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2024 Volkswagen Golf 8.5 facelift revealed, confirmed for Australia: Tweaked styling, an updated hybrid system, and upgraded software highlight changes for the brand's key Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 rival

Volkswagen has revealed its updated Golf, set to arrive in Australia late 2024 or early 2025.

Volkswagen has revealed its updated Golf, celebrating the nameplate’s 50th anniversary. The new car is a mild update over the previous landmark eighth-generation version, including a tweaked design, new software, and a significantly upgraded PHEV variant.

Up front some of the new Golf’s design touches include reprofiled LED headlight clusters, new ‘IQ.LIGHT’ matrix headlights on high grades, a slight reshape to the lower bumper and an illuminated VW logo front and centre. There are also slightly redesigned rear LED light clusters and a selection of new aerodynamically styled wheels across the range.

Inside, there are some larger changes, including a new larger 10.4- or a 12.9-inch multimedia touchscreen with an updated software suite. Interestingly, the brand continues to dump the haptic-feedback multi-function steering wheel from higher-grade variants, reverting to a standard array of physical buttons as it has already done with the Polo and T-Roc.

The brand says it has also integrated ChatGPT into the car’s voice assistant software. It also includes a new ‘Park Assist Plus’ feature. This means the car can detect whether a kerbside parking spot is large enough for it to fit into, and can automatically park itself. A ‘Pro’ version of this technology allows owners to remotely park or remotely drive the car out of a parking space using only their phone.

Some of the biggest news, at least for international markets, is a reworked version of the plug-in hybrid Golf variants which have not yet made it to Australia. The new PHEV has an extended range, now up to 100km according to the WLTP standard (up from the previous version’s 62km), with a combined range in excess of 1000km. To support its longer range, the PHEV is now also capable of charging at fast DC speeds at a max rate of a claimed 50kW.

The plug-in hybrid Golf will continue to be offered in both standard eHybrid and sporty GTE variants for this update, at least in international markets.

Internationally, a familiar range of variants will persist, starting with the base Golf and working up through the Life, Style, R-Line, GTI, and GTE. The updated Golf R will be revealed in the second half of 2024.

Speaking to CarsGuide, a Volkswagen Australia representative confirmed the new Golf would be headed to Australia - with production for our market starting in Q4 of 2024. They would not be drawn on what the local line-up of variants would look like yet, but confirmed the wagon version would not return to Australia for this update.

2024 will see a station wagon extinction for Volkswagen in Australia - with the Passat and Arteon wagons also reaching the end of their tenure. VW’s representative said there was enough supply of the Passat and Arteon to last until mid-2024, meanwhile the remaining Golf wagons are pretty much all spoken for.

The new ‘Park Assist Plus’ feature allows the car can detect whether a kerbside parking spot is large enough for it to fit into, and can automatically park itself.

Volkswagen finished 2023 in a fairly even spot to where it was in 2022, although it has had ongoing delays in bringing its range of ID electric vehicles to Australia.

The Golf specifically was up 11.4 per cent in a tough market, despite higher prices for the current Mk8 iteration. It remains leagues behind the segment-leaders which include the Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla, and Mazda 3. It outperformed the small car segment (under $40k) which dropped some 14.9 per cent, although the Golf and many of its contemporaries (like the Honda Civic and Peugeot 308) have now pushed up into the over-$40,000 sales bracket, which saw an expansion of 44.8 per cent year-on-year. In this price bracket, the Golf came second only to the Subaru WRX but has near-even sales with its premium Audi A3 relation as well as the new MG4 electric hatchback.

2024 looks to be a massive year for Volkswagen, in which its range of electric vehicles finally arrives alongside some major upgrades to the likes of the Tiguan, Touareg, and Multivan.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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