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The essential options that make the new VW Golf the safest ever

The essential options that make the new VW Golf the safest ever
Tristan Honeywill

The new VW Golf is not just another hatchback with five stars from Euro NCAP. It’s the car that sets the pace of development in this class and the entire industry. On the latest generation, it’s the driver assistance systems available as options that will make all the difference to family and company car buyers.

To get most of the cool new technology, you need to buy an “SE” model or higher. However, the basic “S” model still has a few interesting features and options that are sensibly priced by VW.

The Golf S starts at £16,285 and for this you get everything that earned the car five-stars in the crash tests. You also get VW’s multi-collision brake system, which applies the brakes after a collision to reduce the chances of a more serious crash with a third vehicle.

The few safety options available on the S are priced to sell. For £65, you get a Driver Alert system that warns you to take a break when the car detects that your driving is deteriorating.

An extra £135 gets you VW’s proactive occupant protection package. When the car detects an emergency situation developing at speeds above 19mph, it tightens seatbelts, primes the brakes and closes any windows. It’s useful because having all the occupants in their proper positions is critical if the airbags and seatbelts are to work properly. If you’re swerving or braking hard to avoid a collision, everybody stays in place.

These two are included for free on the £18,990 Golf SE. An autonomous emergency braking system, which VW calls Front Assist, also comes as standard. This uses radar and cameras to scan the road ahead. If a collision is likely, it triggers alerts before applying the brakes to either avoid or mitigate a crash.

The higher spec of the Golf SE also means that you can fit VW’s Lane Assist. It’s a £520 option, providing you also upgrade the mirrors, which costs £95.

The highest-spec Golf, the “GT”, starts at £22,305. You’re really paying for a lot of cosmetic upgrades, but the better infotainment system also displays the current speed limit and any overtaking restrictions. Useful.

Perhaps the only oddity on the options list is that no matter which level of Golf you choose, you have to pay £265 to get additional side airbags for the rear doors. You might expect this to be standard on a five-star, five-door car these days.


Safety tips

Buyer’s guide

  • VW Golf S is the base model, starting at £16,285. Golf SE starts at £18,990. Golf GT starts at £22,305.
  • If you’re getting a Golf S, fit the Driver Alert system (£65) and the Proactive Occupant Protection (£135).
  • If you’re getting a Golf SE, consider adding VW’s Lane Assist system for £615, including the upgraded mirror pack.
  • Also consider: Volvo V40, Mercedes A-Class, Ford Focus, SEAT Leon

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