Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Volkswagen Golf
Small package, good thing
September 2009

NOT too many blokes go around bragging about their fantastic new car that has a 1.4-litre engine.

So it was a bold move by VW to drop its 1.6-litre and 2.0 petrol engines in favour of the smaller unit as part of the Golf VI release.

Surely, a 1.4 wouldn’t cut the mustard.

Remarkably, there’s more power and a fuel economy improvement of up to 25 per cent.

The trick has been to give the entry-level model a turbocharger, and its higher-specification sibling a turbocharger and supercharger. These are called the 90TSI (for 90kW) and 118TSI.

Prices start from $25,990 for the 6-speed manual entry-level car to $30,490 for the manual 118TSI.

The little Twincharger engine was the big winner at the recent prestigious International Engine of the Year awards.

It won the overall award, as well as the green category, defeating an array of diesels and hybrids.

Golf does come with a diesel option with the 103TDI manual selling from $33,190.

Automatic transmission (7-speed DSG) on all models will set you back around $2500 more, but it is a delight.

Fuel economy is one of the great strengths of the Golf range, which can produce average consumption figures under 6 litres per 100km.

Safety is another big drawcard, with Golf receiving the maximum five stars in the EuroNCAP evaluation.

The hatch comes with seven airbags, a new ESP system, anti-lock brakes, and assistance systems, such as Adaptive Chassis Control and Park Assist.

Two equipment lines are offered: Trendline and Comfortline.

Golf VI is more evolution than revolution and while it keeps the themes of its predecessors, it does look sportier and drive with greater athleticism.

It has the same wheelbase and height and is just 5mm shorter.

The 1.4-litre engines are a tad slow off the mark, but aside from the initial pause, there’s plenty of get up and go.

On the highway, the Golf cruises effortlessly, and it is a commuter’s dream courtesy of its excellent equipment levels and impressive range.

Many of the changes relate to improvements in quality and it certainly has a more solid feel.

It is also much quieter and smoother than previous models.

There is sufficient space for four adults, with the middle rear seat more of a child/jockey proposition.

The pilot’s seat has good leg and headroom even for this 192cm Roadtester.

Colours include Candy White, Deep Black Pear Effect, Reflex Silver Metallic, Shark Blue Metallic, Amaryllis Red Metallic, United Grey Metallic, and Silver Leaf Metallic.

The Golf has been a strong seller around the world, with some 26 million cars built since its launch in 1974.

Australians, too, have embraced the hatchback and the impressive latest release should continue this love affair, backed by its new air of refinement.

The Volkswagen Golf is going to be an even bigger hit.



ENGINES: 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine; 1.4-litre turbo and supercharged engine; or 2.0-litre turbo diesel

POWER: 90kW; 119kW; 103kW

TORQUE: 200Nm; 240Nm; 320Nm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, or 7-speed auto “direct shift’’ gearbox (DSG)

DIMENSIONS: 4199mm long, 1785mm wide, 1479mm tall

EQUIPMENT: Stability control, anti-lock brakes, 7 airbags, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, quality sound system

PROS: Safety, quality, economy

CONS: Hard to find, but price is up there for car of such compact dimensions

BOTTOM LINE: From $25,990 (90TSI); $30,490 (118TSI); $33,190 (103TDI) manual versions. Autos $2500 more.