Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -

VALUE Never bet­ter in this re­spect but one in which it com­mends it­self to Cars­guide’s Car of the Year judges. The step up from ba­sic 90 TSI is surely enough car for most. There are 16-inch al­loys, rain-sens­ing wipers, auto head­lights, dual-zone cli­mate, front and rear park­ing sen­sors with vis­ual warn­ing and re­vers­ing cam­era. Capped ser­vic­ing matches the Oc­tavia for du­ra­tion (ex­tended war­ranty avail­able). TECH­NOL­OGY This take on the 1.4 di­rect in­jec­tion turbo four is good for “only” 90kW/200Nm yet it’s am­ple for a 1233kg hatch. In­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion makes a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence, as does the ex­tended dif­fer­en­tial lock — a front-axle de­vice that un­der hard cor­ner­ing brakes the wheel with least trac­tion. Claimed fuel use is, strangely, slightly greater than the Skoda at 5.4L/100km. DE­SIGN In this re­spect the twins un­der the skin are least com­pat­i­ble — we’re talk­ing com­pact hatch and fam­ily-size car. But then no hatch so com­fort­ably seats a burly, tall fel­low in the back. You don’t get this head­room in some big­ger sedans. The choice comes down to lug­gage space — the Golf has a hatch av­er­age 380L seats up and 1270L down. SAFETY Shares the full five-star rat­ing from ANCAP, with seven airbags — the stan­dard six plus a driver’s knee bag — within the high­strength steel bodyshell. There’s a fa­tigue de­tec­tion setup, which mon­i­tors driver con­cen­tra­tion based on your be­hav­iour and sounds a warn­ing if you ap­pear to let at­ten­tion wan­der. DRIV­ING Joshua Dowl­ing at COTY: “If Rolls-Royce made a hatch this would be it.” The re­fine­ment is oth­er­worldly —yet this is classed as a small car. It’s no GTI in terms of thrust or han­dling but the hum­bler Golfs have never been closer to the iconic range top­per. The sev­en­speed DSG is su­perb, with low-speed re­sponse clearly im­proved.

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