The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf debuted in October 2019, and the general consensus is that it’s an improvement over the previous version. The new model has more tech, a broad range of engine options, and a mild hybrid system for better efficiency. It’s still a value-priced machine for European buyers, but did VW cut corners to make that happen?
A video from MtlCarGarage suggests that yes, VW actually cut many corners to effectively cheapen the new Golf versus the outgoing model. To back up that claim, the clip directly compares a Golf 8 against the Golf 7 and the evidence is rather telling. Yes, the new model has some cool tech, but this video highlights some areas that simply look bargain-basement cheap.
It starts with simple items such as the lack of a gas-charged hood strut, covers over door handle locks, and fewer storage compartments inside. The video also mentions hard plastic in the glovebox as opposed to a felt-lined surface, and the Golf 8 no longer has a frameless rearview mirror or a nice cover for the cupholder – items that were present in the Mk7. We don’t know if such things really save the automaker money or if it's just design decisions, but as the screenshots below demonstrate, the result is certainly a general cheapening of the car.
Gallery: VW Golf 8 Versus Golf 7 Comparison Screenshots
From there, the video gets a bit more critical of VW’s tech infusion on the new Golf. The digital instrument cluster isn’t portrayed in a kind manner with its size, shape, and black plastic trim compared to the posh design used in the Golf 7. The lack of tactile knobs and buttons for simple climate control functions is highlighted as well, along with the digital controls for headlights.
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Aside from making simple actions more complicated, the argument here is that putting everything into a touch system is also a cost-cutting measure. In addition, there’s a safety argument made in that the driver cannot operate touch-sensitive controls by feel. To adjust something such as temperature, one must physically look at the temperature level on the infotainment screen instead of intuitively rotating a dial, thus taking your eyes off the road.
Obviously we don’t know specific costs for VW when it comes to things like covers over door locks, or programming digital controls versus analog knobs. The video does make a very strong case for cost-cutting measures, however, not to mention the frustration of making a simple function far more complicated by burying it in an infotainment system.
What’s your take on the digital-versus-analog movement in the auto industry? Digital cockpits certainly look great, but is the added complexity really necessary for simple tasks?