Volkswagen Brazil has launched its second update of the fifth generation Gol compact hatchback, Brazil’s sales champion for 27 consecutive years (1987-2013). The Gol is also the country’s production record holder with over 7.8m built since 1980, and the export leader with over 1.3m units shipped to 60 countries.

The advertising tagline is now “car for people” and market positioning is not to be beaten on price  by competitors.

Standard equipment has been increased and the average suggested retail price reduced 2.5% for the hatchback while the Voyage saloon’s sticker is down by 5.7%. Top line Highline trim models have extra chrome trim up front.

With three equipment levels, the Gol (still VW’s best seller) retails from BRL34,890/US$8,750 to BRL55,290/$13,850 while the Voyage saloon ranges from BRL40,990/$10,720 to BRL58.590/$14,700.

The Gol was lightly redesigned at front and rear (Voyage is unchanged at the back). This should be the last facelift tweak because a gen-6 Gol family is expected at the end of 2018 with a new Gol itself plus Voyage, Saveiro pick-up and the brand’s first SUV compact variants. 

The dashboard is completely new, the Golf’s multifunctional steering wheel has been borowed for the whole range and the instrument cluster is a third larger for better legibility and new functions.

Connectivity and infotainment is now a matter of honour for VW Brazil. There are four options including a 6.33-in screen with tactile and capacitive capability (zoom by swiping fingers).

For those here who appreciate real-time traffic routing, a strong, centre dash-mounted, mobile phone holder is provided as a free optional extra and includes a USB port for recharging via a short cable.

Last but not least, another highlight is the fitting of the Up’s one-litre, naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine replacing the same-displacement I4.

Power has increased to 81bhp versus 75bhp engine (both on ethanol) and energy efficiency (megajoules per kilometre) has improved 11%. No changes for the 1.6-litre which remains 102 bhp.

Despite being larger and heavier than the Up, the one-litre Gol and Voyage clearly perform better than before under acceleration from standstill, top-gear speed recovery and achievable top speed. As with all I3s, some additional noise and vibration are noticeable but the benefits in performance and fuel efficiency far offsets that.