New Car Review
The VW Golf formula is a like Coca Cola in that you don’t alter a successful recipe. However the Golf, which created the “hatch” category and is still the world's bestselling hatch, has made a successful recipe better in the 7th generation Golf.
Value for money
The seven model Golf range starts at $21,490 for the Golf 90TSI 6 Speed Manual up to the 110TDI Highline 6 Speed DSG at $34,490 and given the level of standard features it is pretty good value for a European brand. We tested the mid-range Comfortline variant.
All models get cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and USB interface, daytime running lights, air conditioning, electric windows, electro-mechanical power steering and an electronic parking brake. There is also a multi-function touchscreen dashboard display that shows everything from radio stations to fuel economy graphics. The cool thing about the screen is that it has a proximity sensor which senses when a hand is approaching and automatically switches to operating mode and will recognise wiping movements by the fingers such as the wipe and zoom movements you use on a smart phone.
In addition the Comfortline has a rear view camera, front and rear parking distance sensors, dual zone climate control air conditioning, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, automatically dimming interior rear-view mirror and drawers under the front seats.
Volkswagen offer a capped-price servicing programme which costs $2112 for the petrol models over 72 months, or $2371 for the diesel over 72 months.
Design and Function
The new Golf is built on an all-new platform and thanks to thinner, stronger steel the body is 23kgs lighter than its predecessor. An important part of the Golf recipe has been useable space and with 60:40 split rear seats the Golf boot space is pretty good for the class and the Comfortline also has a cargo opening at the middle of the rear backrest for longer items.
Besides the seven airbags, the Golf has a comprehensive suite of additional safety features as standard which include driver fatigue detection which detects waning driver concentration and warns the driver with a noise lasting five seconds. A visual message also appears on the instrument cluster recommending taking a break from driving. If you do not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated once. So how does it work out who is drowsy and who isn’t? At the beginning of each trip, the system analyses a range of factors, including the driver’s characteristic steering behaviour. Once underway, the fatigue detection system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle. It compares the steering behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip and when it recognises the characteristics of lack of driver input it starts the warning process. The Golf also has a multi-collision brake system which automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident. The system is triggered by the airbag sensors and keeps the brakes on so that if the driver has not full control of the car it stops it continuing to move after the accident and striking another object. A driver assistance package costing $1,300 is also available on all but the base model Golf, and consists of adaptive a cruise control system, plus collision alert including VW version of emergency autonomous braking that they call City Emergency Braking which operates at speeds below 30km/h. The package has the latest generation of park assist for hands free parking that not only assists parking parallel to the road, but also reverse parking at right angles to the road.
On the road
It is a hard act to pull off but the Golf has both great performance and close to class leading fuel efficiency. It is a rare double and achieves it by having the 1.4TSI with 90kW make the most of its impressive torque across the rev range. The technologies that make this happen are the direct fuel injection supported by a very narrow single-scroll turbocharger and backed up with a Stop/Start system for saving fuel at the lights. It does however need the more expensive premium 95RON petrol to make it all work. Available in either a six-speed manual transmission or DSG gearbox and the DSG problem of the previous generation Golf appear to be behind them now. It’s one thing to have good tractable power but another thing to get it to the ground and the Extended Differential Lock - which debuted with the Golf GTI – is now fitted across the range.
The 7th generation Golf is lighter, safer, more powerful, more fuel efficient and more spacious and is bound to continue the sales success it has had.
Volkswagen Golf Comfortline 90 TSI 6 speed manual: