Volkswagen’s Golf enters the third year of the current body style more or less unchanged other than a handful of minor equipment tweaks.
The base Trendline (three- and five-door) receives VW’s new Composition 5.0-inch display audio system with CD player and SD card slot. This setup can be upgraded to a larger 6.5-inch screen with proximity sensor, CD player, SD card slot and eight speakers for the five-door version only. The package also bundles in satellite radio, and VW’s slick new App-Connect which offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Five-door Trendlines also receive an alarm as standard.
Higher up, the Comfortline now receives a 6.5-inch display audio system with AppConnect as standard, as well as a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake lever; the Convenience Package has been adjusted to include a panoramic power sunroof and a blind-spot warning.
The range-topping luxury Highline model debuts a new Driver Assistance Package, with adaptive cruise control, adaptive front lighting, emergency autonomous braking, lane-keeping assist, and automatic parking function, but loses its sport-tuned suspension.
All Golfs are powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine that puts out 170 hp; transmission options include a five-speed manual which is standard for all configurations, which can be upgraded to a six-speed automatic on all but the base Trendline three-door. The optional automatic has been dropped on three-door hatches for 2017. While the 2.0 TDI is still on hiatus, the 1.8 TSI provides good all-round fuel economy, excellent mid-range punch, and zippy performance.
Standard equipment on the Golf is fairly comprehensive, and includes an eight-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, a 5.0-inch display audio system with USB, reverse camera, Bluetooth, and heated seats.
Trendlines up the ante with dual-zone climate control, 16-inch wheels, proximity key, leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, and leatherette upholstery.
The range-topping Highline includes 17-inch wheels, power driver’s seat, ambient interior lighting, automatic headlights, chrome exterior trim, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, sports seats, rain-sensing wipers, navigation, and more.
Regardless of which trim is selected, the Golf offers top-notch interior quality with soft-touch plastics, tasteful interior trim, and a spacious cabin. The German-designed Golf also offers drivers solid dynamics with comfortable if not sporty handling and excellent high-speed stability.