February 18, 2018


VW_Golf_2.0_TDI_GT_roadtest_writeonmotoringFew cars boast the heritage of the Volkswagen Golf. Since its launch in 1974, Volkswagen has sold 29 million examples. Throughout that time there has been continuing evolution, development and refinement, although the car’s mission statement of ‘being the only car you’ll ever need’ has remained.

VW_Golf_2.0_TDI_GT_road_test_writeonmotoringAt first glance this new seventh generation incarnation appears near identical to its predecessor. However closer inspection reveals an all-new car. It’s based on the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform, which will be shared with all forthcoming cars under the Volkswagen Audi Group, including the new Skoda Octavia. Key benefits include a bigger, stronger and lighter body structure which utilises technology and safety systems that were previously found in more expensive models. Thanks to better aerodynamics and new engines, there’s better fuel economy, too.

Powertrain options include a 138bhp 1.4 TSI and 84bhp 1.2 TSI petrol and two diesels: a 104bhp 1.6 TDI and 148 bhp 2.0 TDI. The range will be joined by sportier GTD and GTI models later this year.

The three trim specifications – S, SE and GT – all include seven airbags, ABS with ESP, climate control and 5.8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.

SE adds a plethora of driver safety assistance systems including ADC Automatic Distance Control with City Emergency Braking, a Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection and Driver Profile Selection, which adjusts the characteristics of the car: from Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual. Predictably, normal appeared to offer the best real-world balance.

Inside is typical Golf. That means the overall fit and finish and quality of cabin materials is very high and wouldn’t feel out of place in cars costing twice as much. The GT’s Alcantara and cloth sports seats, ambient lighting and gloss black decorative inserts make the interior feel especially inviting.

Slightly larger exterior dimensions give a more spacious cabin. Taller occupants are well catered for thanks to 15mm more rear legroom. There’s also more shoulder and elbow room, whilst the boot has grown by 30 litres to 380 litres with seats up and 1,270 litres with them lowered – although they don’t fold completely flat. Thoughtful touches include a runner to prevent seat belts getting snagged and adjustable boot floor height.

The 5.8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system incorporating satellite navigation on our GT car can be commended for its intuitive functionality and connectivity, although CD sound quality from the eight speaker audio system was only average.

VW_Golf_2.0_TDI_GT_roadtest_writeonmotoring_03On the road the improvement in driving dynamics over the previous model is apparent. The 100 kg weight loss, new chassis and variable ratio steering, all combine to give a drive that’s enjoyably engaging when you’re in the mood, yet relaxing and comfortable the rest of the time. You’d be hard pressed to tell that the engine was an oil-burner, such is the level of refinement, and the ride, while firm, is composed and pliant. Road noise was slightly intrusive at speed, however, not helped with our car’s 17” 225/45 wheel and tyre option.

On paper the 148 bhp 2.0 TDI  musters a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, although in practice it feels quicker and while the six-speed manual gives greater economy, the six-speed DSG auto gearbox is a delight to use and proves quick-witted enough to exploit the engine’s generous 236 lb ft of torque, meaning overtaking can be accomplished with confidence .


Volkwagen have raised their game with the new Golf. It does everything better that’s it predecessor excelled at and more. This should ensure it continues to be the small family hatchback that all other models are judged by.


OTR Price: £24,880
Max Power: 148 bhp @3,500-4000 rpm
Max Torque: 236 lb ft @ 1,750-3,000 rpm
Max Speed: 134 mph
Acceleration: 0-62 in 8.6 seconds
Claimed MPG (combined): 62.8
CO2 emissions: (g/km) 119
Insurance group: 19E
VED: Band C



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