VOLKSWAGEN has always taken a cautious evolutionary approach when launching new models of the iconic Golf since the first appeared nearly 40 years ago but it has always remained the class leader so it is no surprise that the latest seventh generation Golf has just been voted Europe’s top car in 2013 writes Bryan Longworth.
For a panel of leading European motoring journalists has just awarded their coveted annual Car of the Year award to the new Golf which is likely to remain Europe’s top car after sales of nearly 30 million since the first model was launched way back in 1974 even though the competition is catching up.
The latest Golf is very similar to the previous model despite being 100kg lighter which Head of Design, Walter de Silva, describes as “continuity” but the new car is also larger with more rear and front legroom plus more shoulder and elbow room.
And at the rear there is more luggage room under the hatchback with more than 30 litres extra space load area and there is now 380 litres of space with a space saver spare wheel underneath which is something of a rarity these days.
On test was the Golf S 1.6-litre TDI with BlueMotion technology which produces better fuel and lower emissions costing £19,565 on the road and the diesel engine producing a top speed of 119mph, zero to 62mph time of 10.7 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg.
This was the lowest powered of the two diesel engines but with its very low emissions it did an excellent job both on the motorways and up steep Pennine roads and I would have no hesitation in going for this power unit because with it being so smooth, quiet and frugal.
Standard kit included VW’s very good multi function computer which also allows the driver to have an easy to see digital speedometer as well as the conventional speedo but the test car only had steel wheels with plastic covers which is rather usual on a car that is not an entry level model.
Also standard was automatic post collision braking system that slows the vehicle down automatically after a bad accident to reduce the remaining kinetic energy thus avoiding more subsequent collisions.
As with all Golfs the steering and handling were superb which is one reason why they have proved to be so popular over the years and the five manUal gears slotted into position so positively and precisely it made gear changing a real pleasure.
New Golf has a very comfortable and spacious interior with nice trim and instrumentation that combine to create a very pleasant ambience for the driver and passengers.
Overall these various features combined to create a very enjoyable test period especially over one long journey in particular when the mpg was in the 60’s Which enabled me to see just why the Golf has become such a popular vehicle over the last four decades and why it must be set to clock up another ten years to make it 50.
I said earlier that VW stylists adopt an evolutionary approach to each new generation of the Golf but by comparison to the square and angular first generation the latest Golf is really quite sleek and streamlined and who knows it may eventually go on to surpass the longevity record held by the mighty Beetle!
My Verdict: Another big hitting Golf has arrived.
Model: New VW Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion.
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel.
Output: 105PS @ 3000/4000 rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 119mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph: 10.7 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 74.3mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 99g/km.
Price: £19,565 on the road.