The weight of the new Golf has been reduced by up to 100kg, which has resulted in improved fuel economy of almost 23%, depending on the engine. The interior styling and concept are phenomenal, with noticeably more space – and the boot has increased by 30 litres to 380 litres. Redesigned seats with better ergonomics make for relaxed driving over long distances. The rear seats have a 60:40 split and can be folded down. When folded, a nearly level cargo floor is created with a length of 1 558mm. Taller drivers in particular will welcome the seat position that has been shifted back by 20mm. The steering wheel’s adjustment range has also been modified and pedal distances have been optimised.
Volkswagen has equipped the Golf with a new generation of radio and radio navigation systems. All systems have a touch screen as standard. The new generation of devices is available in three different display sizes. All information and entertainment systems have been completely redeveloped and restyled, introducing a generation of touch screens with a proximity sensor and a function that reacts to ‘wiping’ movements by the fingers – all standard in Highline. The display comprises a screen that has been reduced to just the essentials. In the operating mode, on the other hand, the elements that can be activated by touch are specially highlighted to simplify intuitive operation. The displays also have a function that let users scroll through music lists in the media library with a wipe of the hand.
The optional radio navigation system with a large eight-inch capacitive touch screen is known as Discover Pro. It features a DVD drive, extended premium voice control, 3D navigation and a 64GB flash memory. Integration of the Compact Disc Database from Gracenote also enables state-of-the-art playback and management of media. There is a new electronic parking brake with its Auto Hold function. There is also a large storage compartment located under the centre armrest that can be adjusted by up to 100mm in length and five stages in height.
The dashboard is soft to the touch with no reflection onto the windscreen, and the inlays in the door panels have illuminated trim as part of the ambient lighting fitted as standard in the Highline. The new seats exhibit excellent core properties: well-contoured body lines, optimal support for dynamic driving, and a high level of comfort on long trips. The Comfortline and Highline derivatives are equipped with manually adjustable, two-way lumbar support on the driver and front passenger seats. Driving the new Golf 7 quickly makes you realise how quiet and comfortable it is. There are also no vibrations when idling or accelerating hard. Sound acoustics are great and make listening to music very pleasurable. The engines are very quiet, and even the diesel engine is barely heard. Wind noise is negligible and road noise differs according to the road surface, but is easily absorbed. As expected, roadholding is excellent, and I was amazed at the power generated by the 1.4 TSI and by the 2.0 diesels. They are no slouches and are eager to cruise at speeds well above the speed limit. The Golf comes in three derivatives: Golf Trendline, Golf Comfortline and Golf Highline. All Golf 7 derivatives are fitted with seven air bags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
New Golf Pricing
1.2 TSI Trendline (77kW) 6-speed manual R233 800
1.4 TSI Trendline (90kW) 6-speed manual R246 700
1.4 TSI Comfortline (90kW) 6-speed manual R264 900
1.4 TSI Comfortline (90kW) 7-speed DSG R279 400
2.0 TDI Comfortline (81kW) 5-speed manual R282 300
1.4 TSI Highline (103kW) 6-speed manual R293 600
2.0 TDI Highline (110kW) 6-speed DSG R334 800
Standard features on the Golf Trendline include items such as the touch-screen module with a five-inch TFT display, the luggage compartment cover (stowable), ECO-HMI (fuel economy-related graphics and information on the multifunction dashboard display), the multicollision braking system, the electronic parking brake with Auto Hold function, the XDS transverse differential lock, the tyre pressure indicator, battery regeneration mode, and the Stop/Start system. Other standard features include daytime running lights, climatic air conditioning (manual), electrically adjustable wing mirrors, an outside-temperature indicator, front electrically operated windows, a rear window wiper with intermittent setting, electromechanical power steering, safety-optimised head restraints, a steering wheel and a gear lever knob in leather, a multifunction steering wheel, a lockable glove box, a centre console with storage compartment, asymmetrically split, fold-down rear seat backs, a steering column with height and rake adjustment, height-adjustable front seats, a dust and pollen filter, central locking with remote control, disk brakes on all wheels, 15-inch ‘Lyon’ alloy wheels with 195/65 tyres, a rear diffuser, and green-tinted, heat-insulating windows.
The Golf Comfortline is further equipped with a high-quality instrument cluster, drawers under the front seats, ‘Zoom’-comfort fabric seats with manually adjustable lumbar support in the front, a rear bench seat with central armrest and an opening for loading long items, cruise control, a chrome-look rotary light switch and wing-mirror adjuster, storage pockets on the backs of the front seats, an additional 12-volt socket in the boot, an illuminated vanity mirror, automatic headlight activation, and 16-inch ‘Toronto’ alloy wheels with 205/55 tyres.
