VW Reveals 8th-Generation Golf Redesign

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - October 25, 2019

The Volkswagen Golf is a significant car for the German brand. There’s been a Golf on sale since 1974 for crying out loud, so a new one has to live up to a rich history. After months of teasers, rumors, and spy shots, the all-new eight-gen Golf is finally here. And it’s a much more modern compact car than we were expecting to see.

Overall, the silhouette of the new Golf remains the same, the vehicle still rides on VW’s MQB platform, after all, and has a recognizable hatchback body, so it’s hard to tell what’s changed from looking at the vehicle from the side. But look at the Mk8 Golf from the front and it’s much sharper than before. The standard LED headlights are thinner and now have a J-shaped daytime running light design. Other changes include a slightly slimmer grille and an updated front air intake. To our eyes, the hood also has a few more ruts in it, but that’s a minimal change.

At the back, the changes aren’t as drastic. The taillights are slightly more angular, but share the same overall styling as the Mk7 Golf’s. The rear fascia isn’t as round, either, having more jagged lines for a bolder look. In keeping with a recent trend, the Mk8 Golf has two fake exhaust outlets that are outlined in chrome. The chrome trim piece is nice, but the filled-in exhaust outlets are a bit of a letdown.

Besides the front end, the Mk8 is more of an evolution of the Mk7, which was a natural progression to the Mk6. It’s unlikely that the all-new Golf will ruffle any feathers and will probably continue to appeal to a wide variety of consumers – exactly what VW wants from its star pupil.

2021 Volkswagen Golf

The interior, though, is where things get radical. The dashboard now has a streamlined appearance with a straight line running the entire width of the vehicle. The center screen has been moved upward and is located immediately to the right of a digital gauge cluster. Volkswagen claims that a lot of the vehicle’s controls are accessed through the digital displays that feature both touch buttons and touch sliders. A new shift-by-wire DSG transmission results in a tiny shift knob on models with automatic transmissions, allowing for more cubby areas.

VW didn’t specify the size of the screens in the Golf, but we’re going out on a limb to guess it’s the same 10.25-inch digital cluster that’s offered in the current Golf R and what appears to be a roughly 8-inch central screen. For a base Golf, having VW’s Digital Cockpit system is a welcomed addition, as it wasn’t offered as an option. A new head-up display is also available, which is something else that wasn’t available on the entry-level Mk7 Golf.

Beyond all of the new screens, the Mk8 Golf will come with car-to-X communication, which the brand calls “Car2X.” It’s a system that allows the compact car to communicate with all sorts of things, like traffic infrastructure and other cars to share information. Volkswagen is touting this piece of tech as a safety feature, so we think things like a stopped vehicle or a dangerous stretch of road are types of information that vehicles will share with one another.

2021 Volkswagen Golf

A new Travel Assist feature allows the new Golf to drive on its own on the highway at speeds of up to 130 mph. While the figure is clearly geared toward drivers that travel on the Autobahn, it allows the vehicle to steer, accelerate, and brake on its own without any input from the driver. There are a bunch of new safety features, too, that make the Golf safer than ever. A nifty new program called We Upgrade allows consumers to add features to the Golf after the initial purchase. Things like navigation, Wi-Fi hot spot, and adaptive cruise control can all be added through a software update.

Volkswagen is offering a total of eight powertrain options for the new Golf. Five of them are hybrids. Despite the Dieselgate scandal, VW’s still offering a few diesel engines for the European market. The most powerful versions of the base Golf will have a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that pushes out 148 hp.

Numerous reports claim that the Mk8 Golf won’t be available in the United States, but the newer versions of the GTI and R will. Sales of the base Golf are expected to start by the end of this year in Europe. The GTI and R are coming a year later. With the regular Golf making such a large leap in tech, we’re interested to see what kind of new goodies VW has in store for the performance variants of the hatchback.

Learn more about the new Golf »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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