Breadcrumbs

Volkswagen Golf

Car details navigation

Volkswagen Golf Mk4 Estate Car Review | July 1, 1999

Driven July 1999

Additional Info

Boom...boom... boom...da da-da daah. Hello, and welcome to Mastermind revisited. Please meet our first contestant. What is your name? Erm, Colin Ryan. And your occupation? Motoring journalist. And your specialist subject? The bleedin' obvious.

Your questions begin... now. How do you make a bigger VW Golf? Make an estate version. And what would it look like? Well, like a Golf at the front with an estate bit on the back. How about the inside? Er, like a Golf at the front with an estate bit on the back. With good-quality plastics and purply-blue lights in the dash? With good- quality plastics and purply-blue lights in the dash. Oh, and the tailgate release is activated by squeezing a rubber rectangle hidden inside the number plate recess - very BMW 5-Series.

How unattractive was the Mk3 Golf estate? Unbearably so. Does the Mk4 look any better? Yes, a little bit. Why's that, then? Mainly because of the intersecting lines around the rear pillars of the light cluster, tailgate and windows. What is the maximum capacity of the load bay, in litres? 1,470 litres, that's 286 more than the standard hatchback. And do the wheel arches encroach upon the loadspace? No, not much. How do the rear seats split? 60/40. And do the rear headrests need removing to fold the seats down? Umm, yes, they do.

What clever stowage places are there? Apart from the normal things like decent-sized door pockets, there is a tray that goes between the carpet and above the spare wheel that can take various bits and pieces like tow-ropes, spanners, whatever you fancy in fact. Do you get roof rails? Yes.

What engines are available? The range goes from the 75bhp 1.4-litre, through to the 1.6 110bhp, the two-litre 115bhp, up to the 150bhp V5 2.3-litre, with a three diesel options of 68, 90 and 110bhp. A 115bhp diesel coupled to a six-speed gearbox is also in the pipeline. And how much extra will an estate cost over the hatchback equivalent? Around £750.

We know that the Golf has a soft ride with a fair amount of body roll, so what's the difference in the estate version? The rear suspension has been tuned to take the extra weight, apparently, but it's pretty difficult to detect any change. The ride is just as smooth but the steering feels strangely softer than the hatch, which could never be accused of being crisp in the first place. What about the gearchange and brakes? Is this still Mastermind revisited, or are you personally interested in the car, Magnus? Look, just answer the question. OK, OK. The gears are selected with a precise, positive-feeling change and discs on all corners make the brakes perform with aplomb. What's a plomb? Pass.

How quiet is it? As quiet as a normal Golf. Very quiet indeed, despite the estate car roominess, there's no estate car boominess. Only at higher speeds does wind noise start to intrude.

Is the Golf estate fun to drive? Pass.

Now share it...

Latest road tests

8/10 Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion driven
September 2013
8/10 Volkswagen Golf GTD driven
September 2013
8/10 Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI driven
December 2012
6/10 Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion 1.9 TDi
October 2008
7/10 Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSi 160 GT DSG
September 2008

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.