Before the next generation Golf arrives in Australia, I wanted to share my love for my lovely little car, a seventh generation Golf TSI through what I would call a love letter review.
My old car was starting to age and it was reaching a time in its life where most company fitted parts were starting to show wear and tear and I thought that the best solution would be to change the car all together rather than fix the old one. I ended up test driving multiple hatches but trust me when I say that the Golf was the best car in the market! Note what I’m saying is applicable about what was available in the market for hatches in 2018 and it may not be so applicable now, but I still believe that a Golf is value for money!
The technical stuff
The little car in question is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo charged four-cylinder engine which produces 110kW (approx 150 hp) and 250 Nm. Sure, it doesn’t have the fastest 0-100 km/h time (8.2 s) but trust me when I say that it is more than capable of accelerating up hills (my biggest issue with my first car), accelerating quickly enough to overtake 90 percent of road users (the other 10 percent being GTIs, Rs, AMGs, Ms … you get the picture) and sitting very comfortably at 110 km/h on highways.
Another thing that made the Golf great, was the fact that they offered a six-speed manual, but I got the seven-speed DSG transmission and it is good! You get sharp changes, it’s always in the correct gear, it’s spot on.
This car is pretty well equipped for a basic model. It has Apple CarPlay (probably its best feature), a touchscreen infotainment system, driver fatigue monitor (which has gone off a few times and it is a useless feature because it will just scare the crap out of you and cause you to crash), you get reversing camera and a basic cruise control (could have been better if it worked downhill instead speeding up to 95 in a 70 zone just because there’s a gradient). I would say it has all the essentials, they haven’t overdone it with features like BMW does with all of their cars (this is just my opinion) but they haven’t left it empty and bland – it’s just the right amount.
It has a five-star ANCAP rating and it scored a total of 35.92 out of 37 when it was tested in 2013.
Another safety feature we should probably talk about is vision out of the car. It has pretty big windows so you get good sight most of the time. The only time I have issues with it is around some corners where the driver side pillar kind of gets in the view but other than that it is A-okay.
Interior and spacious issues
Interior of the car is very well made. Plastic has been used but it doesn’t feel cheap. Everything is driver focused and placed where they’re supposed to be so it’s ergonomic and easy to operate whilst driving. Call me old fashion but I quite like the analogue speedometer (I think it’s a safer option than a fully digital instrument cluster) with the little digital display in the middle that shows driving data and other information.
When you’re driving along, there’s very little noise coming in the cabin so you can listen to your music and have a conversation with your passengers at normal sound levels.
It has pretty comfortable seats which are manually operated, none of that fancy electric stuff. And I like the middle compartment lid that also functions as an adjustable arm rest.
Now, I really want to get into the topic of space because I believe that this car deserves an award. I mean it’s technically considered a tiny hatch right. But if you have passengers, they all sit very comfortably both in the front and the back. If you need furniture moved, you can put the back seats down and it turns into a ute. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve brought huge Ikea furniture home with the little Golf. It is so efficient!
I’ve got two things to say about the exterior. One, it looks good. Two, it fits in most parking spaces.
Being this well-equipped and well-made means that it won’t be the cheapest hatch on the market. I got it for close to $27,000 and I got it with a very special finance offer of 1.9% interest, so it made it a really good deal and it costs $400 monthly.
Running costs. Generally speaking, if I use the car daily I would have to fill up every 1.5-2 weeks and each fill up (has to be unleaded 95 and above) will cost between $60-$75 depending on fuel price at that time. If you’re mostly doing city driving the car will generally sit around 7-8 l/100km, depends on your driving style. Mine sits at 7.5 most of the times.
Servicing. So far, I’ve done 2 services, the first cost me $399 and the second cost $530. You can see approx service costs for future years here. The level of service I’ve got from VW has been pretty good so far. Had an issue with the infotainment screen and they replaced it for me within a week under warranty and I also had a puncture, and they went above and beyond sourcing me a tyre very quickly, so service wise I would say these guys are excellent.
Yes, only one. If you use the Auto Stop Handbrake (the function where you don’t have to have your foot on the brake if you’re stuck in congestion) when you put your foot on the gas to go it makes the car jolt! It is so annoying! Eventually you do learn how to easily get the car moving without that horrible, horrible jump but it’ll take a while and every once in a while, you forget that you have to ease the car into movement and you’ll put your foot down on the gas and it’ll jolt again! Hate it! I hope the next generation has fixed this issue!
Would I recommend this car?
To quote James May “I like a basic, underpowered car. I think they can be fantastic fun.” And essentially the Golf TSI is that. A basic underpowered car which is fantastic fun! It’s underpowered in the sense that it doesn’t try to kill you if you put your foot down. It’s a basic car because they haven’t over done it.
It’s tight and well put together. I’ll give you an example of this, the suspensions. It is both controlled and compliant so when you hit a pothole, it’ll absorb the bump and when you go around a corner it doesn’t wallow. And this is just one example. The same thing can be said about its engine, and interior and everything else. It’s really hard trying to fault this car.
And I think half the reason why it is so impressive is because it’s an underdog. You don’t expect a basic car in a line-up to ever be this good. They’re usually too soft and mellow. But not the Golf. It is so well put together that I have to give it a 9/10 and I do recommend it to everyone because I genuinely believe that it’s perfect for all lifestyles, except being used as a trade’s car or site car. You can’t do that with this, but for everything else this car is perfect. I’m keen for the new generation to hit my closest showroom, I am very keen to take it for a spin!