High expectations here. A sizeable constituent within Volkswagen’s customer base buy its cars (and the Golf specifically) because the interior quality and corresponding aesthetic hoist the cabin ambience out of the mainstream.
Remarkably, this is done without fawning too dramatically at the premium brands’ coat tails; instead, the just-so sweetness of the ergonomics and a design blueprint devoid of ostentation are entrusted to convey that all-important waft of understated class. In that respect, the Mk7 is a chip off the block.
VW insists that every element has been redeveloped or redesigned, but the innate conservatism of the surroundings means you’d struggle to put your finger on what exactly has changed without immediate reference to the Mk6 predecessor.
The centre console has been angled even more aggressively towards the driver, but it is probably the multimedia centre at its heart which is worthy of greater attention.
In a potent sign of the times, even the S trim model gets a 5.8-inch display, including iPhone-style swiping and a system that senses your fingers’ proximity and allows it to move seamlessly between a simple on-the-move display to one with more on-screen options than you might conceivably want to select.
Clever stuff, but by replicating Apple’s omnipresent interface you risk being judged by its high standards, and in this respect the navigation is going to feel a little clunky.
Similarly, by VW’s own benchmark, some of the old-fashioned switchgear is not quite as satisfying to spin or toggle as it might have been, but these are niggles rather than concerns.
Elsewhere, VW’s determination that the Golf must, once again, be made to swell has at least paid dividends inside. Rear legroom has grown by 15mm, despite the fact that the front seats have been moved 20mm back to help accommodate taller drivers. The platform’s broader girth means that shoulder and elbowroom have increased by 30mm and 20mm respectively. The 28mm decrease in height has not perceptibly hindered headroom.