It has been 41 years since Volkswagen’s iconic hatchback debuted in the United States, and the seventh-generation Golf is the best Golf yet. Winning more than two-dozen awards following its 2015 debut, the Golf continues to represent a great value with loads of interior and cargo space, fuel-efficient engine choices and world-class engineering.
The Golf adds a high-value Wolfsburg Edition trim to the lineup, slotting above the S model. The Wolfsburg Edition adds the following equipment to the S trim: panoramic sunroof; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; KESSY® keyless access with push-button start; heatable front seats; automatic headlights; rain-sensing windshield wipers; 16-inch “Dover” aluminum-alloy wheels; Wolfsburg Edition badging and floormats; Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.
The seventh-generation Golf is wrapped in sheet metal that is modern, yet unmistakable as a Volkswagen Golf. The shape and design elements remain as defined as ever, with a distinctive C-pillar and roofline framing classic Golf side windows, but the striking front end and steeply sloped hood leave no doubt this model is different from previous generations.
The look is further accentuated by the sharper headlight clusters and with a detail line that runs through them, as well as by the narrower grille, which leads to a strong character line that travels along the side and all the way back to the taillight clusters, only breaking for the wheelarches. Just above, another body line can be traced from the rear side window all the way back up to the headlights. These subtle body lines help create a poised yet elegant appearance.
Dimensionally, the latest Golf is bigger than its predecessor in all aspects other than height. Overall length increased by 2.1 inches, while width gained 0.5 inches. Overall height decreased, however, by 1.1 inches. Thanks to the MQB architecture, which dictates a fixed relationship between the front-wheel centerline and the pedalbox, the front wheels sit 1.7 inches further forward, giving a premium “cab backward” aesthetic. Along with shaping and horizontal design emphasis, these updated proportions help the Golf achieve a lower visual center of gravity and a more dynamic stance. Moreover, the new design helped to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics with a reduction in the coefficient of drag from 0.32 to 0.29.
The Golf TSI® S is equipped with 15-inch “Lyon” aluminum-alloy wheels, wrapped in 195/65 all-season tires, and is upgraded to 16-inch wheels in the Wolfsburg trim: 18-inch “Durban” aluminum-alloy wheels are available as an option for both S and Wolfsburg Edition trims. A panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof is standard equipment on the new Wolfsburg Edition., along with automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic halogen headlights.
The large, well-appointed cabin has an emphasis on comfort and a substantial features list. Despite the Golf’s lower overall height, interior space increased all around in 2015, with 93.5 cubic feet of interior room, 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space up to the parcel shelf and 22.8 cu ft to the roof. The versatility of the load space is enhanced by a trunk floor that can be moved up or down by 3.9 inches, while the 60:40 split backrest can be folded to give an almost flat cargo area that easily accommodates a full-size bicycle. With the rear seats folded, the Golf has 52.7 cu ft of cargo capacity.
In addition to the spacious interior, the driver controls are positioned to help optimize ergonomics and usability. The seat position, height of the shifter and the spacing between the pedals are fine-tuned for increased driver comfort. This driver-centric design focus is also evident from the center stack, which is angled towards the driver—a trait frequently seen in premium luxury or performance vehicles. White backlighting for the controls further highlights this upscale ambience, as well as the use of premium materials throughout, such as soft-touch plastics and trim pieces available in chrome, aluminum, and piano-black finishes.
An equal amount of attention has been paid to helping maximize comfort and convenience. The Golf TSI S has standard power windows with one-touch up/down from all window switches, power door locks, and power exterior mirrors, along with Climatic® air conditioning; cruise control; leather-wrapped handbrake, shifter knob and multifunction steering wheel; partial power front seats; Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming for compatible devices; and a MIB II Composition Color 6.5-inch touchscreen radio with USB and Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect smartphone integration, rearview camera, and Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service.
All Wolfsburg trim models are equipped with V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; KESSY keyless access with push-button start; heatable front seats and Wolfsburg Edition floormats.
One of the most technologically advanced features in the 2017 Golf comes in the form of its MIB II touchscreen infotainment system, which offers a host of standard features including AUX-in, an SD card slot, HD Radio, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio capability, and a USB multimedia interface with compatible Apple iPhone® and iPod® integration, reverse camera display, and Bluetooth technology with audio streaming. In addition, the system offers one of the most comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features available in the automotive industry today. Features available through the Car-Net are divided into three key areas, App-Connect, Security & Service, and Guide & Inform, which is only available on vehicles that have an integrated navigation system.
App-Connect. The Composition Media unit is standard on the 2017 Golf. This unit features an 800x480 capacitive color touch display with proximity sensor with a 6.5-inch screen. Other standard features include App-Connect smartphone integration, Bluetooth with the ability to stream audio and sync two phones simultaneously, an SD card slot, and a JPEG viewer, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio and support for lossless audio file format (Free Lossless Audio Codec FLAC).
Security & Service. With the Car-Net Security & Service suite, owners can access their VW remotely through vw.com/carnet as well as a smartphone app and an in-car Car-Net button console, providing access to the features available from virtually anywhere your mobile device is connected to wireless internet.
