The considerable success of the Volkswagen Audi Group illustrates why platform sharing has become a mainstay of the modern car industry. Intriguingly, sharing so many bits between VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda presents buyers with some unique dilemmas, as the stiffest competition is often ‘in-house’.
In this case it’s the Golf Estate which manages to win the internal battle thanks to the 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission and the respective BlueMotion and Ecomotive efficiency kit that aim to optimise fuel use by a combination of mechanical and aerodynamic features.
If you are after an estate car that doesn’t sacrifice boot space to swooping lines, you will be pleased to know that the Golf will swallow a very respectable 605 litres with the rear seats in place. If that doesn’t suffice, and you are willing to jettison a few passengers, folding the rear seats liberates 1620 litres.
As they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however we would like VW to let the design team off the reigns more often as the Golf looks solid, sensible, and dependable but it doesn’t exactly get the heart racing. Of course this has long been the case and it hasn’t stopped UK buyers signing on the dotted line in outrageous numbers so VW clearly knows its audience well.
The Golf remains reassuringly expensive and exceptionally well finished. If you are after a usable estate car with strong fuel economy and excellent refinement the Golf does fit the bill. Where it falls short is in the fun stakes, both behind the wheel and through the camera lens. If entertainment isn’t top of your list you can join the (lengthy) queue at your local VW dealership now.