The new Golf, then. One of the few cars that can simply be itself, and one of the few that defines a genre. It’s not ‘Hyundai/Ford/BMW/whoever’s new Golf rival’; instead, it simply is what it is: the epitome of the small family car and the one by which others are judged.
It arrives here in Mk7 form, a new Golf generation on a platform that carries great responsibility for the Volkswagen Group at one of the most challenging times in the industry’s history.
The immediate forecast for the European economy is gloomy, and while weight and emissions must come down, customer expectations of perceived quality will not be allowed to fall with them.
Developing cars is as difficult and expensive as it has ever been, and few car makers are able to dedicate the same resources to it that VW can. The latest Golf, therefore, doesn’t arrive like a desperate lunge from the punch-drunk; it is instead the dominator reinforcing its position of power.
Thus far our first drives and group tests have suggested as much but, here for the first time in right-hand-drive form and full UK spec, how will it fare in the toughest test in the business?