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The current Volkswagen Golf receives a sleeker facelift

A technological leap in updates for its 50th anniversary

Can you believe that the lovable hatchback from Wolfsburg will turn 50 this year? PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

The Volkswagen Golf nameplate is turning 50 years old in March, and the German marque from Wolfsburg celebrated early by unveiling a new facelift of its current generation. First previewed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the long-running hatchback shed its camouflage for a new gaping fascia and the addition of a new powertrain option.

Instead of a wide frown, the Mk8.5 Golf gives a wide smile. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

The new Mk8.5 Golf has an updated headlight design that flows better with the slim grille and a new set of redesigned bumpers for the hatchback and wagon variants. Its gasoline and diesel engine options will soldier onto the facelift with improvements alongside the 48V mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

Golf owners don't need to go to the aftermarket for an illuminated strip and logo. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

As per tradition, the Mk8.5 Golf will continue to release performance models in three different powertrains: the gasoline-powered GTI, the diesel-powered GTD, and the plug-in hybrid-powered GTE. There is no confirmation yet whether the Golf R will return, but the R-Line appearance package could be a taste of the fastest sibling.

From a smooth cluster-to-infotainment transition to sticking out like a sore thumb. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Parking is a breeze for the Golf with the new Park Assist Plus, VW’s semi-automated parking system, and the Park Assist Pro, which can drive the vehicle in and out of a space through a smartphone app.

The new 12.9-inch infotainment system ditches the almost seamless 10-inch screen design for a typical tacked-on tablet layout with separate temperature and volume sliders. First seen in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, Volkswagen will integrate ChatGPT for its first implementation of the IDA voice assistant in a production model.

Who'd love to see the Golf and the Golf Variant return to the Philippine market? PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Sales of the new Golf will begin in Europe later this year, with North America and Asia to follow. After nearing six years since Volkswagen Philippines discontinued selling its legacy models, we sorely miss the Golf—let alone the Mk8—in our market. Could there be a way to sneak in Malaysian-assembled units when the facelift arrives in the ASEAN region?

Justin Young

Justin loves cars of all forms. Molded by motoring TV shows and Internet car culture, he sees the world from a different perspective that not many get to see every day.