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2021 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 vs 2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk7.5

25 May 2021 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

Time for another car face-off. This time, the spotlight is on the all-new 2021 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 and its predecessor, the Volkswagen Golf Mk7.5. These two standout models both have a lot to offer, but which has the edge? To determine the champion, we will compare the two based on some key criteria so you can make the right choice if you’re on the fence about getting an upgrade.

Let the games begin!

1. Engine and drivetrain

Both models are powered by a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine. However, the older Mk7.5 features Volkswagen’s seven-speed dual-clutch ‘DSG’ automatic transmission, while the new Mk8 boasts a conventional eight-speed torque-converter auto developed by Japan’s Aisin. In terms of fuel economy, the Mk7.5 will get you 5.4L/100km while the Mk8 stands at 5.8L/100km in the Mk8 - a difference of about 0.4L.

Full details on these differences are displayed in the table below.

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2. Space and comfort

The sporty yet elegant exterior of the latest Mk8 will certainly turn heads. The inside, however, is where the real magic happens, giving the Mk7.5 a run for its money. While the 2020 model has analogue instruments along with an 8-inch low-mounted touchscreen, the 2021 upgrade includes an even wider 10-inch touchscreen combined with a wide panel positioned high on the dashboard, along with a fully digital, configurable instrument cluster.

Where the Mk8 loses a few marks is in its touch-based controls for climate and infotainment functions, which would have been better had Volkswagen stuck to conventional dials and switches. Many buyers find the touch-based controls needlessly fussy and difficult to operate accurately and safely behind the wheel.

Both generations have the same cloth seats, multi-zone automatic climate control and leather-wrapped steering wheel, although the 2021 Golf has fewer harder plastic surfaces than its predecessor.

Didn’t call shotgun on time? No problem. Both models come with rear centre armrests complete with cupholders, grab handles, and rear air vents for a comfortable and ergonomic backseat experience. The Mk8’s slight increase in wheelbase size along with its noticeable decrease in underlying width means more space for rear-seat passengers.

For the full picture, see the table below.

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3. Safety and technology

Some of the most significant updates are in the safety area. The Mk8 Golf is fully loaded with a suite of advanced safety features, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) paired with pedestrian and cyclist detection, multi-collision braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors and Exit Assist. Both Golfs have Volkswagen’s trademark Travel Assist semi-autonomous driving system that is capable of acceleration, braking and centring the Golf on roads within its lane. Among the standard inclusions on both Golfs are adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and lane-centring assist. It is also worth noting that both models hold an impressive five-star ANCAP safety rating.

In terms of technology and entertainment, the Mk8 has in it a 10-inch touch screen with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation. On the other hand, the Golf Mk7.5 Comfortlife sports a slightly-smaller 8-inch equipped with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus satellite navigation.

Final verdict

There is little doubt that both the Mk8 and Mk7.5 are great buys. What makes the Golf Life stand out is its advanced tech inside the cabin and wider active-safety suite. But if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative without compromising on quality and performance, the Mk7.5 delivers. Since every driver has their own unique style and preferences, we will leave the choice to you – what are you choosing?

If you can’t decide, we recommend checking out Motor Matcher. At Motor Matcher, everything we do is modelled around providing customers with the right tools and empowering them with rich information, helping them make sound decisions when buying and selling cars. We offer a faster, simpler way to compare new and used cars online, creating an ideal and safe marketplace for all car buyers and sellers.

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