The VW Golf is probably one of VW’s best-selling models, some even say that it is the world’s second best-selling model. The Golf’s awards and accolades dates back to the Golf GTI MK1 which won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1985 and again in 2015 with the MK7. The Golf was also voted European Car of the Year twice, once in 1992 and another time in 2013, then we have the World Car of the Year award, and the list goes on.
Whenever I think of a VW Golf, I’m always reminded of a hot hatch. There have been extensions to the Golf, literally, in the form of the four door Jetta. But if I had to choose between a Golf and a Jetta, I’d have to go with the more versatile Golf, please.
With this in mind let’s move on another variant of the Golf, called the Golf Variant. I’ll have to admit I’ve always had a soft spot for estates. Yes, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s like durian ice-cream, you want to have durian and but also feel like having some ice-cream. The Variant does just that, it drives like a car but comes with ample storage space just like an SUV. Hmmm… I think it is time for some durian ice-cream.
The Variant feels well engineered, the ride is quiet and supple yet capable round corners. The 1.4L turbo charged engine produces 125 horses to the tune of 200Nm torque is definitely no slouch. Mated with VW’s renowned seven speed DSG transmission, the Variant feels extremely responsive and punchy which belies the diminutive 1.4L power plant.
On the inside, the Variant keeps to the Golf tradition of impeccably high quality finishing and feel. In the Variant, you get the top-of-the-line in-car entertainment system with a whopping 8-inch touch screen. The Bluetooth pairs easily with any phone although the Apple Carplay feature offers IPhones more functionality. There is nothing much to complain here except for the navigation system, it’s slow to load, the maps can only be updated by the agent and there’s no traffic info. Reminds me of an old Garmin Sat Nav unit a friend used to own.
And a few other niggles…
The idle start-stop system can be quite a nuisance. The engine seems to takes half a second too long to wake up whenever I step on the throttle. By the time it decides to wake up, my foot is already halfway buried down the throttle and the car leaps forward. People must be wondering who the lunatic behind the wheel is. Of course, you can turn it off but you will have to add it to your pre-flight check list. The system turns on by default whenever the car is started.
Park assist is a great idea only for times when you need help parking in a lot between 2 cars. The thing is, I couldn’t find an empty parking lot between 2 cars for the park assist. After going 2 rounds round a carpark, I finally settled on parking space between a large column and another car and let park assist take control. Bad idea! Park assist wanted to get friendly with the pillar. Don’t get me wrong. Park assist works well in the right conditions. For the times it doesn’t, you need to learn how to park.
Niggles aside, the Golf Variant to be honest is still an excellent all-rounder. The car feels sporty and composed, the interior is well designed and comfortable with more than ample storage. It is definitely a good choice for a small family.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Volkswagen Singapore and after some arm-twisting by the wife. Read her account here.