What is it like on the inside?
If you’ve read our review of the Mk8 Golf hatch, you’ll know this is where it falls down compared with its rivals – even against those from within the VW Group. Yes, the seating position is perfectly judged, there are plenty of nice soft-touch materials (particularly the brilliant cloth seats) and it’s all screwed together well, but we just haven’t got on with the standard ‘Innovision’ cockpit.
Sometimes with cars it's just a matter of getting used to the setup, and we often only see these things for short periods. But here? Pure contempt, every time.
As with all new Golfs, the Estate gets a 10in display for the dials and a 10in central touchscreen for all of your infotainment and climate control needs. There’s then a confusing capacitive slider under the screen that controls temperature and volume, but it's far more complicated to use than a simple knob and you can't see it at night because it doesn't light up. You’ll also accidentally touch it a lot when trying to use the touchscreen on the move.
It really is a frustrating task trying to turn off menu-hidden driver assistance systems or attempting to set cabin temperatures. Thankfully there are some proper buttons on the steering wheel, although these are swapped out for terrible touch-sensitive haptic surfaces on R-Line cars. Avoid.
How much space is there inside?
Suppose we should talk about practicality, given that’s probably the sole reason you’re on this page. The wheelbase on the Mk8 Estate is 66mm longer than the previous version of the car, and the whole thing is 35mm longer in total. This means an increase in bootspace to an impressive 611 litres with the rear seats up and 1,642 litres with them folded flat. That longer wheelbase also increases the legroom for rear passengers by 38mm over the previous generation. You can easily seat six-footers front and rear.
It’s worth pointing out here, though, that the similarly MQB-based Octavia gets a 640-litre boot with the seats up, or 1,700 litres with them folded down. The Leon Estate also does ever so slightly better than the Golf with a 617-litre boot. Though these are ultimately tiny differences.