VW lifts game with Golf

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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