It can be easy to overlook the still-significant global importance of the new Golf when Volkswagen is making as much noise as possible about the ID 3

Yes, ambitions for global ID 3 sales to reach six figures next year justify the fanfare, but the Golf will remain one of the world’s volume elite: more than 730,000 examples were sold last year. That was soundly beaten by the Toyota Corolla, which managed 930,000 sales in the same period, but the Golf still dominates Europe and VW wants that to remain the case.

New Volkswagen Golf to feature class-leading technology

It’s also arguably as much of an icon for Volkswagen as the Beetle. Around 35 million of the things have been sold since it first revolutionised the mainstream small family car market in 1974 and there’s a clear visual lineage between the generations. This is not about challenging visual norms: the Mk8 will gently evolve the look of the Mk7 because Golf customers like familiarity and subtlety, VW reckons. 

One of the biggest challenges VW faces with the Mk8’s is keeping the Mk7 Golf’s consummate all-round appeal. The sheer variety of engines and trims has made the Golf's market positioning broad, crossing all age groups and many income levels. But VW’s intention to reduce range complexity across the board could affect this. Will entry-level versions be as accessible as before? It remains to be seen.