By Patrick James on 2017-04-03 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
VW tees up another
IT'S difficult to overstate how important the Golf is to Volkswagen, the world's biggest selling vehicle manufacturer.
The firm, blighted by the CO2 emissions scandal, has climbed back to the top of the tree. The group, which includes Audi, Porsche, SEAT, Bentley and Skoda sold 10.3 million vehicles for the year, overtaking Toyota in the process.
VW says it is determined to restore the buying public's confidence after the so-called 'dieselgate' and the best way to do that is to provide customers with the very best as well as completing work on affected diesel models.
The Golf is VW's top selling model with over 33 million sold since launch in 1974. In 2016 it became the UK's third best selling car.
As always the 2017 facelift of the Mark VII is evolution rather than revolution in terms of styling. The new model is also cheaper, an average of almost £650 over the outgoing model.
Some revisions could be described as revolutionary, with some first-in-class innovations which normally appear in executive vehicles.
Along with tweaks to the design, there are new engines including a new 1.5 petrol engine, the TSI Evo with 150ps and Active Cylinder Management which allows cylinders to shut down when the power is not required.
Uprated performance comes with the GTI, which now features 230ps for the standard version and 245ps for the GTI Performance.
In addition a seven speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) will gradually replace all six speed DSGs for the Golf.
There are even more improvements to the interior.
The centrepiece is a 9.2-inch screen which controls major functions including infotainment, connectivity and apps, including the "Discover Pro" system can be operated by gesture control.
This allows the user to use 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 picture albums in the media library.
Design tweaks include new front and rear bumpers, full LED tail lights with animated indicators for the top-of-the-range versions and revised LED headlights replace all xenon headlights. There are also new wheels and colours, and the interior features new decorative trims and fabrics.
As before, the range of safety kit is comprehensive emergency braking with new pedestrian monitoring function, Traffic Jam Assist which is also new in this segment.
In addition to Park Assist, which makes it possible to park in any parking space that is parallel or perpendicular to the carriageway semi-automatically, the Golf offers another first in class with Trailer Assist which allows the vehicle and attached trailer to reverse park almost automatically.
Find a spot, select reverse, press and button and the sensors take over. All the driver needs to use is the accelerator and brake pedal. simple.
The facelifted hybrid Golf GTE retains the same driveline , with a 150ps 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 101ps electric motor. Together, the two power units provide combined system outputs of 201ps, and its quick.
The Golf has always been a driver's car and the latest version is no different. Hig quality fixtures and fittings, cutting edge equipment and an excellent range of efficient and high peforming engines.
From the entry level 1.0 litre TSI petrol through to the firecracker GTI it offers a satisfying driving experience, excellent practicality and good residuals.
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