There aren’t many buttons inside
Well, that’s not strictly true. There are lots on the steering wheel. The window switches and mirror controls are still proper buttons, too. And the hazard light switch and SOS emergency button - these controls have to be physical push-buttons by law.
But most everything else is a touch-button, or has been integrated into the main infotainment screen. The lights are controlled by touch buttons, while traditional climate and volume controls have been replaced by touch-sensitive sliders on a little shelf beneath the 10-inch centre screen (where you might want to brace your hand…). You can tap them to increase the volume or temperature by one unit, or slide your finger across them to make bigger changes. A double tap on the climate sliders switches the heated seats on or off. The controls for the sunroof are where you’d expect to find them, but they too have been replaced with a touch-sensitive slider. All this makes us nervous.
Arranged around the hazard switch, below the main screen (which will be this big on all UK cars - Germans get a smaller one as standard, then this bigger one as an option or on higher trims) and between the air vents are shortcuts for the climate, parking, safety and drive-mode selection screens. Next comes a couple of USB-C ports (adaptors at the ready) and a pretty deep storage tray with a wireless phone charger.
Go for the auto, and the arrangement of the centre console is very Porsche 911, with a little push/pull toggle to select a gear rather than the big lever of old.
Oh, and the new Golf is the first car to get VW’s new badge (in Germany, anyway. Britain doesn’t get the new Golf till next year, so the facelifted Up gets it first here). It’s not massively different from the last one - a bit simpler, cleaner. Jürgen Stackmann says the new logo, and all the stuff that goes along with it, “marks the start of the new era for Volkswagen”. He says VW “is undergoing a fundamental transformation towards a future with a neutral emission balance for everyone,” and that “now is the right time to make the new attitude of our brand visible to the outside world”. Righto.