The New Volkswagen Golf receives excellent reviews from Auto Express and Auto Car

The facelifted 2017 Volkswagen Golf features subtle styling changes, upgraded interior appointments and a newly developed 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

‘Still setting the standard others have to beat’ Auto Express

‘Now the world’s best all-round hot hatch’ Autocar (on the GTI)

The subtle mid-life changes brought to the Golf are designed to improve the overall competitiveness of the seventh-generation model against a raft of rivals until the arrival of more heavily altered eighth-generation Golf in 2019.

Pricing has just been announced: most models cost on average £650 less than their predecessors, although the entry-level 1.0 TSI 85 three-door retains its price of £17,625. Higher up the range, the Golf GTI starts at £27,865 in three-door manual form, and the Golf R tops the price chart at £33,935 with five doors and a DSG gearbox. Prices for models with the new 1.5-litre petrol engine have not yet been released.

In estate form, prices for the 2017 Golf start at £20,370 for the 1.4 TSI and rise to £34,985 for the Golf R.

Design

Up front, there's a lightly reprofiled bumper with altered grille and air duct styling, lightly restyled wings and revised headlights with altered graphics, LED daytime running lights and a new full LED main beam function in place of the earlier Xenon operated units. The rear receives full LED tail-lights and a newly designed bumper featuring integral tailpipes on the popular R-line styling package.

Further changes to the appearance of Europe’s best-selling car include a new range of wheel designs and exterior colours.

Technology

The main focus of the changes made to the seventh-generation Golf is reserved for the interior. New to the facelifted model are revised trims for the doors, dashboard and centre console. In line with other recent new Volkswagen models, it also receives a new optional Active Info Display with 12.3in high-definition monitor, which can be ordered in place of the standard analogue instrument pack.

The Active Info Display supports five different information profiles, called classic, consumption and range, efficiency, performance and driver assistance and navigation. Depending on the model, the digital instrument graphics are customised, with the GTI receiving a predominantly red theme and the GTE using mainly blue hue.

More significant are the updates brought to the various infotainment systems offered on the new Golf. The facelifted model receives five optional touch-based systems, all of which now support larger screens and an altered operating system that, on the range-topping Discover Pro unit, supports gesture control.

The earlier 5.0in monitors of the Composition Touch and Composition Colour systems are replaced by 6.5in units, while the 6.5in screens of the Composition Media and Discover Media have made way for larger 8.0in monitors. The top-line Discover Pro’s previous 8.0in display is superseded by a 9.2in screen featuring touch, voice command and gesture control operation.

Together with the new optional infotainment systems, the facelifted Golf also receives the latest generation of Volkswagen’s on-line services, including an updated App Connect feature that allows it to integrate with the latest versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and MirrorLink.

Volkswagen’s best-selling model also adopts a number of new or updated driver assistant systems. Included is Traffic Jam Assist, which automatically applies the brakes to ease driving in stop/go traffic at speeds of up to 37mph, Emergency Assist, which sounds a warning and subsequently initiates an emergency stop when it detects the driver is incapacitated, Lane Assist plus ACC for active lane keeping with countersteer ability, an updated City Emergency Braking system that brings pedestrian detection to the existing Front Assist function that employees autonomous braking for collision avoidance, and Park Assist 3.0 that provides semi-autonomous parking in both parallel and perpendicular spaces.

The new Golf and its new 1.5 engine are a very strong match, delivering a strong blend of refinement and performance - and the increased connectivity adds some zing to a nicely finished cabin. The overall package is still trumped by a Skoda Octavia on space and, potentially, a SEAT Leon on price. But if the deals on the more modest Golfs cut down their monthly costs, then we can easily see some of them earning a full complement of stars.

The VW Golf has been the default family car choice for generations – thanks to its hard-to-beat combination of practicality, comfort, performance and efficiency. The seventh generation of Europe’s best-selling car has been around since 2014, though, so VW has now given it a thorough mid-life overhaul.

Ostensibly called the ‘Mk7.5’, the new car gets tweaks to its styling, with a revised front bumper and the option of LED headlights, plus LED tail-lights on all editions. It is still clearly a Golf - but then, this has always been a car whose styling has evolved in small steps instead of huge leaps.

The new Golf and its new 1.5 engine are a very strong match, delivering a strong blend of refinement and performance - and the increased connectivity adds some zing to a nicely finished cabin. The overall package is still trumped by a Skoda Octavia on space and, potentially, a SEAT Leon on price. But if the deals on the more modest Golfs cut down their monthly costs, then we can easily see some of them earning a full complement of stars.

The VW Golf has been the default family car choice for generations – thanks to its hard-to-beat combination of practicality, comfort, performance and efficiency. The seventh generation of Europe’s best-selling car has been around since 2014, though, so VW has now given it a thorough mid-life overhaul.