Available security related features include Automatic Crash Notification, which can automatically notify an operator who can contact first responders in the event of an collision; Manual Emergency Call, a feature that allows for quick access to customer specialists at the touch of a button; Roadside Assistance, for added peace-of-mind in the event of trouble on the road; and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which uses VW Car-Net Security & Service to assist law enforcement with locating your vehicle in the event that it is stolen.
In addition, Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service offers layers of convenience, such as remote vehicle access, remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash (of lights), last parked location information, and remote status check (doors and windows).
The Car-Net Security & Service also offers Family Guardian, a suite of features that help families. Features including speed alert, which can notify the owner of the vehicle when the preset maximum speed limit is exceeded; and boundary alert, which can alert you if the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary.
Diagnostics and maintenance information is also available through VW Car-Net. A Vehicle Health Report allows Volkswagen customers to check to see an overview of vehicle diagnostics. When it’s time for scheduled service, Car-Net Security & Service can not only alert the customer, but also provide a simple way to schedule a dealer visit. It can even identify the closest dealer in case you need a recommendation.
Customers purchasing new Volkswagen models equipped with Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service connected vehicle services (not including App-Connect) will receive a no-charge trial for six months after purchase. To extend the benefits of this connectivity system, customers can choose from a number of Volkswagen Car-Net payment options: 1 year, for $199; 2 years for $378; 3 years for $540; or, month-to-month, for $17.99.
The Golf features a compact turbocharged and direct-injection 1.8-liter four-cylinder TSI gasoline engine. The engine is a member of the latest EA888 engine family and has a state-of-the-art design that uses intelligent downsizing to deliver excellent power and torque as well as efficiency. The Golf’s turbocharged 1.8-liter EA888 engine produces 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm, with the 6-speed automatic transmission, and torque peaks at 199 pound-feet (184 pound-feet with the 5-speed manual transmission) with the broad swathe of torque starting at 1,600 rpm and lasting until 4,400 rpm.
The 1.8-liter TSI engine is mated to either a traditional five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic® shifting that is optional on Golf TSI S and Wolfsburg trims. Manual transmission equipped models achieve an EPA estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, while models equipped with the automatic transmission achieve 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
The A7 Golf is the first U.S.-market vehicle built on Volkswagen’s MQB modular platform. The unitary construction chassis has two solid-mounted subframes with bolt-on front fenders, and utilizes technologies such as the laser clamp welder, which produces “wobble seam” welds in a wave pattern to help maximize strength in a limited space, offering up to four times the strength of a traditional spot weld.
The Golf models’ stamped steel body and chassis boasts 28-percent of its parts in high-strength, hot-formed steel. This technology allows much of the chassis and body to be constructed from thinner and lighter parts without any loss in strength. Thanks to the use of selective thickness for parts, a single component can be tailor-rolled to have as many as 11 zones of varying thicknesses.
The Golf features a strut-type front suspension. At the back, the Golf has a multilink arrangement with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The rack-and-pinion steering features electric power assist and features a 13.6 to one ratio that allows for 2.76 turns from lock to lock.
All 2017 Golf models are equipped with the XDS® Cross Differential System, which acts somewhat like an electronic substitute for a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, working by actively monitoring data from each wheel sensor. If the suspension becomes unloaded, the system automatically applies braking to the driven inside wheel as needed to help reduce understeer (the tendency for the front wheels to run wide). This not only helps the Golf’s stability, but also helps improve handling and cornering performance.
To help protect occupants, the Golf provides a combination of both passive and active safety systems. The Golf has been engineered to meet or exceed all current crash regulations and features six airbags as standard, along with a number of electronic and mechanical safety systems.
The seventh-generation Golf’s braking system involves substantial 11.3-inch vented front discs and 10.7-inch solid rear discs with standard three-channel ABS with electronic brake pressure distribution. All Golf models are equipped with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
A standard feature on the 2017 Golf models is Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
The Golf also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.
The Wolfsburg model comes equipped with Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.
Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning helps warn the driver of critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a warning symbol in the instrument cluster, and, if necessary, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated to slow the vehicle if the driver fails to brake. If the brake pedal is applied but the driver brakes too lightly, the brake pressure is increased by the system.
Blind Spot Monitor uses two radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle to scan the approaching traffic and help warn drivers of potential danger in adjacent lanes. If the driver uses the turn signal to indicate a lane change while a vehicle is detected in a blind spot, the system utilizes a flashing LED symbol in the outer area of the side mirrors. The system is designed to help alert drivers in specific situations; stationary objects or oncoming vehicles do not trigger warnings, nor will vehicles more than one lane across away from the vehicle.
The Rear Traffic Alert system not only helps alert the driver to stationary and moving vehicles directly behind, but also helps detect vehicles approaching from the side that may be difficult for the driver to see while reversing. It offers a sizable range of about 65 to 80 feet, depending on model, and will present a visual and an acoustic warning, before applying the brakes if a potential impending collision is detected. The system is activated either by selecting reverse gear or by the optional Park Distance Control when starting off.
The 2017 Golf TSI models are offered with Volkswagen’s standard five-year/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain limited warranty and three-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) new vehicle limited warranty.