The interior of the regular Mk7 Golf is a pretty straightforward, classy affair, and the R receives the kind of changes that are par for the course on a rapid but refined hatchback; a heavily sculpted steering wheel, aluminium-finished pedals and some gloss plastic trim are the highlights.
There are also new seats, finished in Alcantara and leather, which grip and support a driver without the long-term discomfort of something racier. All of our testers found a comfortable driving position, with only one complainant, who’d have liked the wheel to reach closer to the seat, to avoid an overly upright seatback. All of the switchgear, in typical Golf fashion, is easy to indentify and use.
Optional is a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox, whose manual override is sent to annoy us by having the upshifts and downshifts in the ‘wrong’ direction.
Still, there is convenience to be had in the shift from the regular Drive setting to a Sport setting (and back again) being a simple back-pull on the lever. Wheel-mounted paddles come as standard with DSG, mind.
Elsewhere, the R is as-you-were to the regular Golf. The rear seats are fine for most adults (although access is restricted a touch by large front seats in the three-door version) and boot space is competitive.