What is it?

The Mk6 Golf but with a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, which replaces the 109bhp version of the 2.0 TDI.

For now the 1.6 TDI comes in two states of tune: either 89bhp (available only in S trim), or 104bhp (S or SE) as tested here. A third version will appear later this year in the Golf BlueMotion, with the same 104bhp but better economy and emissions figures.

What’s it like?

Smooth but slow. At idle and at low revs the 1.6-litre diesel is very un-diesel-like, making the most of the Golf’s refined cabin and relaxed ride.

If you’re not in a hurry, this is a ideal car to get places while using the minimum of the world’s resources, the engine returning 62.8mpg on the combined cycle and emitting just 119g/km of CO2.

For gentle town driving or motorway cruising the Golf’s performance is entirely adequate, but if you want to pick up speed quickly, for instance to squeeze into a gap in traffic, there isn’t the low to mid-range torque you might expect from a turbodiesel.

In VW’s defence, the 1.6 produces as much torque as the old 2.0-litre (185lb ft) but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels somewhat slovenly.

Both versions of the engine come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, and we can’t help thinking an additional ratio would help lift the performance. You can specify a seven-speed DSG on the 104bhp version, but at a cost of £1455.

Should I buy one?

If the Golf’s maturity appeals and you’re happy to live with the relaxed power delivery, the 1.6 TDI offers economical and polished family transport.

For those who want a little extra performance, the 138bhp 2.0 TDI costs around £1000 more but pushes the CO2 rating up to 129g/km, meaning road tax of £120 (rather than £35) and a BIK band of 15 per cent (rather than 10 per cent). As they say, the choice is yours.

Jamie Corstorphine

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Comments
52

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

Surely this shoudlnt really be any slower than the 2.0 TDI 110? This 1.6 has the same torque and weighs less.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

J400uk wrote:

Surely this shoudlnt really be any slower than the 2.0 TDI 110? This 1.6 has the same torque and weighs less.

Yes it does sound strange. It has enough power/torque in a relatively small car so feel quite swift in most situations, I'd have thought.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

Lee23404 wrote:
Yes it does sound strange. It has enough power/torque in a relatively small car so feel quite swift in most situations, I'd have thought.
I wonder if a lot of this isn't down to the engine being (presumably) very new and with very few miles on it. Diesels take a long time to fully "loosen up" and give their best. I test drove a Skoda Yeti 170 today, and it felt gutless, absolutely hating to rev. I've also driven a 170 Octavia (same motor) with lots of miles on it and it absolutely flew.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

Dan McNeil wrote:
Lee23404 wrote:
Yes it does sound strange. It has enough power/torque in a relatively small car so feel quite swift in most situations, I'd have thought.
I wonder if a lot of this isn't down to the engine being (presumably) very new and with very few miles on it. Diesels take a long time to fully "loosen up" and give their best. I test drove a Skoda Yeti 170 today, and it felt gutless, absolutely hating to rev. I've also driven a 170 Octavia (same motor) with lots of miles on it and it absolutely flew.

Trust me guys, Dan is correct. when I first got my 1.6 tdi 105 it was a little slower then first expected, but after 2 weeks it is feeling a lot faster. Stick it in 2nd gear and overtaking is a joy. Autocar said the same when they reviewed the New Polo, this review is just a small road test it wont provide the same information as a long term test, which only owners can provide

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

Not quite the ringing endorsement that accompanied the earlier high tech DSG and GTi model launches.

No mention of handling or braking capabilities. Perhaps not the main point for an economy model but a lot of satisfaction can be had from such a car if it has the basic chassis capabilities to keep up with more powerful editions.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

moe360 wrote:
Dan McNeil wrote:
Lee23404 wrote:
Yes it does sound strange. It has enough power/torque in a relatively small car so feel quite swift in most situations, I'd have thought.
I wonder if a lot of this isn't down to the engine being (presumably) very new and with very few miles on it. Diesels take a long time to fully "loosen up" and give their best. I test drove a Skoda Yeti 170 today, and it felt gutless, absolutely hating to rev. I've also driven a 170 Octavia (same motor) with lots of miles on it and it absolutely flew.

Trust me guys, Dan is correct. when I first got my 1.6 tdi 105 it was a little slower then first expected, but after 2 weeks it is feeling a lot faster. Stick it in 2nd gear and overtaking is a joy. Autocar said the same when they reviewed the New Polo, this review is just a small road test it wont provide the same information as a long term test, which only owners can provide

Plus, the journo who gave us this insightful report might have jumped straight from a much faster car. One that looks like it's styled with an axe. An exclusive brand, even though millions of identikit ones choke the roads. Any car feels a bit slow when you've just driven a much faster one.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

jerry99 wrote:
No mention of handling or braking capabilities. Perhaps not the main point for an economy model but a lot of satisfaction can be had from such a car if it has the basic chassis capabilities to keep up with more powerful editions.

If there had been a mention, it would to tell just how inferior to a Focus it is. The Autocar party line would be repeated: "...on a favourite B road, it just does not have the exquisite balance, sublime body control, precision crafted handling and incomparable road poise as the class-leading Ford..."

...the band was playing Dixie: double-four time...

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

cimardinius wrote:
If there had been a mention, it would to tell just how inferior to a Focus it is. The Autocar party line would be repeated: "...on a favourite B road, it just does not have the exquisite balance, sublime body control, precision crafted handling and incomparable road poise as the class-leading Ford..."

Indeed. In my experience (and I've driven both Focuses and Golfs on numerous occasions) the differences in ride and handling are nowhere near as big as what Autocar would have you believe. A recent edition of Autocar rated the 1.6 Focus petrol more highly that the 1.4 TSI Golf. To me this is verging on insane. The Focus is more expensive (before a discount, anyway), over two seconds slower to 60 mph, less frugal, less refined, no better equipped, and has a far worse quality interior. Go figure...

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

Bogester wrote:

cimardinius wrote:
If there had been a mention, it would to tell just how inferior to a Focus it is. The Autocar party line would be repeated: "...on a favourite B road, it just does not have the exquisite balance, sublime body control, precision crafted handling and incomparable road poise as the class-leading Ford..."

Indeed. In my experience (and I've driven both Focuses and Golfs on numerous occasions) the differences in ride and handling are nowhere near as big as what Autocar would have you believe. A recent edition of Autocar rated the 1.6 Focus petrol more highly that the 1.4 TSI Golf. To me this is verging on insane. The Focus is more expensive (before a discount, anyway), over two seconds slower to 60 mph, less frugal, less refined, no better equipped, and has a far worse quality interior. Go figure...

Focus has a slight (and I mean slight) edge in handling. On the other hand, Golf has a massively better ride and all round comfort than the Focus. Add to that better a range of engines, lower noise levels and far higher refinement, superior build quality and a much better interior and the Golf is easily the better car. The fact that Autocar (just about alone among car mags) still insists on rating the Focus higher and the best car in class is a joke.

Re: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE

4 years 30 weeks ago

Having owned and driven a Focus, i have to say it was an excellent car. However, this model is now 5 years old and was marginally better than the Mk5 Golf when launched. Knowing how much improved the Mk 6 is (or should that be revised Mk 5!), surely the Golf should now be class best on the basis that it's ride is better, more refined, better range of engines and better quality interior. While the Focus is still a great all rounder, surely handling alone cannot make a car class-best when the rest of the car is beaten in almost every other area. Seems Autocar has the same approach to the Focus as it does the 3-Series.

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