CAPE TOWN - Ride quality, performance, practicality... Volkswagen’s Golf remains the benchmark for quality hatchbacks. Since its launch in 1974 over 29 million models have been sold globally with 323100 sold in South Africa since its local introduction in 1978.The seventh generation Golf made its debut at the Paris Motor show in September 2012 and in January 2013 the new model makes its way to South Africa.The new model will powered by a range of new petrol and diesel engines and will be available in three specification levels - Trendline, Comfortline and Highline.NEW ENGINE RANGERetail price ranges from R233800 for the 1.2 TSI 77kW to R334 800 for the 2.0 TDI 110kW.The petrol range consists of a 1.2 TSI (77 kW) coupled to a six-speed manual and a 1.4 TSI (90 kW) available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG. Topping the petrol range at launch is the 1.4 TSI (103 kW) mated to a six-speed manual. Diesel engines are the 2.0 TDI (81kW) mated to a five-speed manual and 2.0 TDI (110kW) available with a six-speed DSG.Built with on the automaker’s MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform, the model represents an evolution of the design we’ve come to expect from the Golf.DESIGNED FOR COMFORTAt 4.2m long, the new Golf is 56mm longer than its predecessor, with a 59mm longer wheelbase at 2.6m. The front wheels are positioned 43mm forward and the new model is 13mm wider (1.7m) and 28mm lower at 1.452m. Boot capacity has increased by 30 litres to 380 litres.Despite being larger, the new Golf is 100kg lighter than the outgoing model and according to VW, it is 23% more fuel efficient.Safety has been increased in the new model with the addition of a new multi-collision brake system which automatically applies the brakes after a collisionVW says, “The system significantly reduces kinetic energy following a collision and thus minimises the chance of second impact.”Inside, the controls have been redesigned and are now more angled towards the driver. Drivers will benefit from the automaker’s new touchscreen infotainment systems featuring digital radio, auxiliary inputs (including USB), bluetooth and trip information.Wheels24 will be attending the launch of the new model in Port Elizabeth from 31 January to 01 February 2013. Check back on our New Models section as we’ll publish our launch report on VW’s next-generation Golf.