The undisputed benchmark when it comes to the family hatchback, the Volkswagen Golf is still arguably the best car in its class. The Golf is available in many guises. This article relates to the model in general.
The Volkswagen Golf is available with an array of petrol and diesel options ranging from the economical Bluemotion models to the high performance power houses. The first engine is the 1.2TSI with 85 or 110bhp mated to a 5 or 6-speed manual gearbox. There is also a 1.4TSI ACT with 150bhp with a 6-speed manual also available. Diesel options range from a 1.6TDI with 90 or 110bhp mated to a 5-speed manual or a 2.0TDI (depending on your trim level) with 150bhp with a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission. There are also the high performance Golf GTD with 184bhp, GTI with 210bhp, GTI Performance with 230bhp and the Golf R with 300bhp. The GTE version offers 204 hp, a top speed of 222 km/h and it covers 0-100km/h in just 7.6 seconds.
What makes the Golf the attractive option it has been for the last 40 years is its build quality from the ground up. The MQB platform in this latest generation Golf 7 improves performance and refinement. No matter what model you go for in the Golf range, you are treated to a comfortable ride no matter the environment. It’s also more fun to drive thanks to an almost perfect combination of nicely weighted steering, a slick manual gearbox and balanced handling. Move up to the higher performance models and this becomes even more apparent. In terms of an engaging drive, the Ford Focus probably still pips the Golf for that complete fun factor.
The Golf is available with a choice of four different trim levels before moving into high performance territory. These are Trendline, Comfortline, Edition-R and Highline. Entry level Trendline specification is nicely finished with features like matching door and side trim panel, leather steering wheel and gear knob, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, electric windows and a 5.5 inch touchscreen with infotainment. Higher trim levels like Comfortline bring additional features like adaptive cruise control, LED lights front and rear, Piano black inserts on the dashboard and alcantara seats to name a few. While Edition-R gets a unique bodykit and alloy wheels.
The Golf has always been the benchmark when it comes to family hatchbacks and it is still the case. The interior design and quality of the Volkswagen Golf is second to none. The use of quality materials and contrast piano black inserts and chrome trims ooze quality and sophistication. The Golf is arguably not the best looking hatch on the market, but when it comes to interior style and quality, no rivals come close. From the steering wheel, to the seats and the quality of materials used, everything feels solid and superior to the touch with switchgear that works with precision.
The Golf also scored very well in Euro NCAP crash testing, scoring the full five star rating. Entry level models come with a good level of safety technology that includes features like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, post-collision braking system stopping the car from carrying on into a second collision, tyre pressure monitor, ISO-FIX and a full set of airbags. Further optional safety items include, hill assist, emergency braking system, seat belt tensioners and auto close of windows and sunroof if a collision is detected.
The Golf is available in three or five door guise in each of the trim levels mentioned above. All models are sitting on the MQB platform which means space is good inside too. There is generous head and legroom for rear seat passengers fitting three adults with comfort. Cabin storage space is good too with a central cubby, cooled glovebox and storage beneath the front seats. Boot space is a healthy 380 litres which extends to 1270 litres with the rear bench folded flat. Because of the large electric battery, the GTE only offers 272 litres.