Vijay Pattni02 July 2013

First Drive: new VW Golf Estate

Volkswagen reveals another Golf variant: it’s the brand new Golf Estate

VW Golf Estate

That looks incredibly sensible.

You're right. It's the brand new Volkswagen Golf Estate, complete with a 2.0-litre TDI engine, a six-speed manual gearbox and enough boot space to transport many of your important chattels. Like crisps.

How many crisps can I transport?

Up to 1,620 litres worth, in fact (seats down), which is over 100 litres more than the outgoing Volkswagen Golf Estate. It's also 100 litres more space than you'll find in the back of a Ford Focus Estate, and 70 litres more than an Astra Sports Tourer. For crisp-transporting duties, then, the Golf happily trumps its rivals.

What about the rest of it?

Much as you imagine, to be honest. Very Golf-like. It's a fraction lower, wider and longer than before, has a low loading sill, offers a touch more legroom and elbow room, and sits on the same MQB underpinnings as the hatch (and many, many, many other VW Group models), meaning its a very good thing to drive. The ride is well damped and comfortable, the steering progressive and precise, it feels light on its feet and responsive. You feel a touch of extra weight around the back over its hatch sibling, but not enough to blunt a fine road presence. And anyway, if you really want to go that quickly in an estate, why not get a secondhand Audi RS4?

This all sounds a bit too sensible.

It is. The 147bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine is punchy, frugal (67.2mpg) and powerful enough to ensure your crisps are transported with haste: it'll do 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, and run on to a top speed of 135mph. So there's haste, but not ‘oh-god-my-pants-are-on-fire' speed. Other engines are available, including a 1.2-litre petrol TSI with 82bhp, a 1.4-litre petrol TSI with 120bhp or 137bhp, and a 1.6-litre diesel producing between 100bhp and 108bhp (the latter being the base for the Bluemotion engine).

Is there a ‘but' looming on the horizon?

Quite possibly. Because VW told us there won't be a GTI or R version of this Golf Estate, which is a shame, because fast estates are cool (even smallish ones ). A GTD Golf Estate is more of a possibility, we're told, but booted GTI and R versions aren't really the kind of fit VW wants for its performance brands.

So then, you're probably thinking, ‘why don't I wait for the new Octavia VRS estate?' And you'd be right. Yes, it's bigger than the Golf, plus you can get a hot version, and surely that's the reason you're reading this page, right?

Overall then, a good car for sensible people. But some of you aren't sensible...

The numbers

1968cc, 4cyl, FWD, 147bhp, 236lb ft, 67.2mpg, 108g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, 135mph, 1436kg, £22,990

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