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VW Golf Estate 2.0TDI BMT 150 DPF GT DSG Auto estate review
02 May 2017
Author: Danny Cobbs
LED rear lights, 8in colour touchscreen, Bluetooth, R-Line styling pack, bag hook in cargo compartment, Adaptive Cruise Control, parking sensors, SD card reader.
1.0 TSI 85PS
1.0 TSI 110PS
1.4 TSI 125PS
2.0 TSI 230PS
1.6 TDI 115PS
2.0 TDI 150PS
2.0 TDI 184PS
S, SE, SE NAVIGATION, GT, R, ALLTRACK
5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 7-speed DSG
While the VW Golf Estate has remained a top-quality load-lugger it was beginning to show signs of age. But now, hot on the heels of the recently revised Golf hatchback, there's a new model with more tech, a fresh look, extra safety kit and an average price reduction of £650 across the range.
To the uninitiated, the new - and we'll use this term lightly - Golf Estate appears little different from the outgoing model. Essentially, it's a mid-term 'nip n' tuck rather than a fully blown revamp. The front end has been redesigned, receiving a new grille, bumper and LED headlights.
The changes to the rear are even more subtle: a remodelled bumper and LED tail lights (now standard) are the full extent of it, except on higher-spec cars, and then they get the Audi-style pulsating indicators. A broader palette of paint schemes and a different choice of wheels succinctly complete the Golf Estate's external facelift.
The interior hasn't changed much at first glance, either. It still oozes quality and attention to detail, with passenger and cargo space remaining as before - 605 litres with the rear seats up, 1,620 litres folded flat. Look very carefully and there are a few tweaks within the cabin to justify this model being called 'new'.
But let's face facts here - no one has ever opened up the door of a Golf and thought to themselves, "Heavens to Murgatroyd, what drugs were they on when they designed this?" The interior still errs on the side of sensible rather than the sensational.
New trim to the door panels, gear shift and centre console liven up the interior, and the revised seat covers do add another dimension to the usual shade of grey. However, if you're expecting to be dazzled or amazed by a thrillingly new and exciting cabin layout then you'd be better off choosing one of the Golf's rivals, such as the Peugeot 308SW or Civic Tourer.
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That said, VW has improved and upgraded the infotainment system with a larger, higher-resolution display screen. At the top of the range there is a new 9.2-inch touchscreen with a crystal-clear resolution. As well as a proximity sensor, the new Discover Navigation Pro infotainment system features gesture controls, which replace the manual shortcut buttons with glass ones.
It looks great and operates like the latest tablets or smartphone, with the screen requiring just a light touch, flick or pinch to access certain functions, and it's totally configurable with Apple CarPlay and Android AutoPlay, too, although the lack of a physical button can become frustrating after a while.
As before, buyers can choose from six trim levels, divided into S, SE, SE Navigation, GT, R and Alltrack, the all-wheel drive, rufty-tufty version. Standard kit has been increased across the entire range, with even the entry-level specification receiving an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity and the functionality to read, compose and send text messages.
Other than the S trim, all models now receive adaptive cruise control and Traffic Jam Assist, which makes stop-and-go driving more tolerable and also adds pedestrian detection for autonomous emergency braking, blind spot warning and a rear traffic alert. If you're planning on using the Golf Estate as a tow car, as many owners do, then there's a new trailer assist feature that helps with steering while reversing.
Forget the new, stay with the tried and tested
Mechanical changes are also few and far between, but there is a newly developed DSG gearbox, the inclusion of a new 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine with cylinder management, and more punch for the 2.0-litre GTI (230hp, or 245hp if you go for the performance pack).
While there's the option of the hybrid GTE or an all-electric-powered E-Golf, Volkswagen predicts the 1.6-litre TDI SE NAV with a five-speed manual transmission will be best favoured by fleet users, just as the outgoing model was. This diesel has claimed combined consumption of 70.6mpg and emissions of 103g/km, which gives it the lowest running costs and BIK in the range (excluding the GTE and E-Golf).
It should be noted that this isn't the most engaging of engines, and it does tend to drone a little, yet there's plenty of low-rev torque on offer, and as an overall package it still feels very composed; so sure-footed in fact that you need to remind yourself this is the estate version and not the hatchback. Then again, first and foremost, this is Golf, and Volkswagen hasn't spent this amount of time and effort over the years getting it so right to start getting it wrong now.