It’s hard to believe but the new generation of the popular VW Golf is in its seventh incarnation.
The new Golf is lighter, safer, more advanced, more spacious, more efficient and better equipped than previous generations of Europe’s best-seller, of which more than 29 million have been sold – some 1.6 million of these in the UK.
From launch, the Golf is available in three trim levels: S, SE and GT (GTI and BlueMotion models join the line-up in 2013). Four petrol engines and two diesel engines are available, in either three- or five-door form.
Prices for the new model are starting below those of the previous model, at just £16,285 and rising to £24,880.
Mind you, there’s a lot more competition for this vehicle which comes well equipped with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, XDS electronic differential lock and Isofix preparation for two rear child seats. The entry-level Composition Media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, a CD player, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), Bluetooth telephone preparation and audio streaming and eight speakers.
Also standard is ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning, among a host of other features.
The petrol engine range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85 PS. The diesel engines at launch are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS and a new 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS unit.
All new Golf models – both diesel and petrol – come with a Stop/Start system as standard, along with battery regeneration. Gearboxes are a mixture of five- and six-speed manuals, and six- and seven-speed DSG units, depending on the engines’ power and torque outputs.
Moving from S to SE trim brings an outstanding range of features, including standard ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which can even bring the vehicle to a complete halt if necessary, a Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, Driver Profile Selection, rain-sensitive wipers, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and dusk sensor (automatic driving lights).
The GT model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, ‘Cherry Red’ rear light clusters, heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights, and front and rear parking sensors with visual display. Inside are gloss black inserts, Alcantara and cloth sports seats, LED reading lights, ambient lighting and the Discover Navigation media system with 5.8-inch colour touchscreen.
Options include high beam assist, lane assist, park assist, ACC adaptive chassis control, a rear-view camera, Discover Pro navigation system with eight-inch colour touchscreen, keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof.
All-in-all the Golf will appeal to its army of admirers and with its hefty advertising campaign is sure to move lots of units. As I said earlier, there is more competition now from cars that offer more for less money (for instance, have a look at the Skoda Octavia range).
Again, it might be a wise choice to lease a VW Golf rather than buy one.