By Wayne Gorrett
Faultless, functional and a classy world-beater, VW’s new Golf is an outstanding car, combining quality and efficiency better than many rivals.
No hatchback holds broader appeal.
☀ ☀ ☀
I will be the first to admit that I’m one very, very lucky chap. My new vocation allows me to drive many cars every year. During all of 2012, I drove 84 different cars with varying degree of likeability. This year in early June, I was handed the keys to Car #43 for 2013 – the seventh and latest generation of Volkswagen’s Golf – a poverty-spec S variant with the 1.2 TSi petrol engine, mated to the WAG Group’s latest 7-speed DSG gearbox.
Frankly, I was unprepared as I was taken aback at how truly remarkable it is to drive.
It had been a while since I had driven a Golf (the fourth or fifth, I think). First noticeable thing is the plain, almost utilitarian interior, followed by how comfortable the chairs are and how ergonomically correct all the switchgear is and how naturally the driving controls fall to hand.
Setting off reveals this cars best selling point – the unexpectedly high level of refinement. I swear you could have heard a pin drop, it was that quiet. The remarkable DSG auto gearbox went calmly about its business with almost no audible and perceptible detection.
Next was the car’s evidently reserved handling – something that has characterised VW Golf for decades. The beautifully cushioned ride and well weighted steering give the Golf a dynamic advantage over its rivals. I then started to wonder what could be the car’s single-most outstanding selling point? It doesn’t have one because it isn’t supposed to. This car’s qualities are not so much easy to overlook as intended to be taken for granted. On material quality, rolling refinement, usability and functional simplicity, the new Golf is outstanding.
Granted, outright performance, ride and handling, cabin practicality and fuel efficiency may not be exceptional, but all come highly commended. The Golf’s desirability as an all-round package endures. Add competitive pricing and low ownership costs and the armour is complete.
Find fault with it if you can; we certainly couldn’t.
Fast Facts – Golf S 1.2-litre TSI 105PS 5dr 7spd DSG:
Basic RRP: £19,575
Power output (PS @ rpm): 105 @ 5,000
Max torque (lbs ft / Nm @ rpm): 129 / 175 @ 1,550-4,100
Top speed: 119 mph
0-62 mph: 10.2s
Fuel economy: Combined – 56.5 mpg
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
Insurance group: 11 E
Warranty: 3 years / 60,000 miles; 3 years paint; 12 years body protection
Breakdown assistance: 1 year Volkswagen Assistance (UK & Europe)