The Mark 8 Volkswagen Golf is on the way, and it's good to see the next generation of one of the world’s most popular cars getting such a comprehensive reboot. On the flip side, it means there might be some keen deals on current stocks of Mark 7.5 Golfs in VW dealer lots around the country. If you can't wait until next year for a new Golf, this is your chance.
What is the Volkswagen Golf 110TSI?
The Volkswagen Golf is a mid-sized five-door, five-seat hatchback that competes against rivals including the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Holden Astra, Mazda 3, Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla.
It serves as the benchmark for European-sourced hatchbacks, but most of its competition has been recently updated or refreshed, making the small car buying decision a little harder.
That said, the Golf is still a great choice for singles, young drivers and families and you’ll likely get more Golf for your money between now and when the new Mark 8 Golf arrives in Australia next year.
On test, we’ve picked up one of the range toppers: the Golf 110TSI Highline with R-line package. This combines a number of creature comforts found in the Highline specification with sporty body styling similar to that of its high-performance Golf R stablemate.
Volkswagen Australia gave the Golf range driveaway pricing earlier this year, and the 110TSI Highline costs $34,990 driveaway, plus the R-Line package which adds $2500.
For that spend, some of the niceties on offer include adaptive cruise control, sunroof, leather-appointed seats, LED interior lighting, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and park assist. Ticking the R-Line package nets you specific R-line body styling and badging, 18-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, tinted windows and a progressive steering system similar to that on the more sporting GTI.
Read next: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Range Review
What’s it like to live with?
If there’s praise you can throw at the Golf in spades, it’s that it easily melds into your life without a fuss.
Getting in and out is easy, especially with the addition of keyless entry, it’s nimble enough about town and even parking is quite simple with front and rear parking sensors. And it’ll even do a really good job of parking itself if you find yourself out of your depth.
Inside, the heated part-leather seats resist stains and are easily wiped clean, the leather multi-function steering wheel is lovely to hold, and the fit and finish of surfaces, grab handles and the like is top notch.
Loose items are well catered for with a neat cubby aft of the shifter, a key slot beside a pair of cupholders and a decent-sized centre storage bin. Door pockets are lined with felt and are generously sized, too.
Commands for the infotainment system are dispatched without fuss via the 8.0-inch touchscreen and the stereo system sounds great with a high amount of clarity, at least to our ears.
We would have liked to have seen nice-to-haves like the optional Sound and Vision package which includes a fully digital instrument cluster and larger 9.2-inch touchscreen included as standard on a higher spec car entering run-out, but in all honesty, you probably wouldn’t notice much difference.
Comfort-wise, the Golf blends a commodious amount of interior space with a compact exterior body size. Headroom is well-accounted for, the rear seats are fine to sit in, even if you’re tall, and the boot is able to eat up a suitcase or two at 380 litres.
In addition to the above, speaking from experience we would say the Golf’s sturdy interior will hold up well to extended use, having driven a similar 40,000km Golf 7.5 recently which was still in tip-top shape.
What’s it like to drive?
Behind the wheel, the Golf is as nice to drive as it is to live with.
Its 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged powerplant produces 110kW and 250Nm which is plenty enough for scuttling about through suburbia. To access that torque, you do have to put your foot in it harder than expected but once you’re in the torque band, the little Golf pulls smoothly right to redline.
Read: 2020 Kia Seltos S review
The 110TSI Highline gets a DSG dual-clutch gearbox which shifts smoothly. The gearbox does take a bit of time to really get to know it - after all, it's still a manual at heart, and as such will behave as such when it comes to pausing and taking off at traffic lights. It’s easily manageable after some experience, though.
The Golf is easy to place on the road, and meandering around traffic at low speeds is straightforward with good vision throughout the cabin.
Aiding the driving experience, the Highline comes equipped with adaptive cruise control which will help you queue up in traffic, too. Blind spot monitoring, lane assist with adaptive guidance and park assist are also part of the active safety spec.
When opting for the R-Line package, you get progressive-feel steering - a different steering rack, in essence - which is accurate if a little muted in feel, along with sports suspension. The ride is comfortable, but we imagine you wouldn’t really need sports suspension in a Golf with a 110kW engine. Leave the R-Line package alone and have an even smoother ride.
On test, our Golf returned a fuel use of 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres over a week of use.
Is it worth the money?
Although you won’t have the latest and greatest from Volkswagen by opting for the Mk7.5 over the incoming Mk8, the value on offer is hard to argue against.
The Highline, in particular, is already a well-accomplished thing with oodles of kit for your spend. Add in the fact that it’s now more affordable and it’s hard to see where you could go wrong. A five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, an $1100 fixed-price service plan over the first three years and a five-star ANCAP safety rating don't hurt, either.
Shop hard enough, and the $35k ask might get a bit sharper as dealers become keen to clear the decks ahead of the Mk8's arrival.
And unless you’re a diehard fan of the R-Line’s style package, we’d opt against ticking that box and settle for an equally good-looking standard Highline specification.
Pros: Interior space; sturdy build quality; smooth powertrain
Cons: Ride slightly more jittery than expected; costly packages