2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R first test: hot hatches, icy controls

As to which one I would take between the two, you really can’t go wrong with either. But if it was my money, a manual GTI would be the one I would park in my garage. It’s about as fast as the R in most real-life situations, feels lighter in the corners, and costs a lot less. Its aesthetic is also more whimsical than the more serious and sterile Golf R, with its dimpled golf ball shifter, red lipstick on the grille, and checkered seats.

Form over function

As for the interior, it looks like every notable new car is launching these days with its fair share of mild controversy. The Mk8 Golf is no different, including the fact that the base, non-performing model isn’t even offered on this continent. Take advantage of it, Europe. VW wants us in a Tiguan or, better yet, an ID.4 instead.

Worse yet, to the dismay of anyone who has encountered it, the new Golf features a minimalist interior that is extremely dependent on touch, which, while quite clean and beautiful in the brochure photos, is a bit of a pain to use. in real life.

A 10-inch infotainment touchscreen is built into the same shiny black plastic piece as the standard 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster. Pretty standard stuff for a nice car made in 2021, and this main screen is pretty easy to learn and navigate. But then you have the touch bar underneath which encompasses volume control and temperature control. And the tactile shortcuts below that display screens dedicated to driving aids, detailed air conditioning, parking aids and driving modes. On the left side of the gauges you have window light and heater buttons which are, you guessed it, also tactile.

More blatantly, however, Volkswagen has even chosen to make all steering wheel controls exclusively tactile.

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