2020 Volkswagen Golf: prices, specifications and engine details

The eighth generation of VW Golf arrives in 2020. But is it worth waiting for? Keep reading for specifications, engine and release date info

Simon Ostler Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Sep 18, 2020

The launch of a new Volkswagen Golf is always a big deal. For more than four decades the Golf has been the family hatchback of choice for millions of motorists, and it remains one of the best-selling cars in the UK, maintaining its popularity even as the rise of the SUV continues to engulf the car market.

It would appear that VW is happy with the tried and tested formula for its leading hatchback, with nothing of much importance appearing to have changed other than a relatively comprehensive aesthetic overhaul.

While it might look like a subtle evolution of the previous model, the new Golf Mk8 actually represents the most significant leap forward since the launch of the first model in 1974. The introduction of hybrid power for the first time, along with a host of up-to-date tech inside ensures this is an entirely new version of the tried and tested Golf formula.

Quick facts

  • All-new eight-generation Golf hatchback
  • Slightly larger than its predecessor
  • Plenty of standard tech included
  • Two hybrids, but no electric model
  • Prices from £23,875
  • Due for release April 2020

Sensibly, Volkswagen hasn’t messed with the styling too much. The Golf is one of the most recognisable cars on the planet, so changing it would be a huge mistake. Still, if you have been stuck in a jungle for the past 45 years, Volkswagen has helpfully spelt out the model name on the boot lid.

2020 VW Golf models and prices

One place where Volkswagen has rung the changes is with the new Golf Mk8's model naming system. Gone are the days of S, SE, Match and alike, we now have two new trim levels named Life and Style along with the returning R-Line, we will see the GTI return in 2021, though.

Life models are the entry-level at launch, with prices starting from £23,875, but the majority of the new Golf's tech list comes straight in on this car, so you won't be missing out on much by going for this model.

You get body-coloured everything (almost) on the outside, from the bumpers to the door handles and wing mirrors. You also get fancy light-up door handles, self-levelling LED headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels and a spoiler at the back. While on the inside you get smatterings of chrome trim, an adjustable steering wheel, ambient lighting, climate control and full smartphone connectivity including Android Auto and Apple Carplay via a 10-inch touchscreen.

In terms of safety, the Golf Mk8 comes with three Isofix points - passenger seat and outward rear seats - while convenience features such as adaptive cruise control and parking sensors are also present.

Taking up a position in the middle of the new range, Style trim is available from £25,470. For that, you get slightly larger 17-inch alloy wheels, some chrome trim around the windows and headlights, and clever LED headlights with a special cornering function and an additional poor weather setting. Inside you get three-zone air-conditioning with a pollen filter and up to 30 colours to choose from for your ambient lighting - you only get a choice of 10 colours with Life trim. There's also high beam assist here, but the additional £1,595 seems difficult to justify on equipment alone.

The final tier on the Golf Mk8 cake as it stands is R-Line trim. Starting from £26,140, you're getting a sportier feel here without gaining much in the way of actual performance. Exterior styling tweaks include chrome exhaust surrounds - these are for appearance only and aren't actually connected to anything - more aggressive bodywork around the front and rear bumpers and tinted rear windows. You also get R-Line specific 17-inch alloy wheels on lowered suspension. Inside you get some small details to make this model feel more spectacular, there's moody black roof lining and stainless steel pedals, but the most exciting bit here for us is the inclusion of a heated steering wheel.

A brand new Golf GTI (pictured in red) is expected to go on sale at some point soon, with greater performance on offer from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 245hp. Initial impressions point towards sharper handling, while the comfort of the standard models has been maintained. For an idea of speed, 0-62mph is expected to take less than seven seconds, while top speed is 155mph. GTD and GTE variants will also be released at a later date, but details on these are scarce for now.

2020 VW Golf engines

In terms of engines, there's a new range, but choices much the same as what has come before in many respects. There are three petrol options, and two diesels.

Petrol power comes from 1.5-litre engines, badged TSI, producing 130hp and 150hp, while a third option is a mild-hybrid, badged eTSI, also producing 150hp. The least powerful option comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and can manage a combined fuel consumption of 52.6mpg (WLTP) and CO2 emissions of 122g/km (WLTP). In terms of performance, it will see you accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds, and eventually reach 133mph.

Next up is the 150hp variant, available with the same manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic. The extra power has little effect on efficiency though, managing 51.4mpg and producing 125g/km while performance is slightly improved, with 0-62mph taking 8.5 seconds, and a top speed of 140mph.

The mild-hybrid option is the most expensive thanks to its clever tech, but it's efficiency is much stronger at low speeds, but hindered at higher speeds, meaning average consumption is a slightly disappointing 49.2mpg, while combined emissions are also up at 130g/km.

