Volkswagen Golf Mk7

We get behind the wheel of the seventh-generation VW Golf on British roads for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Volkswagen has made the best even better. The latest Golf is bigger, better and faster than before, yet it’s also cleaner and more efficient. On top of that, it’s packed full of the latest safety kit and boasts one of the classiest cabins in the business. It’s going to take something very special to knock it off its place at the top of the family hatchback tree.

We already know that the new Volkswagen Golf has what it takes to challenge the class leaders in the compact family car class, but how does it fare on UK roads? To find out, Auto Express grabbed the keys to one of the first examples to hit British soil. 

Based on the same lightweight MBQ structure as the recently launched Audi A3 and forthcoming SEAT Leon, the Golf promises to be bigger, faster and more refined than the model it replaces, while also being cleaner and more efficient.

However, VW has played safe with the styling of the seventh-generation model. It looks sleeker and sportier than the old car, but trademark cues such as the upright tail and thick C-Pillar mean that you could never mistake this for anything other than a Golf.

Any lingering disappointment will be banished the moment you climb aboard, though. First rate fit and finish, top-notch materials and a slick design mean the Golf easily beats the more expensive BMW 1 Series for upmarket appeal.

There are plenty of gadgets and gizmos to play with, too, as all models in the line-up get Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a brilliantly user-friendly 5.8-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Better still, SE and GT models get a whole host of desirable big car kit, including adaptive cruise control and a city safe collision mitigation set-up.

The VW is also wider and longer than before, so occupants in the back get slightly more head and legroom, while boot capacity swells to 380 litres.

Unfortunately for its rivals, the Golf is even better on the move. The steering is well weighted and precise, grip is strong and body control is second to none. Add the optional £795 Adaptive Chassis Control dampers and, in Comfort mode, the VW glides over bumps like an executive saloon.

Better still, the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is a smooth and eager performer, while there’s barely any wind and road noise – few cars at the price are as relaxed and refined on the motorway.

So, are there any chinks in the VW’s armour? Well, not really. And with prices starting from £16,285 for a 1.2-litre TSI in entry-level S trim, there should be a Golf to suit every budget.

Have you considered?

Ford Fiesta review
Ford Fiesta facelift - front cornering
Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta review

The Fiesta is good fun and remains a solid buy, despite increasingly strong competition
20 Jun 2022
Cupra Leon 245 VZ1 review
Cupra Leon 245 VZ1
Cupra Leon

Cupra Leon 245 VZ1 review

Few Cupra Leon buyers opt for this entry-level version of the car. Is it a hidden gem, or the derivative to avoid? 
1 Jun 2022
New Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180 2022 review
Peugeot 308 Hybrid - front
Peugeot 308

New Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180 2022 review

Is the more modest 178bhp Peugeot 308 PHEV the pick of the new hatchback's range? We find out...
26 May 2022

Most Popular

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots
MG roadster exclusive image - front

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots

The all-electric two-seat MG sports car is poised to follow the likes of the MG TF and MGB, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
23 Jun 2022
‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’
Opinion - Jaguar

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Jaguar's rebirth is a risk worth taking
15 Jun 2022
New Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio production to be decided by customer demand
Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio

New Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio production to be decided by customer demand

Customer interest will be a key factor in whether a proposed hot Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio will reach showrooms
24 Jun 2022