Volkswagen Golf SE 1.6 TDi 105 PS 5 dr 7 spd DSG

| May 15, 2013 | 0 Comments



We Are The Robots.

Volkswagen pretty much re invented the wheel when they launched the Golf Mk 1 back in 1974. I have owned two; a MkII Mars red GTi 3 door & a MkVI 1.6 TDi Bluemotion & have to say that despite looking at these cars through rose tinted specs, much preferred the MkII version. Purists I’m sure would belittle this & go for the MkI. The new Golf MkVII has brought the Golf full circle, from a small fun, practical family car which after each new incarnation, increased Volkswagens success, to a family car that now offers luxury motoring but at the price of a practical family car.



The new Golf is bigger, more comfortable, better equipped, handles thanks to an XDS system, an electronic differential, sublimely & is significantly quieter than the MkVI. Despite its increase in size, the new Golf is actually lighter, 100 kg lighter which benefits both economy an handling.The XDS system allows the wheels to turn at different speeds and can slightly brake an inside wheel in a corner while sending more power to the outside wheel. The XDS system makes a huge difference to the handling compared to the old Golf. For the first few days I was driving  the Golf, I couldn’t quite work out what was so much better about this model than the one previously. And then an epiphany !  It’s the ride & handling. This Golf is more nimble in corners, requiring less effort in tight bends & is as smooth as mustard on our pot holed British roads & importantly for long distance traveling, motorway quiet, making this Golf far more enjoyable to drive.



With brilliant emissions of just 99 g/km the 1.6 TDi is sure to appeal to company drivers wanting to save money. Fuel economy on the combined is a claimed 72.4 mpg. I was driving the DSG version of the new Golf, a model that I am told will increase in popularity especially amongst company car drivers & although I only drove the Golf for 300 miles in a week, I managed to average just under 45 mpg. As a comparison, the 1.6 TDi manual Golf which I drove for 24,00 miles from 2009 – 2011, averaged just over 50 mpg.



Step inside the new Golf & the familiar interior, if a little dull & unexciting, is there to greet you. All of the switches & dials are of a higher quality as is the remainder of the interior, which is much closer to BMW & Audi in its finish. The comfortable seats complement the improved ride & handling & the increased cabin size is most notable for the rear passengers & there are 30 more litres, 380 in the boot. Standard spec on the MkVII should be enough to keep everyone happy. The entry level media system includes a 5.8″ colour touch screen, DAB, CD player, MDI interface for iPod, Bluetooth & offers 8 speakers. Safety stretches to 7 airbags, ABS,HBA, ESP including EDL & Isofix fittings on two of the rear seats. My DSG version also offered the latest in safety with ADC, Automatic Distance Control, which included front assist, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, city emergency braking system & cruise control. There’s also a driver alert system, pre crash preventative occupant protection & an automatic post collision braking system, stuff that just a couple of years ago was only available on the Space Shuttle !



Now, it’s this kind of attention to detail, that has had the majority of motoring writers purring about the new Golf like it is the second coming & I can see their point. Jump into a Focus, Auris, Civic, c’eed, C4 or Megane & the Golf feels like the only place to be. But delve a little deeper, below the layers of gold & is the new Golf quite as good as people have been saying ? Looking at a number of VW driver web sites, there are a significant number of customers who do not want so much technology in their Golfs, possibly seeing it as something else that could go wrong, which is a fair point if a little prehistoric. Secondly, from a purely practical point of view, the new Honda Civic offers a superior load space with the rear seats folded down & a much more interesting interior for the driver & when I drove the new 1.6 diesel version, almost 10 mpg more on the combined cycle than I achieved in the Golf.



What I felt that the new Golf lacked though was something invisible to the eye, something that kept nagging away at me as I drove it around. After thinking long & hard it came to me. The new Golf is so damn good, so “Mary Poppins,” & now excels at so many things, that it has actually become somewhat robotic & soulless, the ” Kraftwerk ” of cars. This new version cannot be compared to Fords, Hondas, Renaults, Citroens, Kias & Toyotas, it has gone ” Premier League ” & now sits alongside both the BMW 1 Series & Audi A3 at the top of the motoring table. I have no doubt that this is what Volkswagen wanted all along with the latest Golf & boy have they achieved it.



For good or for bad, the new Golf is actually bloody brilliant, but it’s not perfect. It may improve your life, but it won’t change it. Just ask Manchester City fans after this years FA Cup Final. 4/5.


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Category: Car Road Tests, Volkswagen

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