2023 Volkswagen Golf safety upgraded, manual dropped

The Golf Hatch and Wagon range is getting key safety and technology updates for 2023, though the base manual won't be returning to Australia.

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The Volkswagen Golf is getting some safety and technology changes for the 2023 model-year, starting from June or November production depending on variant.

Set to be introduced across the line-up, all versions of the Mk8 Golf will offer nine airbags – including a front-centre airbag, as well as rear side and full length curtain coverage.

Base Golf and Golf Life models will be first to feature the nine-strong airbag suite from “late June production”, while Golf R-Line, GTI and R variants will follow from “late November production”.

In addition to more airbags, all MY23 Golf variants will get revised Lane Assist and Travel Assist safety systems, which the company says “can more accurately detect narrow roads”.

“Should a driver move close to the outside line of the lane due to a narrow lane, the system will no longer attempt to move the steering away from that line and will advise the driver to take control,” Volkswagen says in its media release.

While there are no distinguishing exterior changes for the 2023 model-year, all Golf models will get a new steering wheel airbag cover, while Golf, Golf Life and Golf GTI versions get new door trim inserts. GTI models also get embossed sports seat covers – images of these interior changes are yet to be released.

The Digital Cockpit and Digital Cockpit Pro digital instrument clusters also will “more readily show the digital speedometer even when pop-up information is shown in the cluster”.

Finally, the entry-level Golf with six-speed manual transmission has been discontinued for the Australian market, making the new entry point the eight-speed auto-equipped Golf hatchback priced from $34,690 plus on-road costs.

While that technically raises the entry point as the manual was a couple grand cheaper, the return of the base hatch variant for MY23 means the entry price drops from $36,390 for the similarly equipped base Golf Wagon.

Pricing is otherwise unchanged across the line-up, carried over from MY22.

2023 Volkswagen Golf pricing:

Golf Hatch

  • Golf 8AT: $34,690
  • Golf Life 8AT: $36,990
  • Golf R-Line 8AT: $39,990
  • Golf GTI 7DSG: $54,990
  • Golf R 7DSG: $65,990

Golf Wagon

  • Golf Wagon 8AT: $36,390
  • Golf Life Wagon 8AT: $38,990
  • Golf R Wagon 7DSG: $68,990

All prices exclude on-road costs

MORE: Everything Volkswagen Golf

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James Wong

James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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