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Volkswagen Golf: Test Drive Review

Date: 27 May 2013   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £20,445
Key rival: Ford Focus
On sale: January 2013

When we sampled the 2.0 TDI version of the new Golf late last year it was clear the firm was onto a winner, and now we've had the chance to drive the most popular 105hp 1.6 diesel version, that opinion is cemented.

The new model is up to 100kg lighter than the sixth generation it replaces, depending on the model, with VW pinpointing that as key to improving efficiency, claiming nearly a quarter of fuel consumption can be attributed to the vehicle's weight. The reduced mass also makes the car noticeably better to drive with sharper handling, while it's also larger inside despite the weight loss, with more passenger and boot space than the last one. Standard kit on the SE - the middle of three trim levels - offers an impressive array of technology including radar cruise control, DAB radio, Bluetooth, a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen for the infotainment system and the Precrash system that optimises the car's safety systems when it detects an imminent impact.

Efficiency for this best-selling 105hp SE model is an impressive 99g/km, with the official economy at 74.3mpg. Insurance groups have dropped by an average of four across the range and KwikCarcost puts RVs north of 40%, showing the absurdly strong appeal of the Golf for such a mass-market car. It's more than 10 percentage points clear of the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra, which gives it a comprehensive pence per mile victory despite this model costing well over £1000 more than the equivalent Astra or Focus. The 1.6, while only toting 105hp, is still adequate for regular use, although the 150hp diesel, still at only 106g/km, is the more appealing if strong performance is preferable.

The new Golf is better to drive, more practical, safer, cheaper to run and more efficient than its predecessor. Apart from the pricing, which has now tipped over £20k for even this mid-spec 1.6, hunting for faults is an almost futile and certainly pernickety exercise. The new Golf is a deserved 10 out of 10 car.

Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE 5dr
P11D price £20,445
Model price range £16,230-£24,825
Residual value 41.7%
Depreciation £11,290
Fuel £5132
Service, maintenance and repair £1395
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £1185
Cost per mile 41.3p
Fuel consumption 74.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 99g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month £44/£89
Service interval variable miles
Insurance (1-50) group 13
Warranty 3yrs/60,000 mls
Boot space min/max 350/1305 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/105hp
Top speed/0-62mph 119mph/10.7secs
On sale January 2013
Score 10/10
Verdict Badge prestige, efficiency and great RVs. Hard to fault


Badge prestige, efficiency and great RVs. Hard to fault.