It’s hard to believe that the eighth generation Volkswagen Golf is already three years old. That’s right, and that means a mid-cycle refresh for the durable hatchback is just around the corner. Technically speaking, the images here represent our first look at what’s to come but there’s nothing to see outside. That’s because it’s a test mule putting new interior technologies to the test.
Our spy photographers have managed to see up close, and the changes are evident. In the center of the dashboard is a much larger touchscreen, which extends outwards and upwards by quite a margin. It’s not a total change from the current model, as the new touchscreen inhabits the same mounting location. But while the current display has an integrated presence with the dash and driver’s display, this one is big and in charge. it also looks like a new set of buttons will be used on a slanted base at the bottom of the screen. At this point, it’s unclear if they’re touch or analog.
Interestingly, a common criticism of the current Golf is its touchscreen. Specifically, there are no analog controls to operate the radio and climate control system, and adjusting them by touch can be tricky. We encountered this firsthand during our first GTI driving review, noting that doing something as simple as adjusting the radio volume could be tricky on a rough road. The layout also leaves no place to rest your hand while trying to use the screen. With this test mule having a larger screen with a slanted base, VW could solve that problem.
What else can we expect from the updated Golf? It’s still a mystery, because this test car has not undergone any changes to the exterior. Volkswagen is exceptionally clever with stickers that hide the changes in plain sight, but upon close examination of these photos, the new touchscreen is the only thing that stands out.
When more prototypes hit the streets, we wouldn’t be surprised to see minor tweaks to the headlights and grille, adopting a style similar to the ID.4. A proper reveal is likely several months away, potentially stretching into late 2023.