New 2024 Volkswagen Golf: back to basics for mid-life facelift

The Golf will take a U-turn with interior technology and get a new exterior look

Volkswagen is almost ready to take the wraps off its updated eighth-generation Golf and we can reveal patent images of the car’s rear lights for the first time. The current Golf kicked off a new era of VW styling and technology when it was introduced in 2019, but has seen a mixed response from buyers, mainly due to its interior tech and interfaces – elements we suspect VW will be paying particular attention to on the updated Golf.

The new car is expected to go on sale in early 2024, which will mark 50 years since VW’s iconic hatchback first appeared. We’ll have to wait and see if Volkswagen will also commemorate this anniversary with a special edition variant. 

Previous spy images have given us a good look at the revised design of the new Golf. The front end has received a subtle, but quite substantial update with new headlights and a new lower grille design. The wide-set mouth of the current Golf looks to be narrowed, tapering at its ends, mimicking the look of VW’s updated ID.3. The LED headlights are now even thinner, debuting a more geometric shape with sharper edges and complex inner lenses.

There are fewer changes visible at the rear, but the model we caught testing has a slightly redesigned lower bumper insert, and underneath this prototype’s clever transparent masks we’ll see the rear lighting get the new signature that we’ve found in patent application form. 

Volkswagen’s hoping the changes that customers will appreciate most will reside inside the cabin. The Golf 8 introduced a streamlined new interior design philosophy for Volkswagen, removing nearly all the physical controls and placing them into one of two digital interfaces sat atop the dashboard. Unfortunately, glitchy software, slow response times and complicated menu structures made the Golf 8’s functions significantly more difficult to navigate whilst driving. 

Representatives from Volkswagen have told Auto Express that future models will introduce more physical controls on the back of CEO Thomas Schafer’s focus on fixing the much-derided touch-sensitive controls for volume and cabin temperature that we’ve seen on recent VW models. We’ll also hopefully see faster-responding touchscreens, as well as fixes to some of the hardware issues.

Beyond this, VW is also expected to offer the usual colour and trim updates to keep the Mk8 Golf fresh, while maintaining a similar structure of powertrain options from basic petrol and mild-hybrid models, through to plug-in hybrids and high-performance GTI and R models. Volkswagen will almost certainly offer the updated Golf with diesel engines in overseas markets, but we’ll have to wait and see whether Volkswagen follows many of its contemporaries in ditching diesel power altogether in the UK. 

The next Golf 8 is expected to debut sometime this year, where it will join a revitalised range of petrol-powered models including an all-new Tiguan and Passat, and heavily updated Touareg, giving VW’s non-EV range a much needed boost.

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