Hatchback of the Year
Volkswagen Golf Mild Hybrid
The Mk8 Golf's design may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, but why be recognised as any other car? The name still promises excellent build quality throughout a well laid-out cabin (now more digital than before), ample passenger and cargo space, and excellent handling. Although no longer Cat A-eligible, the power boost from its turbocharged 1.5-litre engine actually feels commensurate to the car. This remains the do-it-all hatch to beat.
Special Features
It's the popular Volkswagen Golf, you know what you're getting. High build quality, a premium cabin, a sophisticated ride, and impressive space.
Recently purchased the 2022 R-Line after a lot of research and have not been disappointed with the car overall. The drive and overall performance for this size car is excellent and the power and road hugging is there when you need it. The car also feels larger than its predecessor. The Discovery infotainment system has generated a lot of discussion but In a few weeks you learn it and it's fine. I do like the haptic controls. It's also quick to connect to your smart phone seamlessly. The variety of interior lighting options is a bit gimmicky. The seats fit very well and the overall interior is modern and pleasant. I do also enjoy the quieter ride compared to nearly all the Japanese cars in this class and that German quality stands out.
Volkswagen's new Golf is still the premium hatch to get if you want something a little more impressive than the typical Civic, or Avante.
Been driving the Golf MK8 for 6 months already and it definitely didn't disappoint me. The interior feels like whole new ball game compared to its predecessor and comparable to current generation of conti cars.The drive feels solid and the handling is exceptional. Fuel economy about 14-15km/l in 70% Highway 30% City setting. The engine is strong as well pushing 148bhp which is the same as the 2021 Audi A5 2.0.Some super tiny issues with the infotainment system but nothing major affecting the car. The seats feels very sturdy and comfy as well can sit for long hours easily. Many compliments from my friends and families about the interior of the car as well. The stock sound system is amazing and no extra aftermarket parts are needed for ICE.For its price, IMO this is one of the most value for money car out there.
Few cars perhaps fit the 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' adage as well as the Golf. But Volkswagen knows all too well that 'don't fix' doesn't mean 'don't refine'. And five decades on, the Mk 8 Golf - our persisting champ of the Hatchback category - is solid, living proof of it.

Its distinct looks are first evidence of this. Those flattened head and taillights signal an evolution into the modern age, but its boxy shape, low beltline and - well - Golf-esque silhouette are unmistakable. On the inside, the result is what we have always appreciated in the car anyway: A spacious, airy-feeling cabin, where even adults can ride in comfort in the rear with good head and legroom.

Speaking of the interior, a good level of standard equipment now makes life in the Golf significantly more premium than before. This includes the Digital Cockpit Plus - a 10.25-inch customisable driver's display that is pleasingly large and intuitive to read - and a positively stacked list of safety essentials like Side Assist (including lane changing and blind spot alerts).

Step up from the Life Plus to R-Line and your central infotainment touchscreen even grows from 8.25 to 10 inches. As expected of more premium offerings today, you're also enveloped in the warm glow of your preferred colour with ambient lighting strips.

Where things are also more revolution rather than evolution-like is with fuel efficiency.

Mild hybrid assistance with a 48V system in a new eTSI engine reaps corresponding benefits in almost every situation: Helping the car off standstill when crawling through start-stop traffic, shutting a couple of cylinders off when coasting, and also recovering energy under braking. The Golf was never a gas-guzzler to begin with, but expect now to easily net 17km/L with mixed driving, and coast past 20km/L with highway-heavy journeys.

We know: The significantly bumped up level of power from its 1.5-litre turbocharged engine (148bhp and 250Nm of torque) now means that the Golf unfortunately doesn't fall into Category A. But we'd argue that this elevation is more commensurate with its capabilities anyway.

Riding on the highly competent MQB Evo platform, the Golf is a refined cruiser that laps up kilometre after kilometre with comfort on a normal basis. But remember - this is, just as importantly, also a well-handling hatch that will rise to the challenge any time daily commutes require a bit more spice - and it's all the better now with the power waiting beneath.

The slightly more extroverted Seat Leon and the segment-bending Citroen C4 were both worthy competitors this year. But they are still no match for the winning template wielded by the Golf so confidently.