The Volkswagen Golf is a household name here in the UK. Having provided reliable transport to the masses for many decades now, it’s a car which is synonymous with solid build quality and great attention to detail.
Needless to say, it has changed a great deal as the years have passed by. One key area of evolution is the interior, which has brought technical innovations with each new generation of Golf. Let’s take a look and see how it has changed.
The MK1 Volkswagen Golf kicked things off. It’s here where many interior styling traits - such as the golf ball-style gear selector on GTI models - were introduced. However, key to the first Golf’s interior was practicality as well as solid build quality.
By modern standards the MK1’s interior is sparse, but at the time it proved more than luxurious enough for most.
The popular MK1 swiftly evolved into the MK2, though the second-generation car’s interior wasn't exactly a radical departure from its predecessor’s. It kept the low-slung seating position, while the slider controls for heating and ventilation remained within easy reach of the driver.
The clear black and white dials remained too, while the robust plastics ensured that the cabin would stand up to daily use.
The move up to the third-generation Golf brought some marked cabin changes. A prominent head unit was now incorporated into the dashboard, while the heating and ventilation controls switched to turnable switches instead of sliders.
A steering wheel airbag was incorporated too, though the hard-wearing plastics which had been a consistent feature in previous Golf models stayed around.
The fourth-generation Golf was an altogether more grown-up affair and, as a result, its interior was more grown-up too. Many models featured wood inlays for the dashboard, for instance, giving a more premium experience to those sitting in the cabin.
Safety was improved thanks to a suite of new airbags, though the clear black and white dials remained a standout feature.
Technology was a big focus for the fifth-generation Golf, with a new central screen taking up residence in the cabin - something we’d see on all Golf models from now on. More premium materials were used throughout the car’s interior, too, with high-end plastics contrasting rubber-effect materials.
The steering wheel was reshaped, too, but the chunky, user-friendly buttons were back, replacing the smaller ones of the previous-generation Golf.
That focus on technology only grew stronger in the sixth-generation Golf, with a new infotainment setup taking pride of place in the centre of the dashboard. Controlled via a touchscreen, it came alongside other high-end features such as steering wheel-mounted controls.
Quality was pushed up another notch too thanks to better materials and smart-looking satin-finish plastic accents.
When the seventh-generation Golf arrived, it showcased a cabin which was classier and better finished than ever before. The central infotainment screen had grown in size, while vast swathes of metal-coloured trim helped to make the cabin feel brighter than before.
The classic black and white dials managed to stick around for this generation too, though as we’re about to see, even these classic touches were set to be a thing of the past once the next Golf arrived.
And here we are - the present day. The latest eighth-generation Golf debuted a completely different interior to the one which featured in the car before it, bringing a real step-change in the levels of technology offered by this famous model.
The cabin is now dominated by screens - those famous black and white dials have been replaced by a large, clear display. The heating controls have a