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First off, it did not have tar­tan seats. That is re­served for the GTI. In­stead we had posh Vi­enna leather seats.

Was it fun to drive? Yes, it was. But more than that—and we think you’ll find this de­tail more im­por­tant—the first thing you’ll no­tice is that the car gives you con­fi­dence. Not in your­self—be­cause if you’re al­ready choos­ing to drive a car like the Golf, you should al­ready be sure of who you are—but about the car. The Golf is solidly built that you im­me­di­ately feel noth­ing will fall apart in the car even as you go well past the speed limit. Every­thing feels so to­gether, no rat­tling of any sort, and the car just sets it­self down the road with un­re­lent­ing fo­cus. This is where VW’S vaunted German en­gi­neer­ing re­ally comes to fore.

Now, about the Golf’s looks not quite reach­ing great-look­ing lev­els. We think our English re­source per­son’s as­sess­ment stems from the car not be­ing loudly styled. Hon­estly, when we look at the Golf, we don’t think au­to­mo­biles. We think ar­chi­tec­ture. We are re­minded of Bauhaus, the In­ter­na­tional Style, form and func­tion, min­i­mal­ism. It’s as though the Golf was de­signed with as few as five lines on pa­per. And if you care to look at it from the side, please di­rect your at­ten­tion to the rear pro­file, where the gas lid is. Stare at the an­gles, the sym­me­try of it. You can’t get any more German than that. The Golf doesn’t look like an in­sect, the way a Ja­panese car would. It looks like a car. It blends in while stand­ing out.

Is it re­li­able and prac­ti­cal? Let’s see: 520+kilo­me­ters on a full 50-liter gaso­line tank? Yes. Gen­er­ous space for four adults? Yes. Taste­fully de­signed in­te­ri­ors? Yes. Re­spon­sive engine? Yes. Safe? With the kind of build it has, def­i­nitely yes.

So, can we agree with Europe that the Golf is the best all-rounder? Yes.

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