What Car? says...
Marketing is a powerful tool. If you've seen the adverts, you’ll never forget just how versatile Birdseye Potato Waffles are – the answer is, of course, waffly – or how the phases of the moon work, thanks to Jaffa Cakes. More such memorable marketing was the TV commercial for the Volkswagen Golf. Its strapline? Simply, “It’s just like a Golf.” Nothing more needed to be said.
Now in its eighth generation, the Golf has long been the iconic family car; its genius being the way it combines smart looks, decent practicality and impressive driving dynamics in a truly classless package. The current model adds a host of clever technologies, too, including mild-hybrid assistance and a completely reinvented infotainment system with masses of online connectivity.
As well as hybrid power, the range includes regular petrol and diesel engines with outputs that range between 114bhp to 148bhp. Expect that range to plump out in due course (the Golf Mk8 doesn't go on sale until April 2020, and as yet not all the specifications and iterations have been released), with dinky 1.0-litre petrol engines as well as the higher-powered motors finding their way into the inevitable hot hatch GTI and R variants.
Does the current Golf continue the legacy of its forebears? Does the latest car’s clever tech add to the experience on offer, or detract from the driving pleasure? And how does it compare with other family car rivals, such as the Ford Focus and Skoda Scala from the grass-roots end of the market, and tempting premium alternatives that include the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class?
Keep reading our comprehensive review to find out, and don’t forget to check out our New Car Buying pages for big, hassle-free savings on tonnes of new cars.