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Lowest Price Guaranteed
FREE 30-Day Returns
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Road Tax & Roadside Assistance Included
FREE & Fast Delivery

Volkswagen Golf Trim Guide

Looking to lease a Volkswagen Golf but can’t make head nor tail of ALL the trim levels? We’re here for you. By the end of this guide, you’ll know your Active from your Life, your Design from your R-Line, your GTD from your MP3.

But first a little about the Golf itself. A bona fide classic model line, Volkswagen didn’t invent the family hatchback with the Golf - Renault was doing hatchbacks in the decade before the first Golf came along in 1974 - but ever since the first generation, it’s basically been the standard bearer for quality and refinement in the sector. If rarely the most exciting. The latest model is the 8th generation and, sadly, the last, with Volkswagen choosing to kill the name off as it moves to electric-only models. It’ll be a good few years before that happens though.

Today’s Golf is 5-door only - there’s no 3-door model - but there is an estate version with an elongated boot for improved luggage space. Either way the trim and engine options are extensive, and although we’re only looking at trims today, some of them are specific to a particular engine. The iconic GTI model, for example. We’ll get into that. But the broad spread means that there’s a Golf for almost everyone, in theory, from a base level Life model with a 52mpg 1.0-litre petrol engine, up to the 320hp Golf R, a serious 4-wheel-drive performance car. 

So, let’s do some Golf. So to speak…

Trim name: Life

01. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-Life

Available Body Styles: Hatchback | Estate

Available engines: 1.0 TSI Petrol 110hp | 1.5 TSI Petrol 130hp, 150hp | 2.0 TDI Diesel 115hp

Equipment Highlights:

16-inch alloy wheels

10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, customisable 

Wireless mobile phone charging 

Wireless Apple Carplay & Android Auto  

Car2X vehicle networking

Leather gearknob top 

Leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel 

Navigation including streaming and internet

6-speaker stereo 

Interior ambient lighting with 10 colour options

Automatic air conditioning 

Adaptive Cruise Control

Dynamic road sign display 

Automatic emergency braking 

Lane Keeping Assist

Front & rear parking sensors 

Auto-dimming rear view mirror

Electrically adjustable heated door mirrors 

Rain-sensing wipers 

LED headlamps 

This’ll be the longest list you’ll see here, because Life spec represents today’s standard Golf and, as you can see, it has an awful lot of stuff. Volkswagen decided to make the 8th-generation Golf feel as ‘techy’ as possible, and so every version comes with the same twin screen set-up for the infotainment and the instruments. Lots of people think this was a backwards step for intuitiveness - the haptic touch panels that run along the bottom of the infotainment screen for volume and temperature take some getting used to - but it looks impressive and it means even a bottom run Golf feels cutting edge. 

Every Golf is also packed with safety kit, including ‘Car2X’, a technology that allows communication between cars so that the driver can be warned about hazards ahead on the instrument panel - an approaching ambulance or a broken down car, say. It can also help traffic flow by identifying when nearby traffic lights will change and suggest a change in speed in order to avoid a complete stop. 

Trim name: Active

02. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-Active

Available Body Styles: Hatchback

Available engines: 1.0 TSI Petrol 110hp | 1.5 TSI Petrol 130hp, 150hp | 2.0 TDI Diesel 115hp

Equipment Highlights (Over Life):

16-inch alloy wheels ('Galway' design) 

30-colour ambient lighting

3-zone climate control with rear control panel

Winter Pack: heated front seats & heated leather steering wheel

Rear tinted glass

Active trim adds a little more comfort and style kit, including a wider choice of interior lights and a rear zone for the climate control, for only a few hundred pounds more than a Life model. For that reason it’s easy to recommend, except that Volkswagen is no longer making this model, probably to make room for another soon-to-come special edition. So if you want one, be quick because it’s while stocks last. 

