2018 Volkswagen Golf Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Nov 14, 2016
  • Subtle styling and detailing updates, inside and out
  • New turbocharged, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • Stronger performance for Golf GTI
  • New 7-speed DSG replaces 6-speed version
  • New driver-assistance and safety technologies
  • Upgraded family of infotainment systems
  • Available semi-autonomous driving aids


2018 Volkswagen Golf family photo


Volkswagen is freshening its Golf lineup for the 2018 model year, improving the car’s efficiency, performance, and technologies. As this preview is written, the new 2018 Golf will be offered in hatchback, GTI, and SportWagen variants. Expect the Alltrack and Golf R to continue, too.

The automaker has released details for the European-specification models, so certain details could change for U.S.-spec vehicles.

Exterior Features

To signal the updates to the 2018 Volkswagen Golf, the car receives subtle exterior styling changes, new lighting elements, and revised wheel designs. The grille, front fenders, and front and rear bumpers are different, and new paint colors are available. Notably, the radar unit powering selected driver-assistance systems is now hidden behind the VW logo on the grille.


2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI interior photo Interior FeaturesInside, updates to the trim and upholstery aim to give the new Golf a more premium look and feel. A family of new infotainment systems debuts, as well as optional digital instrumentation.

Optional Features

In addition to available LED headlights, the new Golf will provide the ability for two different vehicle keys to be programmed with two different driver settings. This will allow households in which two drivers share the Golf to tailor the vehicle to specific preferences.

Under the Hood

Volkswagen has confirmed a new turbocharged, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine for the 2018 Golf, one making an estimated 148 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine will include Active Cylinder Management technology that will allow it to operate on fewer cylinders under low-load driving conditions, helping to conserve fuel.

The Golf GTI benefits from a power boost. In standard tune, the GTI will make an estimated 225 horsepower. With the Performance package output rises to 240 horsepower.

A new 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) is also on the way, replacing the current 6-speed DSG automated manual transmission.


In addition to adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, the 2018 VW Golf will be available with a new pedestrian-detection function. Emergency-assist technology identifies an unresponsive driver and brings the car to a halt, and the Car-Net subscription services system will offer a Security & Service package containing automatic collision notification, emergency calling, and safe teen driving functions related to speed, boundary, and car location reporting.


2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI rear quarter left photo TechnologyWith the 2018 Golf, Volkswagen introduces a new family of infotainment systems featuring larger display screens and increased functionality.

Standard equipment includes a 6.5-in. touch-screen display. A larger 8.0-in. display is available, and can be further fitted with navigation and a Wi-Fi hotspot. With those upgrades the screen switches to a flush, glass surface similar to a smartphone or tablet computer.

Top versions have a 9.2-in. flush-glass display with proximity-sensing and gesture-control capability. Additionally, users can operate the system by voice commands, and the system’s Home screen can be programmed to specific preferences. This infotainment system also eliminates knobs and buttons, reducing clutter but also potentially increasing user interface problems.

The top-of-the-line infotainment system also supplies 2 USB ports, 2 SD card slots, a 10GB solid-state drive, and a jukebox music track-storage function. A new Media Control app allows passengers to control infotainment functions using a smartphone or tablet that is connected to the onboard Wi-Fi hotspot.

Volkswagen will also offer an Active Info Display as an option, which is similar to Audi Virtual Cockpit technology. A 12.3-in. color display replaces the traditional instrumentation, providing the driver greater control over what is communicated, and how.

A next-generation version of Park Assist semi-autonomous parking technology will also be available for the Golf, and Traffic Jam Assist provides partial autonomous driving at lower speeds and in congested traffic situations.

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