We Compare The 2020 VW Golf Mk8 To The Outgoing Golf Mk7

Looking back at the Mk7 Golf, there’s no denying the fact that VW did everything they could in order to ensure that no other non-premium compact hatchback would out-perform it as a general package.

It was lighter, safer, more comfortable and more fuel efficient than any of its predecessors, and even compared to its rivals it often stood tall as one of the best models in its segment, if not the best.

Also read: 2020 VW Golf – Here Are All The Details, From Design To Engines And Tech, Plus 88 Images

There is however an argument to be made that the differences between the Mk7 Golf and the Mk6 or even the Mk5 are not as massive as the ones between the Mk7 and the all-new 2020 eighth-generation Golf, a car that’s here to herald C-segment buyers into the digital age.

Once a Golf, always a Golf?

Yes, it’s true that the design of the Mk8 is by no means revolutionary. However, it’s not a simple reshuffling of curves and lines as with the previous two generation models either. Compared to its predecessor, the new Golf looks sharper, and the styling of the front end has finally been completely revamped.

Overall, it’s clean and modern, as if to announce to the world that the Golf is finally ready for an electrified and digitized future, which it definitely is, given the specs.

Before we get into all that, let’s discuss measurements. While VW has yet to disclose trunk volume, or performance and economy figures, we do know that the Golf is now 4,284 mm (168.6 inches) long, 1,789 mm (70.4 inches) wide and 1,456 mm (57.3 inches) tall, with a wheelbase of 2,636 mm (103.7 inches). The Mk7 meanwhile has a length of 4,258 mm (167.6 inches), is 1,790 mm (70.4 inches) wide, stands 1,492 mm (58.7 inches) tall and its wheelbase measures 2,620 mm (103.1 inches).

Meet the Innovision Cockpit

All exterior differences aside, what’s blatantly obvious about the all-new Golf is that it features a considerably more modern interior than the previous-gen model.

Even visually, you get the dual-level dashboard design, top-mounted driver oriented displays (more ergonomic), subtle air vents, ambient lighting, way fewer physical buttons and a new steering wheel. If you’re still not impressed, consider the features you can select for your brand new Golf: windshield-projected head up display, Car2X connectivity, an interface to charge your smartphone, and loads more.

Even on the tech, safety and driver assistance fronts, while the Mk7 came with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistant, driver fatigue detection, Multi-Collision Brake, Front Assist and quite a few other goodies, they still can’t hold a candle to what VW jammed inside the Mk8: Travel Assist, IQ Light LED matrix headlights, ACC with predictive speed detection, Front Assist, Oncoming vehicle braking when turning, Lane Assist Lane-Keeping, Predictive Pedestrian Protection and of course the previously-mentioned Car2X tech which allows the new Golf to connect to its environment.

Performance should be better too

Like we said before, VW has not disclosed any straight line performance or fuel efficiency figures just yet, but the fact that the Mk8 will be available with no fewer than five hybrid versions speaks volumes about what the German carmaker has planned for this segment.

Of course, there are still turbocharged gasoline and diesel units available, with outputs ranging from 90 PS (88 HP) to 300 PS (295 HP). It’s clear that diesel power is still important to VW, which is why they developed the new Golf’s 2.0-liter TDI units from scratch, and are planning a performance-oriented GTD version as well.

In the end, while the 2020 Golf isn’t available (yet) with a fully electric powertrain, its semi-autonomous, connected and hybrid status should be sufficient so as to win most people over. And if you want a fully-electric compact-sized Volkswagen, you can just get an ID.3 – although, this separation might prove problematic in the future if direct Golf rivals go fully-electric.


  • Bob

    I hate VWs

    • Six_Tymes

      tell us how you really feel… lol

      • Bob

        There I said it. lol

  • Shtekeris

    Current one still looks quite alright, interior as well. Maybe we can get this gen for a discount now?

  • MarkoS

    If I didn’t know I would have a hard time telling which one is new. The MK8 looks hurried and unfinished and while the interior maybe more modern, the materials look cheaper. Yet another lost opportunity for VW.

  • carlbolt

    It’s a hard choice between these two, especially if there is $5000 price difference.

    • Mill0048

      As I’m not a potential buyer, I agree with your first statement. If I were to be cross-shopping, the prior gen is fantastic enough to save the dough.

  • Dredd2
    • Toronado_II

      A lot better ! The headlights change everything.

    • Matt

      That rendering sucks, sorry.

    • Arct1c

      What’re you a fifth grader? “OMG LIKE THIS COMMENT IF YOU THINK….” stfu.

      • Dredd2

        why are u crying like a 5 yr old little girl? dont you have a better thing in your sad life? ???? how cringe….

        • Arct1c

          “how cringe” lmao.

  • LJ

    Why even bother with the faux chrome exhaust outlets that are filled in with black plastic? You can see the real downturned exhaust tips behind the bumper.

    This is most egregious on Audis. You pay $80K+ for fake exhaust outlets.

  • Bash

    Huge step up. I love it.

  • erly5

    An unsurprisingly subtle refresh on the outside with a much more modern interior. Will still be super-successful but would have been nice if VW had been a bit more daring with the exterior design to differentiate it further from the Mk7.

  • Bo Hanan

    Did we even get the last generation in the USA? I mean this damn things gets replaced so often that it’s hard to keep up. Or, maybe I saw one and thought it was an A3.

  • Matteo Tommasi

    We can now say that it’s an update, not a new model. All the roofline, windows, doors are the same. The hood shutline is the same.

  • Craig

    Can you imagine how nice the Dodge Omni would have been by now IF Chrysler improved it year after year like VW has tried to do with the Golf?

    • DGC

      That would be the Peugeot 308…. Peugeot bought Chrysler Europe in the early 1980s….

      • designer_dick

        1978, for $1.

      • Craig

        The Omni lasted until 1990.

  • Interior’s a definite upgrade. Exterior though may be the worst since MK4.

    • Seats & a steering wheel

      MK4 was the BEST of the lot and the most revolutionary Golf design that set new standards in that class. Mk4 R32 is undoubtably the best of that breed.

  • KRogers86

    I like the exterior. However, I think the interior of the Mk7 still exudes a more upscale presence than the new model. Little things, like the small silver trim pieces around the switch gear and buttons on the center console go a long way to add more design flair and exemplify the fit and finish that VW interiors have been known for. In my Alltrack, I am deeply impressed with the very narrow gap tolerances between all of the trim pieces, buttons, and panels because they show a high level of attention to detail and quality. Looking at the lower half of the MK8 interior, however, doesn’t show any of that. There very little contrasting accent/trim pieces, mostly everything is black plastic, and the door cards have a very plain design — the door card with the vertical pull handle of the MK7 looks more premium, IMO.

    I also prefer the closed cubby of the Mk7 interior over the open bin of the MK8.

    I also really hate that high, hard-plastic wall on the passenger side of the center console.

    I’m glad they’ve at least retained the carpeted door pockets, though.

  • Seats & a steering wheel

    Looks like a facelift to front fascia rather than a new model.

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