VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R
Not the R’s forte, but it’s got quality trim, satnav, twin-clutch auto, keyless entry and go, quality USB and Bluetooth equipped sound, sports leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, electric park brake, tinted and insulated windows and a sports exhaust. The VW wins on resale at 58 per cent and the first six scheduled services stretch to six years or 90,000km and a total of $3162 — $527 a year.
The most frenetic 2.0-litre turbo (206kW/380Nm) coupled with DSG transmission claims five seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint. Fuel use is impressive, averaging 7.1L/100km. Frontbiased AWD combines with adaptive damping, sports suspension and variable-ratio steering to provide a balanced and talented chassis.
Conservative and subtle but it’s a handsome hatch nonetheless. There are brooding bi-xenons and LED lights, trim tweaks, 19-inch alloys and reduced ride height. Practicality abounds, with adequate room for four adults and a reasonable boot. Comfortable and supportive seating particularly favours front occupants.
Five ANCAP stars. Seven airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, stability and traction control, auto-dimming mirror, driver fatigue detection, rain-sensing wipers and auto headlights. The parking sensors front and rear team with a well-executed reversing camera.
This is a quick little hatch — 100km/h in 5secs is serious squirt but it’s so smooth as to make it feel easy. Seamless gearshifts, clever AWD and a reasonable ride add to the unfussed aura, which is equally at home on a country back road or a school carpark. Lack of a true manual change is disappointing.