2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI Review 
Price & Equipment:7
Performance & Economy:8
Ride & Handling:8
Interior & Practicality:8
Service & Warranty:7
What we like:
  • Eight-speed auto replacing DSG is a great move
  • 1.4L turbo petrol engine is old but still great
  • Still roomy and great to drive
What we don't like:
  • Far too expensive, like other Golf models
  • Frustrating infotainment system
  • Expensive service pricing
7.6DiscoverAuto Review:

The Mk8 Golf has been one of the biggest automotive launches in recent years. Not based on sales, but based on reputation, as the Golf is one of the most important names in the automotive business. With more than 37 million sales under its belt since 1974, the Golf is one of the best-selling cars of all time and while its sales figures have been largely eaten away by SUVs in recent years, it still has a loyal customer base all over the world. Does latest Mk8 2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI deserve to continue such strong sales? Let’s find out. 

2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI

We’ve tested both the base model and GTI from the Mk8 Golf before, and have come away impressed by the driving experience, though the price hikes, unintuitive infotainment and downgrade in quality have taken a shine off the Golf. Does the Golf hit higher highs in mid-spec Life form?

Price & Equipment: 7/10

Standard equipment on the mid-spec 2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI ($35,290 plus on-road costs) includes all-LED lighting, auto lights and wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, satellite navigation, a seven-speaker sound system, four USB-C charging ports, a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, tri-zone climate control, floor mats, keyless entry and start, heated and auto-folding mirrors with an auto-dropping passenger mirror, puddle lamps, a rear centre armrest, six-way manual front seats and a wireless phone charger. 

Safety equipment includes eight airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, intersection assist, lane keep assist with lane trace assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear auto braking, emergency assist, exit warning, driver fatigue monitoring, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, front and rear parking sensors with automatic parking and a reversing camera. 

Colour options for the Golf Life include the no cost ‘Pure White’, as well as the $650-extra ‘Atlantic Blue’, ‘Dolphin Grey’, ‘Reflex Silver’, ‘Deep Black’ and $950-extra ‘Pomelo Yellow’ that was on our test car. The only interior colour option is black. 

Two option packages are available for the Golf Life: the $2,000 Comfort & Style Pack that adds 30-colour ambient lighting, ‘comfort sport’ front seats with cloth and suede upholstery, a sunroof and footwell lighting, as well as the $1,600 Sound & Vision Pack, which adds a heads-up display and a 480W eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Our test car had both and was priced at $46,500 drive away, depending on your location. Not cheap for a mid-spec hatchback. 

Chief competition to the Volkswagen Golf Life include the Mazda3 G25 GT and the Hyundai i30 N Line Premium. Neither of these cars are cheap, but they’re great value for money in comparison to the Golf. The Mazda adds larger 18-inch wheels, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, a heads-up display, leather upholstery with a 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory functionality, heated front seats and steering wheel and auto high beam. The Hyundai goes further with a panoramic glass sunroof and cooled front seats.

The Golf features a wireless charger, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tri-zone climate control, floor mats and a fully digital driver’s display over both the Mazda and Hyundai, but does that justify spending more money on it? Not in our opinion and equipment like leather seating, electric/heated seats, auto high beam and premium audio should all be standard kit. 

Performance & Economy: 8/10

Under the bonnet of the 2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI is a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 110kW of power and 250Nm. It’s mated to an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission – a six-speed manual is also available on the base model Golf 110TSI, but that’s currently not available due to stock shortages.

The ‘110TSI’ engine in the Golf is getting on in years, but we think it’s still excellent. It’s smooth, quiet and produces its full 250Nm of torque at just 1,500rpm (and that continues to 4,000rpm). It really adds to the grown up feel of the Golf thanks to its strong but quiet character. With a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 8.5 seconds, the Golf 110TSI charges harder than its modest outputs suggest, and while a 2.5-litre non-turbo Mazda3 makes 29kW more power, it makes equal torque. This makes the Golf 110TSI feel somewhat muscular, especially in the low rev range. 

Causing divide within the enthusiast journalist community in Australia is that the local-spec Golf (and T-Roc, as well as the Skoda Octavia and Karoq) 110TSI models come with the older 1.4-litre engine matched to the eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, whereas European-spec models get a cleaner 1.5-litre turbocharged engine that’s matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. While the 1.5L turbo is likely more efficient in regular driving, we think it’s no issue as the 1.4-litre turbo engine is still great after all these years, and the eight-speed auto is not hesitant at lower speeds, making it a more natural feeling transmission for somebody coming from a non-DCT automatic. In fact, the torque converter automatic is one of the highlights of the Mk8 Golf after years of DSGs that don’t hold on hills and take a lot of getting used to, especially at low speeds.  

Volkswagen claims that the Golf 110TSI will use 5.8L/100km, and in our week with the car, we used 6.7L/100km in driving skewed towards urban use. An equivalent Mazda3, for example, will use closer to 10L/100km so the Golf is pretty efficient for a non-hybrid in this class. It uses minimum 95RON premium unleaded and features a 50-litre fuel tank. 

