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​The Volkswagen Golf – the revamped Golf builds on its family hatchback roots with a host of new tech

​A good indicator of a car’s reputation is the number of times you spot one on the road

If we’re using that logic the Volkswagen Golf must be at the right end of the scale, with the iconic hatchback a frequent sight on UK roads. A year or so on from its release, we look at the Mk7 Golf’s facelifted model.

As with all facelift models it’s not actually a new car, but instead a mid-life refresh on the current model. Subtle design tweaks and tech additions make up the list of new features. 

Although there were no complaints on the previous model’s styling, its younger sibling bears new front and rear bumpers, and LED daytime running lights. Higher specs get the full LED headlights as standard. 

It’s also got a choice of new colours, alloys and interior trims as well. There are no standout changes, but enough to keep an already good-looking car fresh and up to date.

That’s little surprise, too - over 33 million Golfs have been produced since it launched in ‘74. The German manufacturer has clearly come up with the right formula.

The 1.5-litre engine is solid on the road

​We tested the Golf in SE Nav trim with VW’s newer 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine. The turbocharged petrol unit peaks at 148bhp and has more than enough power at low revs, only tailing off when you get higher up the counter.

The VW Golf's interior is clean and smart, with new technology that'll appeal to a wider audience

And this spec comes with Driving Mode Selection as standard. In Normal mode it’ll get underway reasonably quick, and ride over lumps and bumps without any complaint, while ‘Sport’ sharpens the steering and acceleration. 

Opting for the Dynamic Chassis Control will give you varying suspension settings in addition and combined with the seven-speed automatic gearbox our model had, makes full use of the TSI’s power.

Unless you’re wanting one of the quickest models, such as the Golf GTI or the Golf R, the 1.5-litre engine will be more than enough.

It also operates with Active Cylinder Management, that shuts down cylinders to reduce fuel consumption - if you’re going for anything other than those pacier models, decent fuel economy is probably on your wish list.

A significantly upgraded tech list to choose from

The newer Golf model has an upgraded list of assistive tech to add on, too. Front Assist and Emergency Assist are two such features, with both alerting you of potential collisions and taking preventative action. 

While the former of those applies the brakes if it detects an obstacle and you haven’t slowed in time, the latter will make an emergency stop.

It’s even got Trailer Assist, that can help with the tricky task of reversing with a trailer attached – very fancy.

However, the standout bit of kit has to be the Traffic Jam Assist. Although it’s only available with the automatic DSG gearbox that our model had, it removes traffic faff by automatically accelerating and braking in relation to the car in front. 

These features don’t come as standard, but they could come in handy and may even help with insurance premiums.

The new infotainment system is a worthy addition to the facelifted Golf

The Golf has also received more attention on the inside, too. The infotainment systems now have larger screens and higher resolutions, and the top-spec Discover Pro system can be operated with gesture control. 

A gold Volkswagen Golf travelling down a mountainous route

It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got the knack you’ll be navigating through your playlist without even glancing at the screen.

All models bar the entry-level Golf S also have the option of Active Info Display, VW’s version of the Audi Virtual Cockpit. This replaces the dials behind the steering wheel with a customisable 12.3-inch digital display.

The Golf was once firmly in the family hatchback category, but with all of the trims and options now available it can appeal to more tastes and preferences.

If you’re not needing something overly fast, the Golf SE Nav with the 1.5-litre petrol engine is a solid shout.

And for those wanting more tech on the inside, there’s also the huge choice of optional extras that can be added to take the Golf’s comfort and ease of use up a few levels.

Find more on the Volkswagen Golf, along with current offers at www.lookers.co.uk/volkswagen/new-cars/new-golf/