Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

2017 Volkswagen Golf 7.5 Review: First Australian Drive


Good points

  • Much improved value equation
  • Best-in-class infotainment
  • 1.4-litre turbo quick when pushed

Needs work

  • No DAB digital radio offered
  • No manual on the upper trims
  • Driver Assist Pack should be standard on Highline
2017 Volkswagen Golf 7.5 110TSI R-Line Front End Driving – Chasing Cars

How do you improve the best small car on the market? That’s a question Volkswagen have been pondering for some time. Resting on your laurels is dangerous – even for VW, whose seventh-generation Golf continues to wear the accolade of leading hatchback four years after the car’s 2013 launch. Do nothing, and inevitably, your competitors will catch you – and cars like the Hyundai i30 and Holden Astra are now better than ever. Wolfsburg are keenly aware of this: do nothing wasn’t an option. Instead, the response is the most comprehensive mid-life update to a Golf ever – enter the 2017 Volkswagen Golf 7.5.

We had few complaints about the outgoing Golf 7 – and reflecting this, Volkswagen have skipped wholesale changes to the car. They’ve opted for a large number of new refinements that boost the performance, add to the value proposition and modernise the Golf’s technology in order to stave off the attacks from Korea, Japan, and within Europe itself.

2017 Volkswagen Golf 7.5 110TSI Comfortline Side Profile – Chasing Cars

Under the bonnet the Golf’s small but willing 92kW turbo four-cylinder has been jettisoned in favour of a significantly beefier 110kW version, reflecting similar decisions by Hyundai and Holden to meet buyer demand for more power in the hatchback segment. Inside, small, old displays are gone, replaced by big and beautiful glass touchscreens and the option of an Audi-style, 12-inch, fully-digital set of driver dials for the first time ever in this class.

Small omissions have now been corrected, too: at last, autonomous emergency braking is standard across the Golf range. Value is up, especially on the base model, which aside from the more powerful engine and better cabin tech, replaces steel wheels with smart alloys. But prices are up too – more than $1,000 on the base car – and the effect of this will be most felt when Volkswagen’s current driveaway launch specials are no longer in effect.

On the launch of the Mk7.5 Golf in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, we were curious to see how much appeal these new features added, and if anything else about the Golf had changed. We drove it hard on some of the country’s best roads, but also in Melbourne and in a variety of conditions. So, with a slew of new competitors, is the class favourite still the best all-rounder small car? Based on first impressions, we think so.

2017 Volkswagen Golf 7.5 110TSI R-Line Side Profile – Chasing Cars

Key specs (as tested)

1.4 litres
Single turbocharger
110kW between 5,000–6,000rpm
250Nm between 1,500–3,500rpm
Dry double-clutch
Power to weight ratio
87.2kW / tonne
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
50 litres
Average Range
926 kilometres
Front wheel drive
Engine configuration
4.26 metres
1.8 metres
1.45 metres
Unoccupied weight
1,261 kilograms
Cargo space seats up
380 litres
Cargo seats down
1,270 litres

About Chasing cars

Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.

Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.

We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.

Terms and conditions

The estimate provided does not take into account your personal circumstances but is intended to give a general indication of the cost of insurance, in order to obtain a complete quote, please visit www.budgetdirect.com.au. Estimate includes 15%^ online discount.
^Conditions Apply

Budget Direct Insurance arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd ACN 003 617 909(AGS) AFSL 241 411, for and on behalf of the insurer, Auto & General Insurance Company Limited(ABN 42 111 586 353, AFSL 285 571).Because we don’t know your financial needs, we can’t advise you if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision to buy insurance. Terms and conditions apply.

Indicative quote based on assumptions including postcode , 40 year old male with no offences, licence suspensions or claims in the last 5 years, a NCD Rating 1 and no younger drivers listed. White car, driven up to 10,000kms a year, unfinanced, with no modifications, factory options and/or non-standard accessories, private use only and garaged at night.

^Online Discounts Terms & Conditions
1. Discounts apply to the premium paid for a new Budget Direct Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Property Only or Third Party Property, Fire & Theft Insurance policy initiated online on or after 29 March 2017. Discounts do not apply to optional Roadside Assistance.
2. Discounts do not apply to any renewal offer of insurance.
3. Discounts only apply to the insurance portion of the premium. Discounts are applied before government charges, taxes, levies and fees, including instalment processing fees (as applicable). The full extent of discounts may therefore be impacted.
4. We reserve the right to change the offer without notice.