Road test of the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion by Green Car Guide
Model/Engine size: 1.9 TDI
Fuel economy combined: 62.8 mpg
Can the solid Volkswagen Golf also be an efficient green car? This family hatchback achieves 62.8 mpg, which suggests that VW has indeed found a way to combine sturdy engineering with good fuel economy.
The Golf just feels a like a solid car the moment you take hold of the gear lever, which seems as though it’s connected to the gear cogs by an iron girder rather than having the flimsy feeling associated with some other cars in this class. The solidity is also evident in the driving experience. The Golf BlueMotion feels like a heavy car, but it does manage to achieve economy of well over 50mpg on a regular basis in real life driving.
It’s not the most exciting car in the world to drive, but you buy a Golf for its dependability, not its fun factor. It’s a good-sized package – not too big on the road, but big enough on the inside. And it just feels well built – although slightly dull, especially in the dashboard design department.
The BlueMotion badge means that VW has taken a diesel Golf and made it really efficient but without doing anything too expensive. This has been achieved by adding longer ratios for third, fourth and fifth gears, remapping the ECU to reduce engine idling speed, making the car more aerodynamic – it sits 15mm lower – and fitting low rolling resistance tyres – which do seem to exhibit less grip on the limit.
The Golf’s diesel engine is noisy at low speeds, however the overall package is not as loud as the Polo BlueMotion, which has shed its soundproofing in the quest to lose weight. If not the most refined of engines, the 1.9TDI unit does have good levels of torque. The Golf is perfectly comfortable and very stable on a motorway run, when the revs are low.
The results of the engineering tweaks mean that the BlueMotion emits just 119g/km of CO2 so ensuring it sneaks into VED band B, which is just £35 a year. It also comes with a diesel particulate filter.
In Match trim the Golf has alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, rear electric windows and an MP3-compatible stereo. As you might expect, the solid image is accompanied by good levels of safety and security, such as six airbags and stability control.
The BlueMotion is around £500 more than the standard 1.9 TDI but the payback should happen in around three years based on road tax and fuel costs, and in less time than this if fuel prices continue to rise sharply.
The Ford Focus ECOnetic is a natural rival – it’s slightly more economical, and is generally accepted as being better to drive. If instead you prefer a green car to have a feeling of solidity and dependability, the Golf BlueMotion could be for you.
Fuel economy extra urban: 74.3 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 48.7 mpg
CO2 emissions: 119 g/km
Green rating: VED band B – £35
Weight: 1251 Kg
Company car tax liability (2008/09): 13%
Price: £15,570 (From £12,255 to £26,780)
Insurance group: 6
Safety: Euro NCAP 5 Star
Max speed: 116 mph
0-62mph: 11.3 seconds