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The Top Gear car review: Volkswagen Golf/Golf SV
For:Latest Golf improves a car that was already the class leader
Against:It could be more fun to drive...but would buyers want it to be?
1.6 TDI 105 SE 5dr
Not quite the EV to replace petrol cars, but mighty close. The all-electric era is nearly here.
Is the GTE two cars for the price of one? TG tries out the 201bhp petrol-electric hybrid hot hatch.
We take a spin in VW’s all-electric hatch. Is this, finally, an EV that makes sense for normal people?
We’ll be testing the new GTI on this Sunday’s show – here’s a hot version to whet your appetite
Our first test of the most powerful production Golf ever. On a frozen lake in Sweden.
Incredibly confident, engaging and very well refined. But maybe you should buy the cheaper Leon FR instead?
Obviously, we’ll tell you to go all out and get a GTI. But if you want to save pennies, this is a fine, well-sorted eco machine.
The GTI vs its upgraded Performance Pack version. Fight!
New Golf gets the ultra-eco treatment. Click here if you’re interested in ECONOMY
Efficient, fast, confident. But there’s a fly in the ointment…
More than ever, the Golf is all things to all men and women. But in hitting every target, it denies you deep driving satisfaction
We’re back in the iconic hatch, this time without the Performance Pack. How does the standard car stack up?
So, is this still all the car you’ll ever need? Jason Barlow finds out…
You might think it po-faced and humourless, but you just can’t argue with this sort of comfort, economy and quality
If you can find a motorway long enough, this is the car to drive it with. One of TG’s favourite eco cars.
A very nice car, but not actually the hot hatch it pretends to be. And deceit is really quite a bad thing.
The definitive all-rounder for a world in crisis. Cars don’t come more complete than this.
Still the best hot-hatch on the market, even if it’s lost some of that vital visual understatement.
There’s nothing here that will blow your mind, but it’s all where it should be and all works well.
New Golf, new levels of refinement. Even the petrols are better.
Why can’t more eco cars be like this? No leafy logos or pompous wafflings here, which is just how we like it.
In uncertain economic times, you’d do well to buy a car with a good pedigree, like a Golf. And, as luck would have it, the mark 6 is right on hand
Funny how the game of one-upmanship can play out with car manufacturers. At one point, if you had a turbo or supercharger then you were pretty...
Everything’s meant to get bigger and better when it’s replaced, right? So when VW launched the new MkV Golf GT TDI back in 2004, it confused us...
What, exactly, is the point of a four-wheel-drive car? During my test drive of the new Golf 4Motion, VW implored me to drive on some snow they’d...
By the time you get to the fifth incarnation of a car, you should really be getting the hang of things, and as VW has been building the Golf for...
It has to be said, the golf is something of a monster success story. Which is encouraging in the days of an industry blighted by over-supply and...
Luckily for us, VW decided upon the letter R to signify its hot new 3.2-litre Golf and not S, like its Audi stablemate. Today’s launch venue is...
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Golf GTi, so you’d think that after a quarter of a century of development the car would still be the...
It was to be a bank holiday weekend to remember. The plan was to get behind the wheel of the Porsche Boxster S we had in for a group test, fold...
I must admit that I’m not the most technically minded of the Top Gear staff. If ever the topic of conversation swings around to torque or...
What we say:
The Golf enters its seventh incarnation. And this time it's more revolution than evolution. Well, sort of
What is it?
Unlike the outgoing Golf MkVI, this is more than just a comprehensive and clever facelift. The Golf MkVII really is an all-new car. But instead of radically redesigning the hatch, VW has come up with… a Golf. When you’ve sold 29 million of ‘em, you don’t throw away a formula that’s so successful. Instead, you improve it. Which is why no stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of perfection.
Given how the old one was already the class leader, this means every other family hatchback should rightly be worried. You can sense the disquiet at Ford and Vauxhall: here’s cash-rich Volkswagen starting from scratch. And just to further compound things, it’s radically improved the Golf’s high-rise cousin, too. Bye bye dreary old Golf Plus, hello smart new Golf SV.
The headline here is the ride, which is little short of a revelation. It absorbs, isolates and simply glides above the disturbance of Britain’s knackered roads. Yet, with less weight up front and all-new suspension, the chassis also delivers more feedback and grip than you may expect from such a supple ride. Sure, you’d never call it agile, but for progression and precision, it’s fine – albeit better on higher-end multi-link rear suspension than the penny-pinching torsion bar setup of lesser cars. The new Golf has some interesting new engines along with the familiar (and still able) TSIs and TDIs from the old one. The 150bhp 1.4 TSI ACT is most meritorious, with an ingenious cylinder shut-off feature that lets it run as a two-pot when power demand is low. You can just about tell when it’s doing so but the transition is buttery smooth, and it really does offer the best of both petrol and diesel.
On the inside
Golfs have been defined by their interiors for years and this one doesn’t disappoint. It delivers a real sense of calm, orderly wellbeing but, thanks to the new platform, also has a lower and comfier driving position, better layout and generally makes smarter use of the space on offer.
No doubting the quality either, while the top-level sat nav’s proximity-sensing feature is genius. You get all this in the Golf SV too: you also get even more room, practicality and boot space.
Because it’s lighter, the new Golf is yet more fuel efficient. Even the standard 1.6 TDI matches the old Bluemotion’s 99g/km CO2 figure, while the greenest Golf is now, like most others, 15 per cent more efficient. The cut-above prices remain but you get even more for your money. As it’s cheaper to run and safer, it’s hard to see how any rival can compete.