At quick glance, there’s little to tell new from old, except for a new horizontal grille and shapely headlamps that help give the front end a more simplified look. But the styling has been totally reworked. It is not until you see it in the flesh and appreciate the various nuances in its sheetmetal–such as the neat crease along the shoulder line and the beveled edges around the new tail lamps–that you really can appreciate the amount of detail VW’s design boss, Walter de’ Silva, has injected into the exterior. As with previous models, this one is a hatchback, and buyers can choose between a three- or five-door layout.
For the past decade, the Golf has established a glowing reputation for quality. And this new model continues that. The interior, although lacking in imagination, is superbly built, with soft-touch plastics and high-quality controls providing it with a truly upmarket feel. Comfort is enhanced by supportive seats, which provide a good range of adjustment, as does the steering wheel. The long list of optional equipment reflects VW’s desire to continue the Golf’s wide appeal with such high-end items as radar-equipped cruise control, a touch-screen navigation system powered by a 30-gig hard drive, an automatic parallel-parking device and a reverse-view camera.