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Volkswagen Golf V5 Estate Car Review | April 1, 2000

Driven April 2000

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Rarely has anyone had this much fun at the weekend, at least not since James Hunt popped his clogs. You see, believe the marketing guff and cars like this Golf V5 estate will change your lifestyle forever. Guess what? It did!

First, my weekend of ultimate excitement began with a spot of jet-ski malarkey. What could be more fun than plonking yourself on a wheel-less motorbike and hurtling across a speed-limit-free reservoir?

I reach for more toys in the Golf's capacious 1,470-litre boot, how about Street Luge? Grafting a tea tray to my belly, adding castors and slinging myself down a twisty road? Weeeee! Let's make roadkill!

Now it's time to detach my full-suspension mountain bike from the standard roof-rails, ready for a rough terrain race with my hardcore buddies. Look out, wildlife! And that's just Saturday sorted.


Next up, some freestyle rock climbing. Sticky shoes, no ropes and a bag of finger-drying powder are all it takes to shin my way to the top of a dangerous cliff face. Climbing down is for wimps... let's base jump... Splat.


'Lifestyle' activities, eh? What a load of cobblers. Just like the hype designed to make us think small, sensible estates like this are so stylish and cool that they deserve cover spot in The Face. Definitely not the sort of cars driven by socially-awkward scout masters and ramblers. Oh no, 'course not.

Face it, a Golf with an added estatey bit loses out on the image front. Sure, the MkIV Golf on which it's based is an excellent bit of kit, its cred boosted by the Audi-like design detailing inside and the overall chiselled-from-granite feel. Although our car's dash did rattle like a granny's dentures.

A stretched Golf load-lugger not only looks uncomfortable, it, as Quentin likes to say about MPVs: 'smacks of suburban surrender'. OK, so this Golf's V5 engine is gutsy, smooth and helps make this an exceptionally refined car to cruise in. There's nothing extreme about its 150bhp power output, however, and certainly nothing dangerous with ABS and four airbags all as standard.

But if I had nearly £20k to spend, I'd point it in the direction of a Lexus IS200. Or a Renault Scenic, if people- and possession-moving were priorities.

As I remember it, my weekend involved going to a garden centre where, impressively, this car's big boot coped with four hefty sacks of gently-whiffy dung. That's about as lifestyle-changing as the Golf estate experience got.

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