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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
Model price range
Service, maintenance and repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
Badge prestige, efficiency and great RVs. Hard to fault
Badge prestige, efficiency and great RVs. Hard to fault.