Volkswagen's Latest Golf - A Week Behind The Wheel
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 has been Europe's best selling car since it arrived in 2014 and UK sales are especially strong.
One in every three Volkswagens sold to UK buyers is a Golf and with the German manufacturer keen to restore faith in its products following the emissions scandal, a new Golf hit the showrooms earlier this year.
Those expecting anything radical clearly don't understand VW's policy of careful evolution whereby each new rendition of the Golf subtly improves the model in key areas.
Furthermore what is now on offer is Golf 'Mk 7.5', so we are talking a mid-life facelift.
Styling has been gently tweaked with a revised front bumper and the option of LED head and tail-lights on all editions.
Technology updates are more significant especially with regards to the all-important infotainment system. All Golf models now feature a standard eight-inch colour screen (an increase of two inches), while the range-topping Discover Pro system in bigger still. Resolution is better too, so expect to find a sharper and crisper display.
The bigger screen boasts a motion sensor feature whereby sweeping motions with your hand are all it takes to scroll through the various menus. It sounds great in theory and will amuse for a short time, but in reality touching a screen is a more intuitive and reliable way of accessing the necessary information.
In a further development, back seat passengers will now be able to link their smartphones to the infotainment system and thereby control the music played through the speakers. Clever stuff but perhaps a mixed blessing which will allow your children to choose the tunes...
The latest Golf will eventually be offered with a wide choice of drive systems, with petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and all electric versions available to UK buyers.
On test here is the more powerful version of the 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine, boasting a heady 110PS and mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
Performance is brisk, with the diminutive powerplant good for a sub ten second sprint to 60mph. Of greater importance is the performance on the road and only on the hilliest terrain does the engine's lack of grunt come into play.
The DSG gearbox shifts cleanly and smoothly and has a 'sport' mode for those in a hurry. It can be a little dim-witted at low speeds as the automatic clutch takes up the drive, but it is something you soon become accustomed to.
With a distinct move away from diesel, much focus is now placed on the smaller petrol engine and Volkswagen quote an optimistic 60.3mpg for the combined cycle. My week saw occasional bursts of 50+mpg, with 46.5 being the overall figure at the end of the test period.
I have no doubt that diesel power would have yielded another 10mpg or thereabouts, so higher mileage drivers might well be advised to take that route.
CO2 emissions are commendably low at just 107g/km and the BIK tax rate is 20%.
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Options fitted included the rather striking Turmeric Yellow paint (£570) and upgraded 'Karlskoga' alloy wheels (£615). Avoid the latter as their greater dimension and lower profile tyres upset the Golf's low speed ride.
Handling in this most humble Golf is safe and secure. If you crave excitement then a GTi variant should be on your shopping list.
The latest Golf continues to offer a hard-to-beat combination of comfort, performance, efficiency and practicality. There is also a certain classless appeal that rival manufacturers can only dream about.
I therefore predict that the Golf is well and truly on course for continued success.
Volkswagen Golf SE Nav 1.0-litre TSI
Price as tested £23,335
110PS 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged engine
7-speed DSG automatic gearbox
0-62mph in 9.9 seconds
Top speed 122mph
Economy 60.3mpg (combined cycle)
Emissions 107g/km CO2
Insurance Group 13E
Warranty - 3 years/60,000 miles
Volkswagen's Latest Golf - A Week Behind The Wheel, 8th September 2017, 16:54 PM