The Australian sales chart may not reflect it, but ask any WhichCar or Wheels reviewer to name the dominant vehicle in the small-car segment and the answer will be the same as it has been since the mid-2000s: Volkswagen’s Golf.
No other car in the class combines such a persuasive blend of perceived quality, interior finish, refinement, dynamics and efficiency.
We’re now at the mid-point of the lifecycle of the Mk7 model, and a raft of upgrades stamp this is as the most comprehensive update ever applied mid-cycle to a Golf – this is very much Golf Mk7.5.
In terms of engine and power, the most significant movement comes at the entry point of the range.
Gone is the entry-level 92TSI model; the line-up now opens with the 110TSI, powered by a 110kW version of the 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol-turbo engine, with either a six-speed manual or, more commonly, a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission.
The jump of 18kW is significant, but more noteworthy, in terms of general driveability, is the torque leap: the 92TSI engine made 200Nm; the 110TSI cranks out 50Nm more.
Key equipment upgrades to this model include 16-inch alloy wheels, and automatic emergency braking, with multi-collision braking (which applies the brakes if the car is hit from behind, stopping it from ramming into the car in front.)
Also standard are VW’s App-Connect and Bluetooth, rear view camera, driver fatigue detection system, LED tail lights and daytime driving lights.
Above the 110TSI is the 110TSI Trendline, also available with six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission. Importantly, it’s at this Trendline level that buyers can opt for the wagon variant, offered with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox only.
Most significant equipment upgrades that come with Trendline are automatic headlights and wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, front seat lumbar adjustment, and rear seat centre armrest with load-through and cup holders.
Step up to the next level above Trendline and, as per the outgoing line-up, you’re at Comfortline. Again, a wagon variant is offered, but transmission for both hatch and wagon is the seven-speed dual-clutch only.
This is the spec level you need to choose if navigation is required. You’ll also get 17-inch wheels, improved front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a handful of other upgrades.
Comfortline is also the spec level at which the optional Infotainment package can be included. This provides Active Info display, which is a 12.3-inch customisable instrument display that can be configured into one of five different profiles, including Classic, Performance, Efficiency and Navigation.
It’s especially useful in the latter Navigation mode, as it reduces the size of the speedo and tacho dials and puts the map and directions just below your line of sight.
Also part of the Infotainment package is the Discover Pro 9.2-inch media display, with gesture control (limited usefulness) and voice control.
The sound system is upgraded to a Dynaudio Excite 400W premium audio system with 10-channel digital amplifier and subwoofer.
Optional for the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline is the Driver Assistance package, which includes:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Lane keeping Assist
- Blind Spot Monitor
- Rear Traffic Alert
- Park Assist
Finally to the top-spec Highline. It’s at this level that a diesel engine becomes available in hatch only (no wagon.)
Main equipment upgrades over Comfortline include: leather appointed upholstery, heated front seats, electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory function, keyless entry and start, power folding door mirrors, LED headlights, colour infotainment display (MFD Premium), and glass sunroof. The 17-inch wheel are a different design, there’s an extra splash of exterior chrome, the interior gets ambient lighting strips, and front fog lights are fitted.
Highline customers can also option the R-Line Package which brings:
- R-Line exterior styling
- R-Line interior styling
- 18" (Sebring) alloy wheels
- Progressive steering
- Sports suspension
- Tinted rear and rear side window glass
For buyers wanting a bit of light-off-road ability from their Golf, there’s the Alltrack, which, as per the outgoing model, is an all-wheel-drive wagon variant with slightly raised ride height and protective body cladding, among other changes.
The Alltrack is now offered in three variants: Alltrack 132TSI, Alltrack Premium 132TSI, or Alltrack Premium 135TDI.
The first two are powered by the existing 1.8 turbo-petrol engine making 132kW/280Nm. The latter is your only way to have a diesel engine in the wagon body; the 2.0-litre diesel producing 135kW/380Nm, and driving all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Three option packages are offered for Alltrack: Driver Assistance and Infotainment, as per the regular Golf line-up, as well as a Sport Luxury package for Alltrack Premium. Key inclusions of this are:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles
- Panoramic electric glass sunroof
- Electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory
- Electrically adjustable driver's lumbar support
- Power folding door mirrors with memory function
- Dark tinted rear and rear side windows
Sales start from the first week of July, with pricing expected to be announced in the next few weeks.