Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Solid build quality
- Low emission Bluemotion model available
- Classy Interior
- High running costs
- Expensive compared to rivals for the same level of equipment
The VW Golf is a great little hatchback and although it looks similar to the previous generation it is a completely different car technically and the interior build quality has been improved to the standards of the Golf's of old. There are a wide choice of engines all offering great efficiency and power with the newest of the Bluemotion diesel engines being free to tax as it only produces 99g/km of CO2
Exterior and Interior
The exterior of the Golf hasn't changed much in recent years with only a few tweaks being applied on this new model. The last generation Golf was criticized for having a poor quality interior compared to its predecessor, but thankfully VW have rectified this by using the same high quality materials in older models whilst maintaining the user friendliness of the previous model. The seats are all comfortable and supportive with there being enough head and legroom in the back for two adult passengers, although three will be a bit of a squeeze.
The boot space comes with the same 350litres of the previous model, but the opening is wider enabling you to now get bulkier items in easier. The storage space can be increased to 1305litres by folding down the back seats but they don't go completely flat.
There is also ample space around the cabin with large door pockets, a large central cubby box and a decent sized cubby hole. The build quality and the materials used give you the confidence that they are unlikely to break or fall apart and they wouldn't be out of place in a more expensive car. The centre console is easy to use with a good touch screen stereo system and well laid out air-con controls.
There are three main trim levels to choose from called the S, SE and GT. All Golf's come with air-con, CD stereo system, central locking, seven airbags, electric front windows, multifunction display and an Electronic Stability Program as standard. There are several optional extras which include Automatic Distance Control which maintains a fixed distance from the car in front as well as ParkAssist where the car parallel parks itself and Adaptive Chassis control. The GT trim also comes with 17-inch alloys, stereo system with USB and iPod connectors, two zone climate control, lowered suspension and rear tinted windows.
Performance and Economy
The two engines carried over from the previous model have been tweaked to get slightly more performance and economy out of them, but they are really made redundant by all the other engines on offer. Firstly the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is more efficient than the smaller carried over version at 45mpg and is also quicker by 4 seconds from 0-60mph managing it in 9.2 seconds.
The top of the range TSI 1.4-litre petrol that is super and turbocharged produces 160bhp racing from 0-60mph in just 7.7 seconds and manages an impressive 44mpg, offering excellent performance, economy and driving abilities.
The two small 1.6-litre diesels are also made fairly redundant by the more powerful and efficient engines starting with the 2.0 litre engines. The first in the range, the 110bhp engine is very economical managing 63mpg and isn't too much of a slouch off the line either going from 0-60mph in just over 10 seconds. The 140bhp engine isn't far behind with 58mpg and 9 seconds from 0-60mph and the final and most powerful diesel engine in the range manages 0-60 in an impressive 7.8 seconds which is 1 split second behind the most powerful petrol, but manages an extra 11mpg than it at 55mpg.
The real jewel of the diesel engines though has to be the 1.6-litre Bluemotion technology that produces 103bhp, goes from 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds, which isn't the fastest, but is still no slouch, however it's the fuel efficiency is what impresses most with 68mpg. This was further improved with the new engine that was introduced in 2009 and it now manages 74mpg and is free to tax as it only produces 99g/km of CO2. Insurance costs start at group 8 and work their way up depending on the engine size.
Like to Drive
This Golf is comfortable to drive with a superb driving position that can be adjusted to suit any driver. This is largely thanks to the adjustment levels in both the steering wheel and drivers' seat. The visibility is good all round with the large windows and thanks to the new and improved insulation levels, it is incredibly quiet, although some noise can be heard around the doors at 70mph. The ride is also extremely supple with the suspension smoothing out all of the bumps making motorway cruising a dream. It corners precisely as well with its well balanced steering and with minimum body roll. It is great to drive down twisty country lanes taking the bends in its stride flowing easily from one to the other never losing its composure with plenty of grip.
Faults and Repairs
So far the Golf is fairing pretty well although it still has to stand the test of time. The few reported issues include electrical glitches and the air-con not working properly. Some drivers have also reported not being able to manage the official fuel economy, although this will always be partly due to driving styles. The Golf will also cost more than its rivals to repair and maintain.