Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer announced at the beginning of the year the Golf is scheduled to go through a facelift at some point in 2024. It might just be the final update for the ICE-powered compact hatchback since the company's head honcho has already said the ninth generation will morph into an EV. Although this isn't the first time we're seeing the Golf 8.5 during testing, this is no longer a mule as it has the final production bits.

Surprisingly, VW didn't bother to hide the new headlights, which appear to be slimmer than before. The current Golf is offered with standard and matrix LED headlights and these new ones are likely the fully adaptive setup. They've been installed on a prototype of the eHybrid, a plug-in hybrid version positioned below the GTE electrified hot hatch. It's pretty clear that the front bumper has been redesigned judging by the vertical slats of the lower intake and the area that surrounds it.

2024 Volkswagen Golf facelift spy photos

Moving at the back, there are stickers applied to the taillights to conceal the new LED graphics. The taillight appears to have the same shape as before, while those ghastly fake exhaust tips are sadly still there. With this only being a mid-cycle update, the side profile is virtually unchanged, and with this being a PHEV, there’s a charging port on the front fender on the driver's side.

Images of the interior are not available in this new set, but previous spy shots (attached below) have revealed the 2024 Golf will get a massive touchscreen that seemes bigger than the 12-inch screen you get on the facelifted ID.3. VW has promised to get rid of capacitive-touch buttons on the steering wheel and go back to conventional controls. We can see them here as well.

Volkswagen Golf Facelift (2023) Mule with interior
Volkswagen Golf Facelift (2023) Mule with interior

A "quality offensive" is also planned for VW Group products, but we'll have to wait and see whether that will be applied to facelifted models or only next-gen cars. Also confirmed to arrive in 2024 will be the Golf's Czech sibling, the more spacious Skoda Octavia. Updates for the mechanically related SEAT/Cupra Leon and the fancier Audi A3 Sportback/Sedan are likely not far behind.

It should be noted the days the Golf dominated sales charts in Europe are over. VW's hatch was only fifth in the rankings last year, after the Peugeot 208, Dacia Sandero, T-Roc, and the Fiat/Abarth 500.

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