What is it like on the inside?
Sitting in what is essentially the ‘old’ Golf - for production of the new Mk8 has already begun - really highlights ergonomic issues presented by the touchscreens and touch-sensitive surfaces/buttons the car industry is moving towards.
See, the Mk7’s interior is tremendous - it might not look as modern as the Mk8’s but it’s very straightforward to use on the move. For the Mk8 VW replaced most of the Mk7’s physical switchgear with touch-buttons. From the sunroof to the headlights - everything is now either controlled through a touch-sensitive button, or through the infotainment system. Doing it this way might have given the Mk8 Golf a better-looking interior, but it sure as hell hasn’t given it an easier-to-use interior. Ergonomically-speaking, if not technologically or aesthetically, the Mk7 Golf’s interior is better.
Quality is beyond reproach, of course, and there are enough GTI-specific bits to make it feel special in here. The steering wheel, for example, is one of the best fitted to any ‘normal’ car, while the seats are trimmed in traditional tartan upholstery. As the manual gearbox is dead, there is no golf-ball gear lever, which is a shame.
For the 2017 facelift VW upgraded the Golf’s infotainment system - the standard eight-inch system is just fine, no need to upgrade, as it keeps a physical volume knob and still gets Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The digital instrument cluster isn’t quite as good as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but all the info you need is clearly displayed and the screen itself has good graphics.
Space is good - the boot is a decent size, and two adults can sit comfortably in the rear-seats.