Volkswagen Golf SE 1.4 TSI
Wednesday 08 April 2009
You can always tell when there’s a new Golf on the block - err, no, actually you can’t.
Spotting the next Mark Golf from the previous is a bit like one of those puzzle games we used to do as children; you know the two pictures look almost identical at a glance but you are urged to spot ten differences anyway.
Well, I can’t promise to find ten on the new Golf but the front lights do look a bit different and so do the rear. Well that’s two then and no prize for me.
A casual glimpse of the "new" Golf and it couldn’t be anything else could it. It seems odd to go to the trouble of reinventing the wheel only for it to look like the wheel - but that’s what you have got with the Golf.
But we shouldn’t be too harsh or critical of its evolution as the model still sells by the bucket load whatever Mark is on the logbook.
It may have inherited the new corporate nose, lifted off the face of the Sirocco and rear lamps that ape the Tiguan, but it remains very much the same.
Conservative - with a small c - buyers will love it and it’s a look that will never date, whereas more radical designs tend to. Some would say it's a classic shape that reflects the model’s heritage of being the hatchback to start all hatchbacks. Others might simply nod off and buy something more exciting.
It gets away with its comprehensive but safe redesign only because it is so good to drive. Now forget the look and forget the Golf's functional frill-free interior. It may not inspire but it all works very nicely and feels it will last forever.
The true triumph comes in the technology. New Golf is supremely able and drives considerably better than its dowdy appearance suggests.
The TSI packs a modest 1.4 litre petrol engine easily capable of returning 40+ miles per gallon. But bolted somewhere under the bonnet is a natty turbocharger which boosts power and torque across the rev range.
It means TSI is extremely sporty to drive and very quick. The 122PS doesn’t sound a lot but it certainly feels way more than adequate. What you have is a Golf GTI in the making, albeit one that is much more affordable to buy, run, tax and insure.
Levels of refinement are also off the scale. It is just incredibly smooth whatever revs are showing on the familiar clocks.
And the ride is truly brilliant blending perfectly the need for tautness with bone-cosseting comfort. It also handles like a dream and the brakes, six speed gearbox and steering are perfect partners for the willing motor.
The new Golf really should not be judged by the dust cover which protects some significant leaps in technology which make the VW a fresh and enjoyable experience to drive.
Model: VW Golf TSI
Engine: 1.4 litre, turbo-charged four cylinder petrol
Drivetrain: Six speed manual
Top speed: 124 mph
0-60mph: 9.5 secs
Insurance group: 7
Miles per gallon (combined): 45.6
CO2 (g/km): 144
Price: from £15,962.00
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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