What’s the interior and connectivity like of the 2023 Volkswagen Golf Life Hatch?
The “Comfort and Style package” also adds a nice faux-suede seat trim, as well as custom ambient lighting. The Life spec we tested came equipped with the other option, the “Sound and Vision package”, which costs $1650 and adds a premium Harmon Kardon sound system and heads-up display. While I would personally go for this package due to the improved audio quality, I will admit the panoramic sunroof in the Comfort and Style package makes it a tough decision.
As for the rest of the interior, materials are good throughout, and since we don’t have that aforementioned Comfort and Style pack, we get cloth seats. The seats themselves are comfortable, with multi-way manual adjustment including lumbar support (Life spec), and I actually didn’t mind the cloth material, which has a nice grip to it that holds you in place. The cloth extends to the armrests, including the classic VW centre adjustable armrest design with a large storage inside.
The technology inside the Golf has taken a step up in the Mk-8 version. We get a large 10.25-inch “Digital Cockpit Pro” on the Life spec, which is crystal clear, bright, and offers a clearer layout with a digital speedometer. The “Pro” version, which is an upgrade over the base “Digital Cockpit” allows full customization of the digital instruments.
We also get a 10-inch touch infotainment display in the Life spec, an upgrade over the base 8.25-inch display, and it runs seamlessly, with Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto on the Life and above (Wired for the base).
The controversy about the infotainment system largely centers around the updated climate controls. In the Mk-8 iteration, Volkswagen decided to do away with physical climate dials, opting for a more “digital” control system, with the climate settings mainly being controlled through the screen. They also placed these touch buttons below the screen to quickly change temperature and fan speeds, however, the buttons don’t have any feedback and are easy to miss - especially at night - resulting in a lot of frustration from misclicks. While I certainly sympathise with the complaints, my experience has been that the system works decently when you adjust it through the infotainment screen, and avoid the touch “sliders” below the display. While this is certainly a compromise, it wasn’t as much of a dealbreaker for me as others had made out.
The Life spec also gains keyless entry-and-go, which is nice to have, and even without the additional option packs, comes with a 10-colour interior lighting setup. Storage inside the cabin is also excellent, with the central armrest, a spacious glovebox, cupholders, and large door bins that can fit up to three large bottles, as well as a small storage slot next to the tiny shifter.
I absolutely love the steering wheel, it is a premium, leather-wrapped unit with nice feeling buttons, and small paddle shifters, and a sporty D-cut design. The textured grip also feels very premium, with a satisfying thickness.
Finally, connectivity is excellent in the 2023 VW Golf. We get two USB-C ports up front, as well as a Wireless charger with plenty of storage next to it, and a 12V socket.