Evolution of the Volkswagen Golf interior

The Volkswagen Golf is certainly one of those cars that deserves legendary status. First launched in 1974, it was designed by the renowned Giorgetto Giugiaro and quickly became the exemplar of the hatchback vehicle. Over 35 million VW Golfs have been sold since its release, making it one of the most popular family cars in history.

Why is it so popular? To put it simply, the Volkswagen Golf is a good all-rounder – it’s comfortable, attractive and boasts a wide range of engine options. Even though it’s been on the motor scene for almost half a century, it hasn’t changed drastically – rather, it’s evolved to meet modern requirements whilst retaining its original charm.

With the eighth generation of the Volkswagen Golf being released for 2020, we thought we’d take a look back at its evolution – specifically in relation to its interior.

With us all recently spending more time in our own interior spaces under lockdown, it felt like a natural time to think about how our cars are, in a way, an extension of our homes – private spaces where we feel comfortable and safe. This is the first blog post as part of our series about the evolution of car interiors.

Volkswagen Golf Mk1

Regarded as the Beetle’s successor, the Volkswagen Golf (the Mk1 model) launched in 1974, followed by the Mk2 model in 1983. Whilst the Beetle’s interior (and exterior) features were more rounded and curvaceous, the Mk1 Golf boasted an angular look and feel. This nostalgic styling is just one of the things that makes the Mk1 model an iconic collector’s piece for motor enthusiasts (and certainly hard to come by).

Volkswagen Golf Mk2

By 1983, the Mk2 model arrived on the scene – a larger and more aerodynamic version of the Mk1. The interior was more spacious and refined, with slightly more rounded features than its predecessor. Technical introductions included power steering and an anti-lock braking system.

As Volkswagen said at the time: ‘…continuity in the concept, progress in detail and quality’.

Volkswagen Golf Mk3

1991 saw the release of the Mk3 – a more powerful, sleeker model that introduced a cruise control system and airbags (at a later date). Although the wheelbase remained unchanged, the car grew in size and adopted a new wedge-shaped form, greatly improving its aerodynamics. 4.83 million units were sold in total until it was replaced in 1998. 

Volkswagen Golf Mk4

In 1997, the Mk4 model replaced the Mk3 and brought about a steeper rear and longer roof, which further increased the interior space. The Mk4 could be considered a milestone model, partly due to it being the first Golf to welcome 4MOTION and partly due to its prominence when the Golf became the most-built Volkswagen in 2002. Its popularity has kept it in production in several countries to this date.

Volkswagen Golf Mk5

Aside from new technical introductions like four-link rear suspension, a rain sensor and panoramic sunroof, the 2006-2009 Mk5 edition boasted a sportier look and feel. Both the exterior and interior became more contoured and athletic, giving the Golf a new lease of life. To add to its sporty appeal, later models of the Mk5 welcomed a 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine with front-wheel drive.

Volkswagen Golf Mk6

The Mk6 (2008-2012) took the best technical features from the Mk5 and brought back the interior trim quality from the Mk4 due to demand. This model was also largely recognised for its new safety features, including ParkAssist, the start/stop system and automatic main beam control Light Assist.

Volkswagen Golf Mk7

Replacing the Mk6 in 2012, the Mk7 welcomed a whole new body structure and aesthetic thanks to its basis on the modular transverse kit. Although slightly larger in size, the updated aerodynamic body actually made it considerably lighter. Inside, a new digital dashboard display brought a touch of luxury to an otherwise compact-class vehicle.

Volkswagen Golf Mk8

As the latest 2020 edition of the Volkswagen Golf, the spacious Mk8 model has been redesigned with a focus on enhancing its digital systems. Inside, a touch and voice-activated infotainment system allows for online music streaming and other internet services. The entry-level Life trim boasts automatic LED headlights and keyless start, whilst the Style trim features sleek wooden inserts and upgraded upholstery. Rear-seat passengers also benefit from additional space with the Mk8.


Which is your favourite Volkswagen Golf interior? Let us know on Twitter.

Liked this blog post? Discover how the Volkswagen Polo has evolved since its launch.

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