After the MK8 Golf launched directly into controversy due to the company’s decision to replace the MK7.5’s intuitive physical steering wheel buttons and climate controls with less-intuitive touch sensitive controls, VW has finally addressed some of the public’s concerns. The decision to move to poorly designed touch controls turned out to be a deal breaker for some prospective buyers, since the climate controls were operated by touch sensitive sliders that are easy to brush when using the infotainment screen, and worse yet, these sliders weren’t even backlit so they disappeared in the dark.
Volkswagen touts this refreshed Golf’s next-generation infotainment system with a more intuitive operating concept. This upgraded VW corporate infotainment system features illuminated touch sliders for temperature and volume controls, which is a step in the right direction, but regular physical knobs would still be even better. The new steering wheel goes right back to physical buttons, as nature intended.
The new infotainment system debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas earlier this month and features ChatGPT functionality within the voice assistant to better interpret natural language and provide researched content read aloud.
Aside from the interior updates, Volkswagen’s styling department must be terrified of change since this freshened Golf looks pretty damn similar to the MK8. The most apparent exterior changes include a sharpened front fascia, 3D light graphics on the tail lights, reworked front and rear light clusters, and an available illuminated VW badge on the front.
Luckily for Volkswagen, the MK8 Golf was always a solid car aside from its troubled user interfaces, and since this facelift has ironed out its biggest infotainment wrinkles, this update should make the 2025 GTI an easier sell to those looking for one of the best all-rounders around. Most importantly, it should make the VW GTI the ubiquitous answer to the common question, “what car should I buy,” once again.
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