Now, as ever, evolution is key to the Golf’s design. Volkswagen Group design boss Walter de Silva has suggested that much of the Golf’s success “lies in its continuity”. People liked what they saw in the past, and they like this Golf now, too.

Had you never seen this generation Golf before, yet removed all its badges, we’re certain you could tell this was still a Golf.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Be careful with the wheel choice on entry level models, as they come with 15-inch steel items as standard

But there are, however, some subtle variations from the usual theme: stronger horizontal lines along and across the body reinforce an impression of solidity, while there is a small front overhang and give a sense that there’s a long bonnet and a cabin set far backwards. That, according to VW, is a design trademark of a more upmarket car. Changes made for the 2017 facelift include, altered air inducts, LED rear lights, the introduction of LED day-running lights across the range and the use of LED headlights in place of xenon bulbs on more expensive models.

What lies beneath, however, is more important than surface fripperies. You’ll probably already know that Volkswagen’s flexible MQB architecture features here.

It’s a steel monocoque construction whose body-in-white is said by VW to weigh 23kg less than its predecessor’s, thus contributing to the claimed 100kg weight reduction over Mk6 Golf variants. That’s despite it being longer and wider at a still-compact 4255 and 1799mm respectively.

Volkswagen says a base 2.0 TDI like we put through Autocar's full road test could weigh as little as 1354kg. But there’s no disgrace that, well equipped and full of fuel, it came up 10kg short of 1400kg on our scales, especially given that the Volvo V40 D3 we tested tipped the scales at 1545kg.

All Golfs, as you would expect, have MacPherson struts at the front. At the rear, versions with less than 148bhp come with a torsion beam set-up, while those with more than 148bhp get a multi-link suspension system. The engine starts with a pair of turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols good for 84 and 108bhp, followed by an 121bhp 1.4 TSI and topped by a duo of 1.5-litre EVO engines producing 128bhp and 148bhp respectively. The diesel range is more simple made up by an 113bhp 1.6 TDI and a 148bhp 2.0 TDI.

The range is topped by on the petrol side by the 2.0-litre TSI engine which is available in three outputs - 228bhp, 242bhp and 305bhp which find themselves plugged into the GTI, GTI Performance and the four-wheel driven Golf R. On the diesel front the range is completed with a 181bhp 2.0-litre GTD, while those with an eco-disposition have the choice of the 201bhp hybrid GTE and the 134bhp fully-electric e-Golf.

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