Volkswagen’s small family car is arguably the German manufacturer’s best-known and most-loved model ever. It is certainly VW’s best-selling model, with more than 33 million finding buyers since it first hit showrooms in 1974.

However, September 2015 saw the Golf and the wider VW Group suffer a publicity nightmare, after it emerged that many VW engines had used illegal software to cheat emissions tests.

After four years on the market, the current seventh generation Golf was due a refresh anyway, but with VW coyly licking its scarred reputation, there’s more riding on the mk7.5 than any other facelifted model before it.

Here, we’ve picked out the five things you should know about the traditionally reliable hatchback:

It’s in the eyes

2017 Volkswagen Golf

You’ll have to know where to look to spot the updated Golf, but the game is given away by its new LED headlights, which replace the Xenon lights. There’s also new bumpers at the front and rear and new front wings.

New engines

2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI engine

The big changes are understandably beneath the skin and part of VW’s emissions rehab will see the introduction of a new 1.5 TSI petrol engine.

This 147bhp four-cylinder unit comes with active cylinder management (ACT), which means the engine disables certain cylinders when they aren’t needed, in a bid to help save fuel.

On a combined cycle of inner city and motorway traffic, it achieves 57.6mpg whilst emitting 110g/km of CO2, and an even greener BlueMotion version of the 1.5 TSI engine is also being finalised with an anticipated mpg of 61.4 at 104g/km CO2.

To further curb CO2 emissions, a newly-developed seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox will replace the old six-speed auto-boxes.

New GTI

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI

All this talk of CO2 limbo and greener-than-thou engines is all well and good but what about the iconic GTI?

Yep, the GTI will remain in the range and it is now more powerful, producing 226bhp, 10bhp more than before. This means that the standard GTI has as much shove as the Performance version before it, in turn pushing the new Golf GTI Performance’s power output to 241bhp.

The Golf will continue to be offered in three-door, five-door, GT, GTE and estate forms too. The R and GTD versions are likely to follow a few months down the line.

Talk to your Golf

2017 Volkswagen Golf

The Golf has become the first compact car to come with voice command operation. Drivers can control certain functions in models with the range-topping Discover Pro system using just their voice.

Biggest screens

2017 Volkswagen Golf interior

The Golf now comes with the biggest touchscreens in a car its size after VW replaced all infotainment systems across the entire Golf range with new, high-resolution, more advanced interfaces.

The previous five-inch, 400×240 pixel display is now a 6.5-inch, 800×480 pixels system. Similarly, 6.5-inch displays have been replaced by eight-inch screens, while models with this eight-inch display now come with a 9.2-inch screen.

Price

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The OTR RRP of the updated Golf has not been confirmed yet but prices are rumoured to start from around £18,000, which means all these fancy upgrades won’t affect its affordability.

You can order one from February 2017, with the first models being delivered to customers from April.

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