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Volkswagen Golf TDi PD Car Review | October 1, 2001

Driven October 2001

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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 the hood down and enjoy the last bout of fine weather this year.

Yet, as the who-gets-what Friday afternoon shakedown went through its torturous process, a different set of keys found their way into my sweaty palm. Those of a diesel hatch. As the bitterness and resentment were swallowed, the pill was slightly sweetened by the fact that that the car was a Golf TDI and it was powered by VW's new 130bhp Pumpe D�se effort.

The previous version, still a good engine, had 115bhp to offer and, while this car's extra 15bhp make a difference, it's the 228lb ft of torque that really enlivens the driving.

It does sound like an oil-burner when started up from cold, but this disappears when you're warmed up and mobile. Get the engine spinning and, from about 1,750 revs, there's a noticeable thrust that stays with you almost until you reach the 4,500 red line. So here I am, bombing around at hot-hatch speeds, yet the trip computer is reading an average fuel consumption of 40.7mpg. Amazing.

This Volkswagen has a six-speed manual gearbox whose shift action is both slick and positive. The gear ratios are sensibly spaced, offering quick-off-the-line performance in first, while the sixth gear is perfect for long-legged motorway hauls and for keeping the fuel consumption figures healthy.

The car itself is also top-notch, traditionally one of my favourite hatches, it's very easy to drive quickly and smoothly. And it's taught me a lesson: that we too often take things for granted when, actually, they have a large amount of time and talent put into them.

And here endeth the sermon.

Colin Ryan

VERDICT Anti-diesel prejudice rapidly combusting thanks to VW's great PD engine

Model Three/five-door hatchback
Engine 1896cc, 130bhp TDi
Performance 0-62mph in 9.6secs, 127mph max speed
Cost £16,055 (three-door), £16,675 (five-door)
Rivals Ford Focus 1.8 TDCi, Peugeot 307 2.0 TD HDi 110

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