Ride & Handling: 8/0

While the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf underwent change in the engine and cabin departments, the ride and handling balance remains as solid as ever. Unlike the Mazda3 and i30, the Golf has independent rear suspension across its range, which allows for a more compliant ride. On the modest 17-inch wheels of the Life, the Golf’s ride quality is sublime and tackles bumps with aplomb. It’s certainly not as firm as the sporty Mazda3 or i30 N Line Premium, but still remains fun behind the wheel thanks to communicative and fluid steering, good handling and great balance.

The rest of the driving experience is positive as well. Road noise levels are somewhat low in urban driving, though louder at highway speeds – certainly higher than the Mazda3 but much lower than the i30 – while the Golf’s outside vision is excellent thanks to large windows. Its active safety systems are also quite well tuned – like the Mazda3, they’re tuned to be subtle and yet, still make you feel safe behind the wheel. 

Interior & Practicality: 8/10

The interior of the eight-generation Volkswagen Golf is much more modern than the previous generation with a more minimalist layout, more technology and more connectivity options. But as we discovered in both the base model 110TSI and hot GTI, the quality and user-friendliness has stumbled compared with the Mk7.5. 

Quality inside the Golf is definitely not as good as the previous Mk7.5 Golf, which wasn’t as good as the Mk6 that went before it. As a result, the Mazda3 feels far more luxurious inside with its liberal use of soft touch materials and swoopy layout feeling more special than the Golf. The Golf’s scratchy plastics – even the softer materials on the dashboard – feel disappointingly cheap.

Centre of the Golf’s cabin is a 10.0-inch touchscreen that’s well featured with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio and satellite navigation. The screen quality is excellent and it’s quick to respond to touch, but the layout is not great and it’s not very intuitive to use. Simple operations such as changing the temperature take too long – despite being able to ask the car to ‘warm my hands’ and so on – and the touch sensitive bars underneath the screen that change the temperature and volume aren’t lit in the dark and are too easily touched. 

Our test car featured the optional $1,600 Sound & Vision Pack, which adds a useful heads-up display and a 480W eight-speaker sound system. We really think this pack should be standard equipment as all models in the Mazda3 range feature a heads-up display, and without the Harmon Kardon sound system, the Golf’s audio quality is average at best.

Thankfully, the Golf remains spacious for a small hatchback. While not quite as roomy as an i30 but larger than the Mazda3, the back seat of the Golf is totally fine for two six-footers and it’s well featured as well with rear vents, a separate climate zone, big flock-lined door bins, map pockets with dedicated phone slots, two USB-C charging ports, an armrest with cup holders and a ski pass through.

The boot of the Golf GTI measures 374-litres with the seats up and 1,260L with them folded – 6L/10L respectively less than the Mk7.5 Golf – the i30’s measures 381L and the Mazda3’s just 295L, for reference. The boot is well featured with hooks, storage and a boot floor that can be lowered for more storage. Underneath the lower boot floor is a space-saver spare wheel. 

Service & Warranty: 7/10

Like other Volkswagen products in Australia, the 2021 Volkswagen Golf 110TSI comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty with 12 months of roadside assistance that’s extended a further 12 months with each service up to five years in total. The Golf’s service intervals are once yearly/every 15,000km, whichever comes first and for five years/75,000km of servicing, the Golf costs a massive $2,900 (or $580 per service).

2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI

Buyers can choose a pre-paid service pack at the time of purchase, and for five years/75,000km, a service pack costs $2,100 ($420 per service), which is $800 less than what it would cost to pay-as-you-go. Mazda and Hyundai both offer five year warranties as well – the Hyundai has the same roadside assistance program as Volkswagen, while Mazda gives you five years as standard.

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.6/10

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI is an interesting car because it mixes the traditional Golf strengths with qualities – both good and bad – that we’ve not seen from a Golf before. On the plus side, it drives really well, its engine is old but still excellent, it’s roomy for a hatchback, it’s loaded with safety equipment and its eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission is – despite what others say – a big improvement on the seven-speed DSG that went before it. 

2022 Volkswagen Golf Life 110TSI

But there are also a lot of negatives with the Golf that would make us consider rivals, such as the Mazda3 G25 GT or Hyundai i30 N Line Premium. The first of which is the infotainment system, which needs a lot of polish to become more user-friendly, then there’s the dive in quality compared with the Mk7.5 Golf, with way more cheap plastics, missing paint in spots, less noise insulation and no bonnet gas strut. But finally, there’s the Golf’s pricing, which is far too high – $45,000 drive away for a lightly optioned mid-spec hatchback is just too much money. We say the Golf is still definitely worth consideration, but rivals like the Mazda3 are superior all-rounders.

2 Responses

  1. Ben

    Have you changed your star ratings system? It previously appeared that the overall score was out of 10, but this one is showing as a 3.8 (presumably out of 5). It doesn’t look great compared to the 7 and 8 star vehicles below it in the review list – does it need to be changed to 7.6 out of 10 rather than 3.8 out of 5, to allow easier comparison?

    • Michal Kieca

      Hi Ben, thanks for the comment. The ratings seem to be fine on our end.
      Cheers, the DA Team


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