Trim name: Style

03. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-Style

Available Body Styles: Hatchback | Estate

Available engines: 1.5 TSI Petrol 130hp, 150hp | 1.5 eTSI Petrol  |1.4 TSI eHybrid 204hp | 2.0 TDI Diesel 150hp

Equipment Highlights:

17-inch alloy wheels

High Beam Assist

LED 'Plus' headlamps

Interior ambient lighting with 30 colour options

'Art Velours' seat centre panels 

Decorative inserts in brushed dark metal

Style trim adds a couple of notable comfort and safety features, the main one being fancier LED headlamps with more individual LEDs that improve lighting in poor weather. They also have an automatic high beam function and a cornering function, which changes the light profile to better illuminate the direction you’re steering in. Lower powered engines aren’t available with Style trim, but you can have the plug-in hybrid version, which boasts a 42-mile electric-only range and a 313.9mpg official average efficiency rating. Obviously that’s highly fanciful in real-world driving, but it does make this Golf a very tax-efficient one. 

Trim name: Alltrack

04. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-Alltrack

Available Body Styles: Estate

Available Engines: 2.0 TDI Diesel 200hp

Equipment Highlights:

4Motion all-wheel drive  

Underbody protection 

Alltrack bumpers 

Raised suspension 

Silver roof rails 

17-inch alloy wheels 

Driving profile selection

Rear tinted glass

LED 'Plus' headlamps

The Alltrack is an estate-only, all-wheel drive, slightly raised version of the Golf, aimed at giving drivers a little more all-terrain ability than a standard Golf  but without being a full-blown SUV. For that reason it has a specific off-road mode that adjusts the throttle, the traction control and the behaviour of the automatic gearbox to help it get across less-than-smooth surfaces. It’s only available with a higher powered diesel engine though, and the 4Motion system makes it less economical than standard diesel Golfs, although it’s still a 50mpg car and it’s well-specified. 

Trim name: R-Line

05. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-R-Line

Available Body Styles: Hatchback | Estate

Available Engines: 1.5 TSI Petrol 130hp, 150hp | 2.0 TDI Diesel 150hp

Equipment Highlights:

17-inch Valencia Grey alloy wheels 

'R-Line' body-coloured bumpers

Rear tinted glass

Rear exhaust pipe finisher 

Front sports seats

Heated multifunction sports steering wheel 

Progressive Steering 

Driving profile selection

Fatigue detection with driver alert 

For almost as long as high performance hatchbacks have existed, so too have lesser powered versions with names meant to evoke the full-fat models. So it is with R-Line versions of the Golf, which provide some of the sportiness of the range-topping Golf R but without the speed or running costs. Albeit, R-Line trim isn’t available with lower powered engines. Every R-Line car gets specific bumper styling, grey alloy wheels, front sports seats and a redesigned steering wheel with heating. The driver profile selection allows you to adjust between comfort and sportier modes (making the throttle more sensitive and the steering a bit weightier, basically), and a nice additional safety feature is tiredness detection. By tracking your steering behaviour during long trips, the car will detect if you’re getting tired and tell you to take a break. 

Trim name: GTE

06. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-GTE

Available Body Styles: Hatchback

Available Engines: 1.4 TSI eHybrid 245hp

Equipment Highlights:

17-inch alloy wheels 

LED Matrix headlamps with dynamic cornering light and dynamic turn signal

Exterior illuminated styling for door handles & grille

Keyless entry

Driving profile selection

Rear tinted glass 

Leather-wrapped, heated, multifunction sports steering wheel

Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist

This is where things get properly sporty for the Golf, with the ‘E’ part of ‘GTE’ denoting that this is the quickest plug-in hybrid Golf, yet also related to the iconic GTI model - with looks to match. It has a slightly shorter electric-only range (37 miles) than the standard hybrid and a lower official consumption rating (235.4mpg) but it’s significantly quicker: 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds. And because it’s pitched as a high-performance hybrid, it gets a massive spec sheet to match, including sports seats, fancy LED headlamps with a cornering function, keyless entry - you don’t need to unlock the car, it’ll just open when you get near it with the key - and a suite of safety stuff. Traffic Jam Assist, for instance, will make the car pull away itself and follow the vehicle ahead at low speeds, to save you being on and off the brake and accelerator all the time.   

