Seven generations is a lot. The Golf has been around for a long time and with the previous six iterations going down pretty well, there must have been a few nerves, as well as expectations, when Volkswagen started developing the latest model. So has VW built on its previous successes or buckled under the weight of expectation?
At first introduction, unless you really like Golfs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a Mark 6 model. The kindest word for the styling approach is ‘evolutionary’. Clearly VW doesn’t want to put off previous buyers but surely there was more scope to branch out a bit? However, the interior is well judged with a high quality and well laid out dashboard fitting of the Golf’s reputation as one of the most mature small family cars.
We’re glad to report that there has been more progress on the mechanical side. Under the bonnet VW has introduced its most efficient Golf engine ever thanks to the latest iteration of the 109 bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel unit. As well as offering fantastic fuel consumption, there is also decent poke on offer with 184 lb.ft. of torque between 1,500 – 3,000 rpm and peak power arriving very soon after between 3,200 – 4,000 rpm.
To give the new engine a helping hand VW has improved the already slippery Golf’s aerodynamics by 10% (Cd 0.27) by focusing on the whole of the car including the floor which is often neglected, has fitted super low rolling resistance tyres with higher pressures, installed even longer gear ratios, and has reduced the weight of the oily bits by 26 kg and the body by 37 kg.
The Golf remains a middle class icon with increased practicality and efficiency adding weight to the argument that it is Das Auto. Volkswagen was initially slow to bring fuel efficient models to market, but it is now a major player in the low carbon sector and the Golf is an excellent example. If you’re looking for a car with really low CO2 emissions but don’t want to compromise on premium feel, the Golf is the pick of the bunch.