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Volkswagen Golf review: The magnificent seven

By Roger St Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Published 20/07/2016

Volkswagen Golf has remained the template against which hatchbacks are measured
Volkswagen Golf has remained the template against which hatchbacks are measured

Evolution, not revolution has been Volkswagen’s mantra for its best-selling Golf ever since the original model was launched, way back in 1974.

It doesn't take a Jeremy Kyle to suss out that from then on the DNA has been handed on through seven generations, countless awards and well over 40-million sales.

Compare the original to the current rendition and there’s a clear lineage.

Though it has faced some very strong competition down those years the Golf has remained the template against which all family-sized hatchbacks are measured.

Settling behind the wheel of the Golf Mk VII was, then, like getting re-acquainted with an old friend.

Spoilt for choice? Well, there are many variants to be checked out in what is a very extensive range, with prices ramping up from an affordable £17,625 for the entry-level S rendition to an eye-watering £35,820 for the 296-bhp four-wheel drive R version. Now that’s serious money, but you get a truly hot hatch that can outperform rivals costing as much as £10,000 more.

For our test, we opted for the mid-range company car friendly Bluemotion 1.6 TDi diesel model, which has more than enough oomph to keep the average driver more than happy.

They’ll be contented too with the superbly supple ride and confidence inspiring roadholding and handling, as well as a choice between a slick six-speed manual shift or a six-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox.

Golfs have long been noted for their quietness and our car masked out extraneous wind and road noise better than most, though the engine rattled a bit when cold.

The VII’s interior has a real air of class, with outstanding ergonomics and quality trim materials

Coming off the dealer’s forecourt, the Golf is more expensive to buy than the competition but it is capable of an 83.1-mpg fuel consumption figure and limits emissions to just 89g/km while retaining a commendably high value on the resale market – holding close on half its original purchase value after three years and 36,000 miles of usage.

This particular model is also now available with  A 1.0-litre petrol engine that can achieve 65.7-mpg.

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