Volkswagen Golf TSI Mk7 Review

Test: Golf Generation 7 is a cracking car

Volkswagen Golf TSI Mk7 Review
Test: VW Golf TSI Mk7


Volkswagen Golf TSI Mk7

Volkswagen hasn't produced a new-from-the-ground-up Golf since the 2003 Mk5, but it hasn't really had to - the Golf has sat at the top of its class for much of the last 10 years. But compared to the completely new Golf Mk7, the still-impressive, outgoing Mk6 may as well be re-heated porridge.

Regardless of what you might think of the Mk7's evolutionary styling, it's a cracking car. On the road it looks lower and wider (which it is - by 28mm and 13mm respectively), but also classier, more masculine and more 'premium', which is exactly what the market wants.

Wheelbase has grown a welcome 59mm to 2637mm, while overall length is up 56mm, stretching the Golf's proportions neatly. The drop in overall height has cut headroom slightly, as well as aerodynamic drag (0.274 Cd for the slipperiest variant), yet there's loads of space, and the boot is now a generous 380 litres (up 30).

Like its Mk4 grandfather, interior ambience defines the new Mk7. Trying to find an unsightly material or rough edge is harder than sneaking a chocolate gateau into Weight Watchers. The broad sweep of the centre console screams high-end, and the beautifully tactile, even seductive, plastics would be standard-setting for a luxury sedan.

Same goes for the all-new drivetrains. Only two engines were available on the Sardinian launch - an all-new, all-alloy 1395cc TSI petrol (replacing the old iron-block 1390cc TSI), and a brand new 1968cc TDI modular diesel.

The new 1.4 TSI weighs 40kg less than the old iron-blocker, and combined with a sizeable drop in the Mk7's overall weight (the total, including engine, is approaching 100kg), this 103kW/250Nm Golf manages to successfully masquerade as a replacement for the previous, slightly faster 118kW/240Nm twin-charged 1.4.

It's not a sporting engine, and the noise it makes above 5400rpm is unpleasant, but the version with cylinder deactivation cuts fuel consumption by up to 23 percent. As an all-round workhorse, it's excellent.

The 110kW/320Nm 2.0 TDI is the driver's pick. Thanks to twin balance shafts, it's very smooth for a diesel, and it mixes a growly induction note with superb flexibility and mid-range punch. The six-speed manual version averages an exceptional 4.1L/100km!

Suspension-wise, Golf 7s with 90kW or more run an evolution of the previous model's excellent multi-link set-up, and they raise the class standard for dynamic polish. But low-powered Mk7s will have "modular lightweight suspension", which is marketing waffle for a torsion-beam rear-end.

Untested base suspension aside, the Mk7 is a show-stopper. And it can only get better - the GTI, GTD and a wagon are all set to launch next year. Given a competitive price, this new Golf will walk out the door.

See this link for a story on driving earlier generations of the Golf



Volkswagen Golf TSI Mk7


ENGINE: 1395cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbocharger

POWER:  103kW @ 4500-6000rpm

TORQUE:  250Nm @ 1500-3500rpm

WEIGHT:  1193kg (3dr manual)

GEARBOX:  6-speed manual

0-100KM/H:  8.4sec (claimed)

TOP SPEED: 212km/h (claimed)

PRICE: $29,000 (estimated)


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