The Volkswagen Golf has been around for seven generations, so it’s not hard to understand why it’s arguably the best hatchback ever made. The current 7.5 version is kind of like being in purgatory, you know the 2020 8.0 version will be better but at least you haven’t gone backwards. Chris Bowen takes a look this week at the Volkswagen Highline model.
What is it?
The most well-known European hatchback put simply. The Highline variant is just one step below the GTi and is appropriately equipped.
Behind the Wheel
It’s very hard to fault the Golf. With seven generations under its belt into one should NOT be surprised about such a polished performer. The Golf is just a magnificent drive, being expertly tunned to be a purposeful runabout but remaining capable of delivering a fun and secure drive. In fact let me put it this way, you really can have a red hot fang.
The interior is a cut above those offered by South Korean and Japanese competitors. Everything is just bolted and screwed together with precision. The drive is also ultra-quiet which really showcases the build quality, the only squeak or rattle you’ll hear will be coins or keys rolling around the various storage areas.
The smallish 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine won’t win at the dragstrip, but it does offer a super refined and surprisingly swift experience especially when the RPM’s are dialled up.
The 7.5 version of the Golf hasn’t changed much visually, but it need not to anyway.
The Golf is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine that produces 110kW and 250Nm of torque. It’s matched to a seven-speed DSG gearbox, that is probably the only weak point of the entire package. It still falters occasionally; its main issue is hesitation especially when pulling away from a set of lights or when entering a roundabout for example.
The Golf comes preloaded with park assist, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, rear traffic alert, blind spot monitor and autonomous emergency braking. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. Our test car was fitted with a $2,300 Sound & Vision Package that includes a high-resolution instrument display screen plus a glorious 9.2-inch centre touchscreen. There are some really nice graphics in the sound menu that made be smile with satisfaction. The sound system gets bumped up to a Dynaudio Excite 400W system with a 10-channel digital amplifier and subwoofer.
Volkswagen has just announced new driveaway pricing on the entre 7.5 Golf range. So, in this case a standard Golf 110TSI Highline costs $34,990 but as mentioned you can lay down an additional $2,330 for some extra goodies. A panoramic sunroof adds another $1,900.
The Golf is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. You do have the option of a three-year Volkswagen Care Plan that allows for fixed price servicing for three of five years with free roadside assist. So that’s $1100 for three years or $1900 for five years. Fuel efficiency is rated at 5.4L/100km although we are currently averaging 9.4L/100km.
Why Would You Buy One?
The is a certain aura about the Golf, which is probably due to its longevity and perceived European quality. There are some great alternatives, but I’m tipping if you’re buying a Golf you’ve also previously owned a Golf.
This is a car that does everything right. From a driving dynamic perspective, I believe it’s near perfect. Some may point to the DSG transmission and be dismissive, but I believe the lighting quick gear changes are worth putting up with its idiosyncrasies. The cabin is beautiful, and the infotainment presentation is near flawless. It’s a 9.4 from me.
Chris was EFTM’s Motoring Editor for many years, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.
He has now left EFTM, and writes freelance and runs his own Facebook Page “Bowen’s Garage”