A bit of a stretch by Volkswagen to bill this as an all new model, but there wasn't much wrong the old one anyway. The engines are far more fuel efficient, but most wouldn't notice any change accept number plate.
- Fuel efficient engines
- Up market interior
- Build quality
- Unremarkable looks
- Expensive choice compared to rivals
- Small boot space
The design of the new interior is similar to the previous model but has been given a more upmarket feel. Cabin has been greater insulated against road noise, and there is ample leg room in the rear. Boot space is unchanged (smaller than others in this class - most notably the Ford Focus and Honda Civic), but the opening has been widened slightly to make it easier to load large items.
The Golf has accurate steering, and very little roll into corners. Standard stability control prevents the Golf from skidding, and it drives with plenty of grip. It isn't as enjoyable to drive as the Focus, but little else is. It feels meaty and full of Volkswagen quality, and the engines are little powerhouses with fantastic fuel economy.
The two petrol engines offered on the previous model have been tweaked for more efficiency. These are the 1.4 with 80bhp averaging 44mpg and 1.6 with 102bhp - available in manual 5 speed gearbox averaging 40mpg or 7 speed DSG averaging 42mpg. The 1.4 TSI petrol engine uses a turbo and super charger to deliver 160bhp whilst averaging 44mpg on manual 6 speed gearbox or 47mpg on 7 speed DSG. Diesel engines are superbly efficient and start with the 1.6 TDI. The 90bhp and 105bhp versions both average 63mpg but the larger of the two is available with DSG 7 speed gearbox. The Bluemotion version averages 69mpg and emits just 107g/km of CO2. Further developments mean the latest Bluemotion averages a staggering 74mpg. Of the 2.0 TDI units, there's a 110bhp with manual 5 speed gearbox, 140bhp with manual 6 speed gearbox or 140bhp with 6 speed DSG. The manual models both have a simply brilliant combined mpg of 57 while the DSG a high 52mpg.
The three trim levels available on the new Golf are S, SE and GT. Standard equipment includes 7 airbags, air con, CD stereo, and ESP. SE additions include cruise control, 16" alloy wheels, 8 speaker CD player with connection for MP3, USB and iPod. GT adds sports suspension, front fog lights, front sports seats, rear tinted glass, leather trim steering wheel, and 17" alloy wheels.
Options include electric sunroof, satnav, Adaptive Chassis Control system which varies the handling and suspension from normal to comfort or sports mode, Automatic Distance Control, and ParkAssist where the car basically steers itself through parallel parking manoeuvres into a space it has deemed big enough.
Need To Know
Best Models: 2.0 TDi with 6 speed DSG
Quality & Reliability
Value for Money