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Review: VW Golf Hatchback

September 7, 2013

Volkswagen have long been the benchmark of the family hatchback market and, with their perennially popular Golf now on its seventh generation, the German manufacturer shows no signs of slowing down just yet. It’s a highly competitive market, however, and, with strong competition from the likes of the Ford Focus, Renault Megane and Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen can’t afford to rest on their laurels. So, has the new Golf managed to take the brand forwards? Or is this a model that’s in danger of becoming stuck in the past? If you’re considering investing in a VW, this might be the model for you. And while the Car Loan Warehouse can take care of your Volkswagen finance, the decision’s all yours.

Overview:

While the Mk7 Golf is longer and wider than the Mk6, it’s also around 100kg lighter. The new Golf is also lower than its predecessor, contributing to a sportier look and feel. The interior has been completely redesigned and comes with bang up-to-date options, such as an eight-inch touchscreen. You also have the usual option of various engines, with eight different specs to choose from across four Golf variants – the S, SE, BlueMotion and GT. All of these models come with the option of a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. With the four different versions on offer, you’re looking at a price of £16,495 – £25,090 depending on options.

Drive:

One of the great things about this range is that turbocharging comes as standard. At the lower end, the 1.2 petrol versions deliver between 84bhp and 103bhp, while the 1.4-litre petrols produce 120bhp and 138bhp. Thanks to the weight reduction compared to the Mk6, this new Golf is more agile than its predecessor, while the adaptive steering technology helps keep the steering easy and feeling light at lower speed, making it much faster and more responsive if you need to floor it.

With all variants providing plenty of grip, the Mk7 shows very little body roll through corners – and all engines, even the diesel, remain quiet and smooth right up to motorway speeds. Both types of gearbox deliver the kind of precise, effortless performance we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen, making the overall driving experience seamless and enjoyable.

If there’s one downside to the new range, it’s with the BlueMotion economy version. This provides a somewhat different driving experience, with its 1.2 litre engine offering a much lesser speed than its more expensive siblings with, unfortunately, handling that is nowhere near as impressive.

Comfort:

Given that the quality of our roads is not always as good as that of our German friends, it’s good to see that, for the most part, the Mk7 continues Volkswagen’s tradition of great ride comfort. The suspension is generally good here, with the set up in the higher end models successfully smoothing out all but the most extreme bumps. You also have the option of five different modes − Normal, Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual − allowing you to adjust the setup to your taste and environment.

Sadly, the 1.2 petrols and the 1.6 diesel don’t perform nearly as well. Thanks to a cheaper, less advanced setup, you’ll really feel those imperfections on UK road surfaces. But with that said, even at this lower end, the ride is still comparable (and often superior) to rival family hatchbacks.

Reliability:        

The Mk6 Golf managed to grab a respectable 16th place in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey – which is unsurprising, given Volkswagen’s strong reputation for reliability. However, this was a drop of eight places from the previous year and, overall, VW only managed 16th place in the manufacturers’ rankings, although this was an improvement on 2012, when they only reached 18th. However, the usual combination of high quality German engineering and materials continues to deliver solid, robust cars which are made to last − ideal for the family hatchback market.

Practicality:

The Golf is a family car through and through and, as such, the new larger dimensions give a welcome boost to both boot and passenger space, with space now for three average-sized adults in the back. As always, VW have paid attention to the finer details with neat little touches, such as rear seatbelt holders designed to prevent snagging when folding the seats down – and a ski hatch in the rear bench, making it infinitely easier to manoeuvre larger items into the boot.

Extras:

The Mk7 comes with a completely redesigned interior and includes options such as an eight-inch touchscreen and an auto-parking system, bringing the range bang up-to-date.

Summary:

The new Golf is definitely a step forward for this old favourite, keeping the best of the old while moving the brand forward to give increased comfort and enhanced performance. The new interior is finished to a good standard and this remains a reliable, practical set of cars, ideal for the family market. On the downside, the entry-level versions do suffer significantly in terms of performance and comfort, and – inevitably – some critics will always view the Golf as more of a boring, safe option. That said, these cars remain popular with families for a reason – they’re highly affordable and, overall, you get a lot of car for your money.

If you’re sold and want to get your hands on your own VW Golf Hatchback, then it’s time to think about your VW finance. Why not take the stress out of finding the money for your new car and contact The Car Loan Warehouse? We’ll help you find the right Volkswagen finance for exactly when you need it so you can secure your dream car.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.