Sharing the same MQB (Modulare Querbaukasten) platform as its Audi A3 and SEAT Leon cousins, it is almost identical in its dimensions. Measuring 4,255 mm in length, it is 56 mm longer than the model it replaces, and 13 mm wider, at 1,799 mm. More interior space is also found thanks to the 59 mm longer wheelbase of 2,637 mm. At 380 litres, the boot space capacity has been stretched by 30 litres larger and, with the front passenger seat folded flat, a load of up to 2,412 mm long can be carried. All in a car that weighs 100 kg less than the outgoing version.
Initially, there will be two petrol and two diesel engines available: a 63 kW (86 hp) 1.2-litre TSI which consumes 4.9 litres every 100 kilometres and a 103 kW (138 hp) 1.4-litre TSI unit with ACT (Active Cylinder Technology), which deactivates two of the engine’s cylinders at low load. Amazingly, that technology means that the more powerful engine is capable of returning a figure of just 4.8 l/100 km. Diesel fans will be catered for with a super-frugal 77 kW (104 hp) 1.6 TDI that needs 3.8 l/100 km (BlueMotion: 3.2l/100 km) and a meatier 2.0 TDI that churns out 110 kW (148 hp) and gets through 4.1 l/100 km. All models feature a Stop/Start function and battery regeneration system, while transmission options include a five- and six-speed manual and six- and seven-speed DSG gearbox.
Visually, it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution, with redesigned headlights with LED daytime running lights, a narrower radiator grille, more prominent wheel arches and a stronger shoulder line. At the rear, the Golf 7 is exceptionally clean-looking, thanks to the window stretching all the way to the C-pillars, the light clusters that narrow towards the VW emblem and the optical illusion brought about by the body-coloured lower bumper section. The styling reminds us of the current Golf GTI’s, which bodes well for when the hotter models arrive on the scene.
Moving inside, all entry-level Trendline and Comfortline cars get a new infotainment system operated via the five-inch touchscreen, while the Highline models feature a navigation system which has a ‘Discover Pro’ radio-navigation system with a hand gesture-operated eight-inch touchscreen. The centre console is now angled towards the driver and features a universal phone holder with inductive aerial and electronic parking brake rather than a mechanical handle.
Standard equipment of note includes the multi-collision brake system, which automatically brakes following an accident to reduce kinetic energy and the PreCrash system that pre-tensions the seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof if it senses that an accident may be imminent. The Adaptive Cruise Control, which is standard on the pricier models, uses radar sensors to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front, but also incorporates the brilliant City Emergency Braking system. Automatically active at speeds up to 19 mph (29 km/h), the device detects potential collisions and can apply the brakes automatically. Finally, the Driver Alert System monitors the driver for signs of fatigue, while the Lane Assist system uses a camera to keep the car in its lane, providing countersteering if necessary.