Trim name: GTD

07. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-GTD

Available Body Styles: Hatchback

Available Engines: 2.0 TDI 200hp

Equipment Highlights:

18-inch ‘Bakersfield’ alloy wheels 

LED Matrix headlamps with dynamic cornering light and dynamic turn signal

Exterior illuminated styling for door handles & grille

Keyless entry

Driving profile selection

Rear tinted glass 

Leather-wrapped, heated, multifunction sports steering wheel

Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist

If GTE is the part-electric performance Golf, it stands to reason that GTD is the diesel one. Spec is very similar to the GTE in that it has most of the available safety and comfort tech thrown at it, although the GTD is on bigger 18-inch wheels; smaller wheels help efficiency, whereas the GTD is less about that and more about pure performance. To that end it too has styling elements based on the GTI, including ‘honeycomb’ front LED lights that look a bit like a chequered flag, seat cloth in tartan-style fabric, and sporty driving modes. It also has sports suspension, which lowers the car a little and makes for a slightly firmer ride, but improves road feel. 

Trim name: GTI

08. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-GTI

Available Body Styles: Hatchback

Available Engines: 2.0 TSI 245hp

Equipment Highlights:

18-inch ‘Richmond’ alloy wheels 

Body kit with GTI-specific flourishes including red highlights 

LED Matrix headlamps with dynamic cornering light and dynamic turn signal

Exterior illuminated styling for door handles & grille

Keyless entry

Driving profile selection

Rear tinted glass 

Leather-wrapped, heated, multifunction sports steering wheel

Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist

XDS front differential lock 

The Golf GTI is, for many, the archetypal hot hatch. From the first one in 1975, subsequent versions have usually incorporated elements of the original’s design into them. This one does so with red accents on the grille and red tartan style cloth for the seats but, sadly, no golf-ball-topped gear lever for the manual model. Available as an automatic too, there’s only one engine choice, a 245hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol that gets the thing to 62mph in a shade over 6 seconds. It’s not the quickest Golf though - that’s the R - but it is very focussed on driving dynamics and includes a clever electronic handling system called XDS that improves cornering grip. 

Trim name: R

09. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-R

Available Body Styles: Hatchback | Estate

Available Engines: 2.0 TSI 320hp DSG

Equipment Highlights:

18-inch ‘Jerez’ black diamond turned alloy wheels 

'R' styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers and side sills

Rear spoiler

Quad exhaust finishers 

Matte chrome mirror caps

Sports seats in part-leather 

Wireless phone charging & app connect  

4Motion all-wheel drive

LED Matrix headlamps with dynamic cornering light and dynamic turn signal

The ultimate Golf, the R model has 320hp from a 2.0-litre turbo engine, and a 4-wheel-drive system to help put all that power onto the road. It’s packed with driver assistance and safety kit, as well as pretty much all the comfort and convenience tech available to a Golf. It’s automatic-only, but unlike the Golf GTI it does come as an estate too, making for one very flexible and very fast wagon. 

Trim name: GTI Clubsport

10. VW-Golf-Trim-Guide-GTI-Clubsport

Available Body Styles: Hatchback

Available Engines: 2.0 TSI 300hp DSG

Equipment Highlights:

18-inch ‘Richmond’ alloy wheels 

Sporty body kit with Clubsport-specific decals & red highlights

Red GTI tailgate badge

Red brake callipers  

LED Matrix headlamps with dynamic cornering light and dynamic turn signal

Exterior illuminated styling for door handles & grille

Keyless entry

Driving profile selection

Rear tinted glass 

Leather-wrapped, heated, multifunction sports steering wheel

Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist

XDS front differential lock

In power terms alone, the Golf Clubsport sits between the GTI and the R, but for many it’s actually the best fast Golf because it’s the most dynamically focussed. With its unique body kit, 18-inch wheels, custom body decals and bespoke leather sports seats, it’s definitely the most striking Golf on sale today. And while it’s not as quick as the R, nor 4-wheel drive, it’s the most fun to drive. It’s had some of the GTI’s weight stripped out of it, for a start, and it too features the XDS handling aid. That said, it’s still a comfy day-to-day car, featuring all the safety and convenience kit you’d expect of a top end Golf.

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