Volkswagen Golf Review
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Volkswagen Golf Tested January 2009
Recommended Volkswagen has raised the stakes with the mk6 Golf. Excellent composure, classy refinement and superior quality make it one of the best cars in this sector. Read our Volkswagen Golf review to find out more.
At first glance it may be tricky to tell the difference between this new Golf and the mk5. It's the same size car as the old model, so there's no extra legroom or space in the boot, but then this was never an issue in the previous car anyway.
The facelift has given the Golf much sharper looks, however, as it takes on some of the design features of the Scirocco. Inside, the Golf profits from an updated dashboard and additional soft-touch materials around the cabin, and although there are few noticeable changes, the build quality is excellent.
Volkswagen has gone to extraordinary lengths to improve the Golf's soundproofing by fitting an additional layer in the windscreen and ultra aerodynamic wing mirrors to ensure the mk6 is quieter than ever. And it's perceptible too. The level of refinement is such that the Golf feels like a much larger car and without doubt it deserves a place towards the premium end of its class.
The Golf is an easy car to drive, and feels composed and solid on the road. Bumps are handled without a song and a dance, and the car's handling is proficient - the chassis has remained for the most part unchanged from the mk5 Golf.
There is a good choice of decent engines on offer, from the entry-level 1.4-litre 4 cylinder petrol unit, up to the 2.0-litre TDI 140. The pick of the range is the 1.4 TSI petrol engine - both turbocharged and supercharged - available in 122 and 160bhp variants. Both feel responsive and also brisk; the 122bhp version offers only slightly less performance than the TDI 140, and both 1.4 engines will return an impressive 45mpg.
The only downside to the Golf is the price you must pay for that refinement and quality, and certainly if you're looking for mid-spec equipment levels together with one of the higher powered TSI or TDI engines, the premium can get quite steep. That said, CO2 is less than 150g/km on most models (except the 1.6-litre petrol) so running costs should be pretty respectable.
The Golf has always set the benchmark for quality and refinement and, just as other marques have got closer, Volkswagen seems to have moved the goalposts once more. The Golf isn't the most dynamic car in its class, but the effortlessness of driving, and its ability to clock up mileage whilst providing the sort of comfort and refinement of a car in a higher class, makes it a very easy car to recommend.
Next: ratings and breakdown
1. Superior build quality
2. Refined and smooth ride
3. Easy to drive
We don't like:
1. Top end models are a little expensive
2. Not the most dynamic car in its class
3. Nothing else really
Most fun: 1.4 TSI 160hp
Most sensible: 1.4 TSI 122