A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to visit New Zealand. We knew we had quite a bit of driving ahead of us so booking a decent rental was important. I found Sixt have recently launched operations in New Zealand and have an awesome fleet available to rent, and some of the models are even guaranteed. We booked a Golf Mk8 for the five days and covered 1,400km in that time in the North Island. Upon pick up we were handed the keys to a 2-month-old R-Line.
I will start off with the good points. The car is nicely presented, and very smooth to drive, particularly with the new 8-speed torque converter. The ride in the R-Line is firm, and on undulating roads you feel the bumps, but it does sit nice and flat through the bends. The car changes through the gears quite seamlessly and accelerates from standstill much better than a DSG with the same engine. The interior is a really nice place to be, and the little touches like puddle lights and a really schmick digital display look the goods.
There were a few things that did bother me in the five days, the most frustrating was multimedia system. The wireless Apple CarPlay would drop in and out occasionally and we inevitably ended up just using a cord. Although the interior looks nice, the touch-sensitive buttons, particularly for the climate control which sits under the screen, are not intuitive on the move. I think having a button or knob for climate and fan speed are easier and more intuitive. Even the touch-sensitive buttons on the key fob found the car unlocking inadvertently on occasion.
On the last day we encountered a bit of wet weather and noticed a few more issues with the active safety features obviously not calibrating as well. The other thing that VW have removed from the latest generation is a button to disengage start/stop. I found this annoying on freezing mornings when you need the heat cranking and the engine to warm up.
All in all I enjoyed driving the car, but I think some of the decisions VW have made have been form over function.