Do you remember when Australia used to win the Ashes in the 1990s? They’d triumph every time by a comfortable margin and it used to…
Do you remember when Australia used to win the Ashes in the 1990s? They’d triumph every time by a comfortable margin and it used to be so boring watching them sweep aside poor old England. Well, the Volkswagen Golf has been doing that for pretty much 40 years now, and, goodness me, it’s boring to hear how good it is all the time. So, we can either lie through our teeth in this review just to mix it up a bit, or let the Golf bowl us out as it has done since forever. Or perhaps we should re-write this bit and use a golf anecdote instead…
Well, if we’re honest it’s boring. Only the hot and spicy Golf GTI looks anything like seductive, and all the standard Golf models play it with a straight-bat. There’s very, very little that stands out about them, but the Golf has a reputation for quality, so it doesn’t have to show off in anyway. Think Roger Federer rather than Lewis Hamilton. Still can’t get the Golf anecdote quite right…
The interior of a Golf is well-made, and it feels a mighty step-up from the likes of a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra. The finish is exceptional and just feels like it’ll always be there in one piece, working like a dream. We can’t wait to see if that’s true in 40 years’ time. Bet it is, you know.
On the road
This is a tricky one for Volkswagen to get right because it must be a fun car to drive, but it also has to be comfortable and refined. This is because it should appear to be on another level to some of its rivals. It does it, you know. It can be driven with gusto and tackle corners with confidence and poise, or it can be set to cruise control on the motorway and waft along, handling the undulations much better than many contenders can.
Volkswagen states on its website that it can help you discover the Golf’s 11 trim levels and 23 different engine options, so we’ll let them do that for you as this could turn into a 3,000-word essay if we’re not careful. There really is something in there for everyone. They’ve covered near enough every base with petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric methods of propulsion available to you. The new 1.5-litre petrol engine named the ‘ TSI EVO’ is our favourite though, buzzy, nippy, and good on economy. Not too expensive, either.
Being a hatchback there aren’t acres of space for rear seated passengers, but there’s enough for anyone of a regular height to be happy enough on a long journey. If you’ve got two 6ft 4’ rugby lads to cart around regularly, we might advise you to look elsewhere though.
In the boot, there’s a decent 380-litres of space available so you can load up the car with a productive weekly shop’s worth of goods. With the rear seats folded down (and rugby lads taking the bus), there’s 1,270-litres of space.
It’s a Volkswagen, and the brand just doesn’t seem capable of making an impractical car, and that’s why they can be a little bit boring sometimes. Loosen up, VW! Perhaps not on this model though, eh?
Equipment – best of the bunch
You must be careful with Volkswagen because you can end up looking at a car you think is going to cost you £22,000, and leave with a bill for £32,000. There are 11 trim levels to choose from, ranging from basic ‘VW Golf S’ trim, all the way to super-powerful, road gobbling ‘VW Golf R’ – which is just as much sports car as it is Golf hatch.
The ‘SE Navigation’ is our pick of the bunch. It comes in at under £20k, and you get adaptive cruise control, navigation, climate control, DAB radio, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, and an emergency braking system. It’s a good Golf-shaped package.
The verdict, from Carsnip’s Editorial Chief, Tim Barnes-Clay:
Okay, it’s a boring choice. It doesn’t look all that interesting, it doesn’t go that fast (unless you’ve gone for a GTI or R) and it doesn’t really do anything to drop your trousers. But this car is loved by millions of people, and it goes about its business in a confident, understated sort of way. Pretty hard to beat the Golf, honestly.
- Inspires Confidence
- Great Handler
- Top Model
- Boring Looks
- Not that Spacious
- It's Expensive