Volkswagen Golf GTE interior, dashboard & comfort
There's a cool design with some nice GTE-specific touches, but the Golf's infotainment system still leaves a lot to be desired
The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf took one of its biggest steps forward over the old car inside its cabin; there's no mistaking it for any Golf that came before. It's not just about looks, however – the new Golf remains one of the better-packaged and well-appointed cars in its class.
Material quality in some places is a bit below what you might expect from Volkswagen, but everything is very well put-together. GTE specification includes some bespoke trim elements that set it apart from other models in the range – black chrome trim, a heated three-spoke sports steering wheel and unique Jacra Blue cloth upholstery, along with an aluminium gear selector.
Volkswagen Golf GTE dashboard
The dashboard is a very modern affair based around a pair of large infotainment screens, with one taking the place of traditional analogue dials. Overall design is slick, but with plenty of thought paid to practicality; a large storage tray sits ahead of the gear selector and there's another next to it for keeping smaller items.
One of the biggest sticking points is a lack of physical heater controls – the touch-sensitive replacements that sit under the main infotainment screen can be a bit fiddly to use on the move. We'd prefer more traditional physical controls, but this is ultimately a small complaint on what's an otherwise well designed dashboard.
Equipment, options & accessories
The GTE comes comprehensively equipped, with highlights including its own design of 17-inch alloys, automatic LED headlights, three-zone climate control, keyless entry with stop-go functionality, heated and foldable door mirrors and a huge array of active safety and driver assistance systems. Ambient interior lighting also features, as does an illuminated grille. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.
Leather upholstery is a £2,100 option that also brings heated and cooled front seats and electric driver's seat adjustment. You can also specify an uprated navigation system with internet connectivity and gesture control for £1,600, curtain airbags for £335 and a digital key – a system that lets you use your phone instead of a traditional fob – for £215.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Put simply, we're not the biggest fans of the new Golf's infotainment system. The 10-inch measurement of the driver's display is slightly misleading, as we find it a little too small to be read easily. The main central screen measures in at 10 inches, but the software can lag from time to time and it's much too easy to get lost within sub-menus.
Those who are more technologically in-tune will have less of an issue with this, but generally the Golf's system lacks the simplicity of some rivals'. The issues above are compounded by the aforementioned touch-sensitive controls – these sit just below the central screen and so are prone to being operated by accident.
In This Review
- 1VerdictIt's a solid, efficient and desirable plug-in hybrid with hot-hatchback power, but the VW Golf GTE still has some flaws
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingImpressive claimed figures will be harder to match in real life, but the VW Golf GTE remains a very efficient car
- 3Running costs & insuranceWhile it will make the most sense for company-car users, the VW Golf GTE will be pricier than some other models in the range for private buyers
- 4Performance, engine & driveWith GTI-like performance despite a little extra weight to carry around, the VW Golf GTE is a solid drive
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingThere's a cool design with some nice GTE-specific touches, but the Golf's infotainment system still leaves a lot to be desired
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityWell packaged and with ample interior space, the VW Golf GTE doesn't suffer much in practicality terms over non-electrified versions
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe VW Golf GTE has stellar safety credentials, but reliability is yet to be proven