Mark Tisshaw
28 May 2010

What is it?

The Volkswagen Group is at the forefront of the downsizing trend with its small-capacity turbocharged petrol engines. The larger 1.4 TSI has won numerous awards for its impressive mix of power and economy, but VW hasn’t stopped there; it’s now launching its new 1.2 TSI engine in the Golf and Polo models, and it’s tested here in a five-door Golf.

What's it like?

We’re already familiar with the Golf’s capabilities; the competent dynamics and impressive interior quality are particular highlights. But the real story here is the engine

The 1.2 TSI unit is smooth, quiet and refined. Off the line it can feel underpowered, as it does near the top of the rev range, but progress is swift when peak torque kicks in between 1550rpm and 4100rpm. But this sprightly performance comes with a question mark over economy.

In its week with us, the Golf covered several hundred miles of motorway runs and city commutes, but not once did it get near VW’s claimed combined figure of 49.6mpg; mid-30s was nearer the mark.

Should I buy one?

This is a Golf with an element of compromise. It’s a fine car with an engine that delivers impressive refinement and performance.

However, the real-world economy means it’s not for those in pursuit of as few fuel stops as possible on long-distance runs; they should try the 1.6 TDI. Instead, it’s more suited to daily driving around town.

But the tech is getting there; a bit of work improving economy and emissions without sacrificing the mid-range urgency would make it hard to fault.

Join the debate

Comments
53

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

So long as the current method of testing fuel consumption is continued, we can expect bigger discrepancies between manufacturer quoted figures and real world data. All the car makers are doing is optimising their cars' performance in the European test cycle - and who can blame them, because that is the current yardstick? What I'd like to see is for some incentives for makers to reduce the weight of their products. Less weight equals guaranteed fuel consumption benefit as well as less energy spent in building the car in the first place.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

As this is near the bottom of the range some comment on the likely reliability of this car after the first three years might be appropriate.

In fact I wonder what the Spanish motoring press have to say, where their mainly private owners buy over 6+ years of finance (or at least they did before the economic difficulties).

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

I was interested to see what this would be like in the real world as I might have to have one in the not-too-distant future (Work's decision not mine). I wonder what model/spec they had as when I configured a 1.2 with folding mirrors, paint and MDI it was £17,500 for a 3 door. Given that the real world mpg is quite considerably wide of the mark, I cannot see it being the economical choice. Unless figures improve as the engine loosens up.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

That's a shocking real MPG figure.... my mazda 3 MPS (with a 2.3 turbo) is now sitting on 32.2 mpg, and my driving consists of urban crawl and then countryside blasts (both of which would not be conducive to low mpgs)

You wonder do manufacturers sometimes just pick any old number!

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

no they do a strict scientifically controlled government test. so the quoted official figure is the correct one.

some makers are better at refining the car than others for the test.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

Would it make more sense not just to get the bigger 1.4 TFSI version which just costs a little more but will be more powerful and mabye even more efficient

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

i would think so yes.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

I guess this 1.2 will allow younger drivers access to a new Golf with lower costs and insurance not bad idea but still the 1.4 tfsi is the better all rounder

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

Nigelo wrote:
That's a shocking real MPG figure....

You're right mate, 'cept it's Autocar's word, innit. ADAC, the largest motoring club in the world, tested the BlueMotion Technology version of this Golf 1.2 TSI, and even accounting for the eco measures the consumption reported by ADAC is a world different to Autocar's:

ADAC: 52.3 mpg test average; town 44.8 mpg; out-of-town 65.7 mpg; autobahn 44.1 mpg

'Der Golf 1.2 TSI BlueMotion ist sparsam. Ein durchschnittlicher Testverbrauch von 5,4 Litern auf 100 km ist für einen Benziner respektabel. In der Stadt konsumiert er 6,3 l/100 km, auf der Landstraße 4,3 l/100 km und auf der Bundesautobahn 6,4 l/ 100 km. Dabei emittiert er 124 g CO2 pro Kilometer.'

full test report for VW Golf 1.2 TSI BlueMotion Technology Comfortline here: http://www1.adac.de/Tests/Autotest/TETDaten/Autotest/AT4352_VW_Golf_1_2_TSI_BlueMotion_Technology_Comfortline.pdf

Autocar: 'mid-30s'

ADAC or Autocar to trust. Hmmm.

PS I don't know where Mr Tisshaw gets his performance figures but VW itself states this car should do around 9 secs for 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h 9.5s).

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

4 years 21 weeks ago

nicksheele wrote:
PS I don't know where Mr Tisshaw gets his performance figures but VW itself states this car should do around 9 secs for 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h 9.5s).

apologies, I confused the 1.4 TSI 's figures with this 1.2 TSI.

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