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It’s been a long time since the last soft-top Golf. The wait’s been worth it

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

(from $40,350). You get du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol, hill-start as­sist, Blue­tooth and ipod con­nec­tiv­ity with au­dio stream­ing, 17-inch al­loys with 225-se­ries rub­ber and a glove­box that can be cooled.

Be­warevw’s of­ten­fe­ro­cious charg­ing for ser­vice and parts. It also needs pre­mium petrol.

TECH­NOL­OGY

Un­der the bon­net isvw’s pop­u­lar 1.4-litre twin-charger unit which com­bines tur­bocharg­ing and su­per­charg­ing for max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency and oomph. There’s 118kw at 5800rpm and a hefty 240Nm from 1500-4000rpm. Mated to the six-speed man­ual, fuel con­sump­tion is 6.6L/100km and drops a tenth for the not-so-smooth seven­speed DSG.

But it’s the soft roof that’s the clever-clogs com­po­nent. Usu­ally it’s im­pos­si­ble to make a can­vas-roofed car quiet, but the engineers have in­su­lated the in­ner and outer layer to vir­tu­ally elim­i­nate wind noise.

Thanks to four roof bows, the can­vas roof man­ages to keep its shape at all times.

It takes the elec­tro-hy­draulic roof just nine sec­onds to open and 11 sec­onds to stow, and can be op­er­ated at up to 30km/h.

Im­pres­sively, there’s no rollover bar. Rather there are au­to­mat­i­cally de­ploy­able rollover mod­ules which are trig­gered when the airbags are de­ployed. These units are in­cred­i­bly com­pact, al­low­ing for fold­ing back-seat rests rather than just a ski passthrough port, and the rear seat back has a 50:50 split.

And with the roof up or down there’s a rea­son­able 250 litres of bootspace.

DE­SIGN

Ob­vi­ously based on the Golf, the Cabrio also takes styling cues from the Audi A3 Con­vert­ible. But rather than be just a top­less Golf, the Cabrio has its own dis­tinc­tive and, dare I say it, sport­ingly mus­cu­lar look— it’s cer­tainly more sports car than cabri­o­let.

Within, the styling is typ­i­cal Vwand that means it’s ul­tra­prac­ti­cal and easy to use on the fly. But more than that, it’s also in­cred­i­bly well screwed to­gether and the ma­te­rial choice is first rate; in this price range no one makes a bet­ter in­te­rior.

There’s plenty of room in the front seats which are com­fort­able and sup­port­ive. And thanks to the rear-seat en­try aid, get­ting into and out of the spa­cious back seats (which seat two) is a cinch for us six-foot­ers.

SAFETY

Be­cause a soft-top car­ries no re­in­forc­ing roof struc­ture, the engineers have to make the body as strong as pos­si­ble. They’ve done a great job here. The Cabrio is free of scut­tle shake and feels just about as rigid as a hard-headed Golf.

The Cabri­o­let shares the Golf hatch’s five-star ANCAP safety rat­ing, runs five airbags, front and rear head re­straints, anti-slip reg­u­la­tion, elec­tronic diff lock, sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS and elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion and more.

DRIV­ING

This is a a tale of love and hate . . .

Around town I found the Golf Cabri­o­let to be an

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