So many toys and gadgets as standard, but there are plenty of options worth the extra too
Volkswagen has one of the best compact cars around with the Golf – our sister title Auto Express loved it’s high quality build, refined drive, and its efficient diesel and petrol engines. You can read the full Auto Express VW Golf review to find out about handling, performance and reliability, but what if your mind is already made up, and you just want to know whether the optional extras are worth paying for?
That’s where Expert Reviews can help. We’ve put the Golf GT through its paces, not on the track but inside the cabin, to see whether the upgraded infotainment system, parking assist package and uprated air conditioning system are extras you should buy.
VW includes an impressive number of features and equipment as standard on the Golf GT, meaning you may not need to spend more on extras at all. Beyond an excellent set of standard trim inserts, interior lighting, air conditioning and electric windows, included in the base package is a multi-function trip computer with 3.5in display, start/stop function for city driving, adaptive cruise control and a 5.8in colour touchscreen centre console.
The Discover Nav infotainment system includes 2D and 2.5D map navigation for Europe, DAB radio, a CD drive that supports MP3 and WMA files, two SD cards, USB and auxiliary inputs and four 20w speakers. The Auxiliary and USB inputs need a connection cable, however, which isn’t included as standard. Bluetooth is also onboard for connecting a smartphone.
Multi-function trip computer
Nestling in between the speedometer and rev counter, the multi-function trip computer has a 3.5in black and white display. It’s controlled by the buttons on the right side of the steering wheel, and has separate screens or navigation, media, telephone and trip computer, letting you check the currently playing track, next driving direction, fuel consumed or incoming callers at a glance.
If you haven’t tapped in a specific route, the navigation screen shows a compass instead. We would have liked to see the current speed limit displayed here as well, as it is currently only displayed on the main centre console display. You have to pay £135 extra for a colour screen, but the black and white one on our loan car was perfectly legible so we didn’t feel we were missing out.
Engine start/stop function
When driving in traffic, the engine Start/Stop function will cut the engine completely when stationary in order to save fuel and cut down emissions. Lifting your foot off the brake automatically starts the engine and, in the case of the DSG gearbox, pre-selects a gear so you can start moving with minimal delay. It’s quick to start up again when the lights change, having started the engine before we were ready to press down on the accelerator, and environmentally friendly, so there’s no reason to disable it for day-to-day driving.
Adaptive cruise control
Included as standard on the GT trim Golf we drove for this test, Adaptive cruise control is an indispensable tool for frequent motorway driving. It lets you set a desired speed, which the car will match unless it detects another vehicle travelling in front of you at a slower pace. It will automatically dial down the revs and apply the brakes to match the speed of the vehicle in front, before speeding up again once the obstruction is removed.
It’s not designed to replace the driver, as you’ll still need to brake if another car pulls into your lane unexpectedly, but for long distances it works incredibly well – the car leaves plenty of distance between it and the vehicle in front, and reacts in less than two seconds to empty spaces opening up or vehicles closing the gap.