

Note: Prices for the facelifted Golf is speculative


Ford Focus Estate

2015 Ford Focus High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Introduced in 2010, the Focus is the oldest vehicle in this comparison. It’s also a popular choice in Europe and a solid competitor for the Golf Variant. Granted, it’s interior is not as fancy and lacks the Golf’s new technology, while the trunk is significantly smaller, but the Focus Estate can be had for less. It’s engine lineup is as diverse as they get and despite lacking gesture control and a digital instrument cluster, it has everything it needs to be a solid and reliable compact station wagon. Let’s not forget that the Focus has been the world’s best-selling nameplate for many years.

Find out more about the Ford Focus Estate here.

Seat Leon ST

2013 Seat Leon ST High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Essentially a Golf Variant underneath, the Leon ST has the advantage of a sportier design enhanced by the latest facelift introduced for the 2017 model. The Leon will match the Golf’s interior in almost every aspect, and despite being labeled as a more cost-oriented version of the Volkswagen, its interior is more upscale than ever. Engine choices are almost identical, while trunk space isn’t far off the Golf’s with the rear seats up. The "Seat" logo on the nose makes it a less popular model in this niche, but you shouldn’t let the marketing strategy of the Volkswagen Group fool you. The Leon ST is as potent and spacious as the Golf Variant.

Learn more about the Seat Leon ST here.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Variant High Resolution Exterior
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The Golf Variant is a very popular car in several European markets and that’s far from surprising. Cheap to run and practical, it comes with one of the most spacious trunks in the compact class, a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines, as well as hybrid and performance-oriented versions. Its interior is of higher quality than most rivals and the new technology makes it the most advanced compact wagon you can buy. On the flip side, it’s expensive relative to most competitors and the base model seems to have way too many features for the average driver in need of a simple and reliable grocery getter.

  • Leave it
    • One of the most expensive in its class
    • Trims are too focused on technology
    • Crowded, competitive segment
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  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 Variant 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 Variant 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 Variant High Resolution Exterior
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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 Variant High Resolution Interior
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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 Variant High Resolution Exterior
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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
Driver’s seat (seat with memory function)


Volkswagen has enhanced the EA211 TSI engine family and the new turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engines debut in the Golf. The roll-out begins with the 1.5 TSI Evo – a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with Active Cylinder Management (ACT) and efficient common-rail direct-injection technology. The new TSI is particularly refined; it develops its maximum torque of 250 Nm at just 1,500 rpm. NEDC fuel consumption: 4.9 l/100 km* (equating to 110 g/km CO2*). A BlueMotion version of the 1.5 TSI Evo* with 96 kW/130 PS is also in preparation. The NEDC fuel consumption of this version will be 4.6 l/100 km* (104 g/km CO2*). Among the special characteristics of these high-tech engines are a new combustion cycle (derived from the Miller cycle) and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry (VTG). The engine develops its maximum torque of 200 Nm at just 1,400 rpm.

The 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS also offers an extended coasting function when the engine is deactivated—completely shutting down the engine when the driver releases the accelerator. Such engine deactivation has only been seen in conjunction with hybrid vehicles up to now, as systems like the electromechanical power steering and the brake servo still need to be supplied with energy even when the Evo motor is switched off. The extended coasting function, which comes as standard, reduces fuel consumption in real-life operation by up to 0.4 l/100 km. Thanks to the coasting function and the other technical innovations, this 1.5 TSI Evo will offer a fuel consumption advantage of up to 1.0 l/100 km, depending on driving style.

Volkswagen has also improved performance of the Golf GTI models with this update. With 169 kW/230 PS (an increase of 7 kW/10 PS), the standard version is now as powerful as the previous Performance version, while the power output of the new Golf GTI Performance has risen to 180 kW/245 PS.

Volkswagen has also developed a new seven-speed DSG dual clutch automatic transmission. The new DSG will gradually replace all of the six-speed DSGs used in the Golf to date, helping to cut CO2.

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