The Golf Highline, as the premium model of the Golf 7 range, also features, in addition to those features of the Golf Comfortline, ‘Global’ sports seats in front (Alcantara centre panel and fabric inner side supports), chrome accents for the electric window switches, LED reading lights in the front and rear, 5.8-inch touch-screen radio/CD ‘Composition Media’ with 8-inch speakers, as well MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth, SD card, heated windscreen-washer jets and heated front seats, dark-red rear lights, ‘Dijon’ 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/45 tyres, and cornering lights with chrome trim. To individualise your Golf 7, there is a list of optional features available ranging from panoramic sunroof tilt/slide, a manually foldable towbar, Bi-Xenon headlights, high-beam light assist, Park Distance Control (PDC), a park-assist rear-view camera, a navigation system, and Vienna leather seats. Colours to choose from are Urano Grey, Pure White, Tornado Red, Metallic – Night Blue, Pacific Blue, Sunset Red, Reflex Silver, Tungsten Silver, and Pearl Effect – Deep Black.
An innovative system not yet seen in a compact car is the multicollision brake that is standard in the Golf 7. Although not tried by us, it is really revolutionary, as it reduces the kinetic energy that is so dangerous on the second impact after the initial impact. The latest version of the park-assist system now facilitates not only assisted parking parallel to the road, but also reverse parking at right angles to the road. In addition, the optional Park Assist 2.0 is equipped with a braking and parking-space exit function. The new Golf range comes standard with a 5-year/90 000km service plan, a 3-year/120 000km warranty, and a 12-year anticorrosion warranty. Service intervals are at 15 000km. The Golf 7 is setting the benchmark for others to follow, is a lovely vehicle to drive and is safe; a most enjoyable vehicle all round. Now, I am looking forward to the Golf 7 GTi.
Quick Facts about the New Golf
- Assistance and vehicle dynamics systems (standard and optional): Electronic Stability Control (ESC, including anti-lock braking system, brake assistance, traction control, XDS electronic differential lock, engine-drag torque control, counter-steering support and trailer stabilisation); Light Assist main-beam control; cruise-control system, including speed limiter; multicollision braking; ParkPilot; Park Assist; tyre-pressure monitoring indicator; and Rear Assist.
- Transmission: 5-speed manual (2.0 TDI with 81kW); 6-speed manual (1.2 TSI with 77kW, 1.4 TSI with 90kW, and 1.4 TSI with 103kW); 6-speed DSG (2.0 TDI with 110kW); and 7-speed DSG (1.4 TSI with 90kW).
- Cargo capacity: 380 litres to 1 270 litres.
- Engines – diesel: 2.0 TDI with 81kW and 2.0 TDI with 110kW.
- Engines – petrol: 1.2 TSI with 77kW, 1.4 TSI with 90kW, and 1.4 TSI with 103kW.
- Equipment lines: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline.
- Fuel tank: 50 litres.
- Infotainment: ‘Composition Colour’ CD/radio (5-inch touch screen) – standard in Trendline and Comfortline models; ‘Composition Media’ CD/radio (5.8-inch touch screen) – standard in Highline models; ‘Discover Pro’ radio navigation system (8-inch touch screen) – optional.
- Sales: Over 29-million worldwide and 323 100 in South Africa.
- Model introductions in South Africa: Mk 1 – 1978; Mk 2 – 1984; Mk 3 – 1992; Mk 4 – 1999; Mk 5 – 2004; Mk 6 – 2009.
- Wheels: 15-inch ‘Lyon’ alloy wheels on Trendline, 16-inch ‘Toronto’ alloy wheels on Comfortline, and 17-inch ‘Dijon’ alloy wheels on Highline.
It has been five long months since the Paris Motor Show to wait for one of the most anticipated Volkswagens in South Africa. It was therefore with great anticipation that we flew to Port Elizabeth to experience the new Golf 7, which is called the ‘best Golf ever’. One thing was for sure: even at a distance, it was clear the new model is still a Golf.
The Golf 1 to Golf 6 are still very relevant in the DNA of the Golf 7. The changes are in the lines and the shadows that they cast, the size of the grille crossbeam, the look of the side windows, the roof line and pillars, and the wheel arches – all of which play a major role in the differentiation between the old and the new design. The changes made throughout the new Golf 7 are of real value, especially as far as safety and environmental impact are concerned.
Although the Golf 7 is truly a Golf, I was surprised at the innovative thinking and creativity that have gone into the planning, and at the practicality that has been achieved. Nothing has been changed because it seemed to be the trend. If it has been changed, it is needed. ‘Adding on’ normally brings about extra weight, but not in the case of the Golf 7.
Volkswagen Golf 7: Creatively Innovative
by Carl Wepener
* Prices as at date of publishing