We get behind the wheel of the cheapest (and slowest) Mk8 Golf on sale. Does it pack more of a punch than you’d expect?
Quite simply, the cheapest Volkswagen Golf you’ll find on the UK price list. Yes, we thought after the recent deluge of high-end Mk8 Golf models (the GTI, the R, the GTD and so on) it’s time to bring things back down to earth a bit more. So how much Wolfsburg family hatchback does a smidgen over £23,000 get you these days? Well, you’ll likely be pleased to hear, the days of entry-level motoring have come on quite a distance in the past decade alone, when the cheapest engine and trim options were often found languishing firmly in the ‘one to avoid’ category. Then again, it was possible to get a Golf for under £14k a decade ago, so perhaps that’s to be expected. A Golf in entry-level Life trim starts at a full £3500 more than the cheapest version of its platform-sharing sibling, the Seat Leon, while the other prong of the MQB love triangle, the Skoda Octavia, is about £3000 less. A false economy? Actually, no, because the Golf’s kit tally is remarkably extensive for a ‘boggo’ variant – a bit more so than its Spanish and Czech relations. As with those cars, you get a dual-screen layout with digital instruments, but the base central touchscreen is 10.0in (the base Leon’s is 8.25in). You also get multi-colour ambient lighting – there are even puddle lights in the mirrors – adaptive cruise control, automatic LED lights all round with coming-and-leaving-home lighting, lumbar adjustment and keyless start. Indeed, the only real indication that this is the lowest rung in the ladder are the 16in wheels, which look more than a little lost in the Golf’s arches these days. Life trim can be had with a bunch of four-cylinder petrols and diesels. But, sticking to the penny-pinching vibe, we’ve got the 1.0-litre triple here, in base manual, 108bhp form.