It will be of considerable discomfort to Volkswagen’s rivals that it takes practically no time at all to recognise that the Golf’s superiority has been carried over intact – and still defines its lead over the chasing pack.

As with the previous version, this car’s excellence is slightly nebulous, but only in as much as practically everything about it seems to have been well thought out and then sagely and expensively executed.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Everything you’d expect of a Golf, only a little bit better in all regards

In doing so, the manufacturer’s preference for very light facelifts between every other generation continues to smack of mild cynicism – but it is so effortlessly good at spinning minute improvements as evidence of continual investment that buyers of the Golf must be left in little doubt that their money has been spent shrewdly.

And it is the continuing assurance of that relationship, apparently untroubled by Dieselgate, between right-thinking customers and magnanimous conglomerate that continues to distinguish the Golf as a breed apart.

All-in-all the facelifted Golf remains at the head of the pack – and by doing so keeping the Ford Focus, Seat Leon, Audi A3 Sportback and Honda Civic at arms length.

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