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.

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 range comprises a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine good for 114bhp, 1.2 TSI turbo petrol engine with an output of 84bhp, 121bhp and 148bhp versions of a 1.4 TSI, a 1.6 TDI with 108bhp, and a 2.0 TDI with 148bhp (thus pushing it into multi-link rear suspension territory).

The range is topped by on the petrol side by the 2.0-litre TSI engine which is available in three outputs - 217bhp, 262bhp and 296bhp which find themselves plugged into the GTI, GTI Clubsport Edition 40 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 200bhp hybrid GTE and the 113bhp fully-electric e-Golf.

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