If diesel is more your style, you get a choice of 2.0-litre variants, one producing 115hp, the other 150hp. As you'd expect, this is where the Golf's efficiency buffs will be leaning, with the lesser-powered option promising 68.8mpg combined and just 108g/km of CO2. It is slowest of all though, with 0-62mph taking 10.2 seconds and a top speed of just 125mph.

The more powerful diesel has not had its WLTP figures released yet, but expect it to offer similar levels of efficiency.

2020 VW Golf technology

We won’t get our hands on the new Volkswagen Golf until April 2020, but it should be worth the wait. If you’re something of a technology nut, you’re likely to be more excited than a seven-year old on Christmas morning. A 10-inch central touchscreen is available as standard across the range, along with a customisable dashboard display as seen in the Touareg SUV.

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also fitted as standard, while most of the traditional switches have been replaced by touch-sensitive surfaces. It’s a controversial move - since having to prod a screen rather than feel for a physical button can be distracting when driving - but if you’ve grown up with smartphones and tablets, you’ll feel right at home in the new Golf.

In addition to the screens, the Golf is also packing bright LED headlights, climate control, keyless start, lane assist and 'Car2X' connectivity.

If you’re not familiar with Car2X, it allows the Golf to connect to other enabled cars and traffic infrastructure which can warn drivers of delays, congestion, hazards and even the proximity of an emergency vehicle. Amazon Alexa is another standard feature, while audio lovers will welcome the optional Harman Kardon premium sound upgrade.

There’s more. We haven’t even mentioned We Deliver – a service that allows delivery drivers to unlock the boot to drop off parcels in the car. How useful this will be at the Golf Mk8's initial launch remains to be seen, but rest assured, the new Golf has more clever tech than an episode of The Gadget Show.

2020 VW Golf dimensions

The new Golf is slightly longer, taller and wider than the outgoing model, but without access to a tape measure, you’re unlikely to notice. This means that the Golf should be a doddle to thread through a narrow street and to park in the office car park. Tick the right options box and it’ll even park itself.

There will be enough room for you and four of your mates – even if you happen to be friends with Peter Crouch – while the boot should be large enough to swallow everything you could need for a weekend at an Airbnb in the country; perfect if many Golfs end up being used by car-sharing services, as has been the case with the current car.

Engines? Well, you'll be spoilt for choice, but don’t expect to see an electric Golf, because zero-emission driving is reserved for the ID.3 electric car. There will be two plug-in hybrid versions, however, so it might be possible to complete your daily commute without using any fuel, depending on how far you have to drive.

VW says its petrol and diesel engines are 17% more economical, which in real terms should mean fewer visits to the filling station and more money in your pocket.

You’ll also have less driving to do, because a semi-autonomous function will allow the Golf to accelerate, steer and brake on motorways at speeds of up to 130mph. You’ll have to visit the autobahns of Volkswagen’s homeland to do that legally, mind.

You may also be pleased to know that sporty GTI, GTD and Golf R versions are also expected to follow later. Given previous experience, they are likely to set the benchmark for the best everyday hot hatchbacks you can buy, although we're hopefully the excitement of earlier Golfs will be re-discovered after the relatively sensible offerings of the past generation.

The standard VW Golf Mk8 range will kick off with the entry-level S, with SE, SE L and R-Line variants also available. It’ll only be available as a five-door model – the three-door Golf is no more – but an estate version to tempt you away from a family SUV will be introduced as well.

Demand will almost certainly be high, so be sure to check the BuyaCar website for the best pre-registered deals and to jump the inevitable queues with the best deals on cars in stock.

Used VW Golf

It speaks volumes that, even after six years on sale, the outgoing Volkswagen Golf Mk7 is still the best family hatchback on the market. It ticks all the right boxes for many drivers: it's well built, comfortable, safe, cheap to run and spacious. There’s also a Golf to suit all tastes, from super-efficient diesels to hardcore performance hot hatchbacks.

Little wonder, then, that more than 50,000 Golfs have been registered so far this year, making it the UK’s second best-selling car behind the Ford Fiesta. There are also some great value used VW Golf finance deals. One big plus point is with so many new Golfs sold, there are tonnes of good quality nearly new and used models to choose from.

Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed the prices of the new Golf, but given the improved tech and efficiency, a small increase is likely. In the meantime, Volkswagen dealers will be keen to shift stock of the outgoing model, so there’s never been a better time to buy one of the seventh-generation outgoing Golf models.

If you fancy your own, there are hundreds of Volkswagen Golfs for sale on BuyaCar, with prices starting from around £8,000 or £130 a month on PCP finance. Time for a round of Golf?


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