Volkswagen Golf 2013
It’s been a few years since I last drove a Volkswagen Golf but it would take a lot longer than that to erase the memories.
I approached the new 2013 Golf 1.6TDi with an open mind – well as open as it could be whilst straining to subdue my undying love for its predecessors. As has been the case on many occasions, we had a job to do on this particular weekend, which involved well over 500 miles of gruelling donkey-work for any car, including a rush-hour run from South Wales to Tonbridge, two days of property viewings in both Tonbridge and Tunbridge wells and then a jaunt up into central London, an overnight stay there followed finally by a motorway run back to Cardiff.
A wet morning greeted us before our trip up the M4. We had to be there in time to view a flat at around 11 o’clock, so we decided to leave at breakfast time in order to be there with time to spare. As luck would have it all roads flowed smoothly and no delays were experienced.
Like before, it didn’t take long for that well-restrained smile to break its bonds once on the road. There is something very special about the Volkwagen Golf and I always find it impossible to describe exactly what it is; I think it all revolves around the ‘feel’ of the car as a driver. It seems to have an uncanny ability to let you drive with the minimum of effort, with a solid and refined feel to everything you do. I suppose it’s almost like not actually having to drive it. It simply goes where you want it to without you even realising you actually drove it there yourself.
It’s not the fastest or most powerful in its class, but everything about it oozes quality and good design. I know we’re all shaped differently, but everything seems to be within reach; you never have to stretch to reach a control, you don’t have to contort your legs to operate the pedals; even your idle bits are catered for – the armrests being exactly where your weary arm happens to be, a footplate to place your inactive clutch foot on while trundling down the motorway is exactly where it needs to be. Everything about it is exactly right! Such brilliant design all round.
When you’re covering lots of miles, I always think that a good indicator is how fresh you feel when you get out at the other end. The Golf’s journey was so effortless it was hard to imagine we’d actually just driven almost 200 miles when we pulled up outside the estate agent’s in Tonbridge, only to find that the property we drove up to view had just been taken off the market. Oh well, plenty more fish in the sea, they say (the estate agents, that is!).
The BlueMotion technology in the 1.6TDi engine also makes for some very economical motoring, with stop-start functionality keeping things quiet in heavy urban traffic too. Noise levels inside are extremely low for a car of this price, especially when idling. It was hard to tell at times whether the stop-start feature had kicked-in or not. Road noise was also very low and all but the most severe of the bumps were absorbed comfortably by the relatively soft suspension. It is a real go-to-sleep car for the passengers.
With wide-opening doors and ‘isofit’ child seat fittings, it makes for a very practical family car for those with little ones. It has a large and easily-accessible boot which will comfortably swallow up all your paraphernalia in addition to your golf clubs.
The ‘S’ configured version I drove is already very well appointed, but additions like cruise control and steering wheel controls already found in the higher-spec’d models would make all the difference and would make the car stand head and shoulders above just about all of its competitors out there.
Otherwise, apart from a tendency for the fabric upholstery to generate Van-de-Graff inspired ladies hairstyles on exit, it was extremely difficult to fault. The Volkswagen Golf continues to be an excellent quality and extremely well-built family car.
Model Driven: GOLF S 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS 5dr 5spd manual.
Price OTR £19,565.00