VW lifts game with Golf
GOLF is a game that never changes, yet is never quite the same. It’s a similar story with the car. Anyone who knows the Golf knows exactly what to expect when Volkswagen starts a fresh round with a new model. It will look a certain way, drive a certain way and feel a certain way.
So the sixth-generation Golf is no surprise. And in a lot of ways it is just a mega-facelift update of the previous model, the super-good fifth generation that was great for owners but tough for Volkswagen to build at a reasonable profit.
The best news for Golf 6 buyers is that the price has been held at $25,990, with more value and a lot of tweaking of details as minor as the dash lamps and mirrors and even the quality of the optional leather trim. The engines are smaller but there is better efficiency and double-clutch gearboxes are available across the range.
Volkswagen is aiming high with the Golf, and not just because it is the backbone of the brand. It knows the competition is getting tougher as other manufacturers look to cash in on global downsizing and the trend towards compact cars.
Volkswagen also knows it must work harder in Australia because of the classy competition, particularly the Ford Focus, Mitsubishi Lancer and upcoming Mazda3 — which are clustered much closer to the $20,000 price point.
It is using the smoother new body, the powerplant choices, and an Audi-style emphasis on cabin quality to do the job.
There are six models in the new range, with a choice of three engines and three transmissions.
The $25,990 starter car comes with a 90kW turbo petrol engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, while the $35,690 hero is a 103kW turbodiesel with a six-speed DSG manu-matic gearbox.
The one in the middle is the 118kW contender with the same engine package as the GT from the previous model, using a combination of supercharger and turbocharger on the same 1.4-litre engine as the base car.
Volkswagen is following BMW with its optional equipment, which includes metallic paint and a sunroof to parking radar, satnav with ‘‘excite’’ sound, and adaptive chassis control with switchable settings to match the driver’s mood.