The new Volkswagen Golf mark VII is upon us and, predictably, Volkswagen has stuck to the mantra “if it ain't broke, don't fix it”.
The most obvious changes include the headlights, which are now rectangular rather than circular, and its slightly larger stature. This version is 56mm longer and 13mm wider than the outgoing model, and the front wheels are now 43mm further forward, increasing the wheelbase by 59mm.
Interior tweaks are also rather conservative. The larger body allows for more rear leg room and more elbow room all round. The boot gains an extra 30 litres of space, bringing the total to 380 litres.
This isn't just an old dog with slightly updated tricks, though. Improvements in drag co-efficiency mean it cuts through the air ten per cent better than before. This, coupled with weight saving to the tune of 100kg (bringing the total heft down to 1,251kg) make the new Golf 23 per cent more fuel efficient.
Inside there's plenty of technological wizardry to sink your teeth into. On the dash, VW has mounted a choice of 5.8-inch or 8-inch touchscreens, DAB digital radio, AUX inputs so you can connect your iPod and Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect your phone. You even get a phone holder with an inductive aerial in the centre armrest. This strengthens your phone signal, improving reception and reducing battery consumption caused by your phone desperately trying to locate a signal.
The new Golf gets an electronic parking brake with auto-hold so you don't roll back during hill starts, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control on the SE model and above. This radar-reliant feature keeps you a set distance from the car in front, automatically adjusting your speed in the process.
A host of safety features have been implemented to help keep you and the new Golf in one piece. The car's braking system will automatically tighten your seatbelt, close the windows and sunroof and apply the brakes if you've had, or are about to have, an impact while travelling at anything up to 93mph. Like the latest Ford Focus, the new Golf will feature Lane Assist, which actively steers the car to keep you in your lane.
The new Golf will be available with a range of diesel and petrol engines, all of which boast start-stop technology. These include a 140PS (138BHP) 1.4 TSI, which achieves 58.9mpg, and a 2.0-litre 150PS (148BHP) diesel that gets 68.9mpg.
VW say the new Golf will go on sale from October with the first deliveries arriving at the start of 2013.