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Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion
6/10

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Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion 1.9 TDi

Driven October 2008

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Saving the planet can be so self-righteous. Just look at the smirk on a Prius driver's face as he trundles along at 60mph in the middle lane. If only he knew the Golf Bluemotion that just blasted past is kicking out only slightly more CO2, while getting similar mpg. Eat that, hippie.

That's the thing with the Bluemotion Golf - it's entirely unpretentious. Essentially, it's a 1.9-litre TDI with less weight, longer gearing, better aerodynamics and a diesel particulate filter. All of which combine to increase mpg and reduce CO2, without sacrificing too much style or performance. And it's called 'blue' because that's the VW company colour, not 'green' or 'eco', just to please Swampy.

In fact, you can spec it in 'Match' trim, so it looks pretty much like any other smart Golf. And the suspension has been dropped to reduce drag, so it looks quite cool, without even meaning to.

Couple of downsides, though. The 1.9-litre diesel is noisy, and the long gearing requires a few counter-instinctive downshifts, which gets tiresome in traffic. But if you changed that, you'd harm the mpg.

Best keep this thing on a motorway then, where it really makes sense. It's even got a 745-mile range (in theory). And a bottle-opener in the armrest. Which might be useful, if your passengers feel like a beer on a, er, 745-mile drive.

At least they can toast that Prius driver on the way.

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