From £15,8278
New Golf BlueMotion continues the tradition of super-frugal, fun driving — even in its seventh generation

Our Verdict

Just how good is the mighty Volkswagen Golf, Europe's best selling car that's now in its seventh generation?

2 July 2013

What is it?: 

This is the new Golf BlueMotion, the frugality flag-waver of Volkswagen's seventh generation hatchback line-up. It’s powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 108bhp and 184lb ft of torque, but the headline figures with which we really need to concern ourselves are a claimed combined economy figure of 88.3mpg and commensurate CO2 emissions of just 85g/km – a significant 15 per cent improvement on the previous Golf BlueMotion based on the sixth-generation hatch.

The Golf BlueMotion hits its giddy new heights of efficiency with what are now a standard-issue list of engineering tweaks, nips and tucks over and above the standard Golf’s fuel-saving stop-start and battery regeneration systems.

It’s aerodynamically more efficient, thanks to a lower overall ride height (down 15mm over the regular Golf) which reduces the car’s frontal area. The BlueMotion also wears a drag-reducing roof spoiler, a revised grille and different underbody panels to improve airflow over and under the car, and it has ‘optimsed’ engine and brake cooling systems. 

The BlueMotion also wears what VW describes as 'super'-low rolling resistance tyres, and features longer gear ratios in a six-speed manual gearbox which is now lubricated by thinner-viscosity to reduce drag on the gears 

Other need-to-know figures are that the Golf BlueMotion comes in both three and five-door hatchback forms, costing £20,335 and £20,990 respectively. We drove the three-door.

What's it like?: 

Like a Golf, only more economical. In other words, the Golf BlueMotion is a refined, handsome, easy-to-drive hatchback with a distinct feeling of near-premium solidity and a finely honed blend of form and practical function. 

There are only two things you really want to know about the Golf BlueMotion, and that’s whether or not it can achieve anything close to its exceptional claimed combined fuel economy figure in everyday driving, and whether the engineering compromises imposed on the car to achieve those figures detract from the driving and ownership experience.

Well, in the first instance, we were restricted to a relatively short test route (about 40 miles or so of suburban and rural Dutch roads) without the opportunity to carry out brim-to-brim economy calculations of our own, so a definitive answer to the question will have to wait until we have or hands on the car for longer back in the UK.

However, on that short route, with sensible but not over-the-top restraint, the Golf’s trip computer recorded an eyebrow-raising 76mpg. If that figure is even within 10-15 per cent of accurate (which, in our experience, VW Group trip computers tend to be) it’s impressive.

As far as the compromises go, there are few. The engine is extremely smooth and refined, even down to the 1000rpm at which the on-board display’s gearchange prompter had as selecting a lower gear when decelerating. At such low revs some small amount of vibration can be felt through the steering wheel but the engine still pulls willingly and without hesitation; anywhere above that point it’s free of vibration.

Despite the gearbox’s lengthened ratios, there’s still enough urge to pull with decent strength for safe if not overtly spirited overtakes higher up the rev range, and you’ll not be feeling out of your depth on the motorway. 

The Golf BlueMotion also rides very smoothly, with only the faintest hint of bump-thump over more pronounced holes and bumps - of which there were, admittedly, very few on Holland’s smooth and pristine continental-spec Tarmac. We’ll give the ride another look back here in the UK when we’re checking the fuel economy ourselves.

Ultimately, though, you have to play the BlueMotion’s game in order to get the best out of it, and you won’t get near those headline figures if you use the loud pedal like an on-off switch and expect the car to do the work for you. If that’s the case, and/or if you regularly travel with a full load of of people or a boot full of things, then a slightly higher-powered, but still reasonably economical, 2.0 TDI incarnation of Golf might suit your needs better.

Should I buy one?: 

If the overriding purchasing criteria for your family hatchback is the bottom-line economy and CO2 figure, then yes, you probably should. A Ford Focus ECOnetic costs less and promises frugality close to that of the Golf BlueMotion (83.1mpg, 88g/km), but Ford’s frugal 1.6-litre diesel isn’t as refined or as pleasurable to use as Volkswagen’s, and it’s arguably harder to get near to Ford’s claimed economy figures in day to day driving than it is VW’s. 

Volkswagen has previously set the standard for fuel-saving hatchbacks with earlier incarnations of Golf BlueMotion, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for some time.

Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion

Price £20,335; 0-62mph10.5sec; Top speed 124mph; Economy 88.3mpg; CO2 85g/km; Kerb weight 1265kg; Engine 4 cyls in-line, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power 108bhp at 3200-4000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
17

2 July 2013

Given the recently goalpost move by TfL, CO2 statistics for internal combustion engines become a moot point below 100g/km, until the inevitable goalpost move by DoT/DVLA to VED Band A vehicles so that anything above (I'm guessing) 75g/km becomes chargeable ...

The sole point of buying BlueMotion (and other manufacturers' similar eco-minded offerings) is to save fuel ...

2 July 2013

Will be interesting to see UK specs for this car as Bluemotions have varied from near SE / Match equivelent to downright spartan. Never driven a Bluemotion myself but have easily obtained and exceeded VW claimed figures in both 1.6tdi and 2.0tdi format.

Can understand certain tweaks that whilst increasing mpg may compromise the Bluemotion's driving characteristics, but if a revised rear spoiler and different underbody panels make that much difference to mpg why aren't they fitted to every Golf?  

2 July 2013

scotty5 wrote:

Can understand certain tweaks that whilst increasing mpg may compromise the Bluemotion's driving characteristics, but if a revised rear spoiler and different underbody panels make that much difference to mpg why aren't they fitted to every Golf?  

As the article says the Bluemotion has lowered suspension by 15mm also low rolling resistance tyres plus higher gearing amongst other tweaks to improve fuel economy.

What intrigues me is the comparison with the latest Leaf driven for the first time review on the same page.

For a driver doing 8k miles per annum the Leaf costs, according to the reviews, 2p per mile or £160 per anum plus £840 or more per annum battery hire equalling £1000 in total.

The Golf Bluemotion however, assuming a real fuel economy of 65 mpg, needs 123 gallons ( 558 litres ) of diesel at say £6.36 per gallon ( £1.40 per litre ) to drive 8k miles per annum a total cost of £782. 

Apart from the tiny percentage of drivers that drive in London's congestion charge zone daily why would anyone buy a Leaf in the UK compared to this Golf?

 

maxecat

3 July 2013

Maxecat wrote:

Apart from the tiny percentage of drivers that drive in London's congestion charge zone daily why would anyone buy a Leaf in the UK compared to this Golf?

Having just looked at the VW Bluemotion which is currently on VW's UK website, the European Bluemotion in the above picture bears little resemblance to UK spec, some of that equipment isn't even available. Even a car alarm is an optional extra! According to the configurator, the car looks exeptionally poor value.

It's no better than an 'S' at £800 cheaper (if you add alloys to an 'S' that is) but if it's my money, I fail to see how either can even compete with a Golf 1.6tdi SE let alone anything else on the market.

  

2 July 2013

The pictured car really isn't representative of the £21k car you buy. You don't get the LED/xenon lights, nor do you get the 16" alloys or the large satnav screen. No sensors or fogs either. It's based on the S and as a result doesn't have an alarm or electric rear windows (5 dr). You also lose the leather multi-function steering wheel. The brochure implies it doesn't even have a trip computer as standard and you get a tyre kit rather than space saver.

In my eyes that's quite important information when considering a car. 3* at best considering the cost. It really bugs me that VW supply these completely unrepresentative cars to the press and that the press then fail to notice this (in most cases). The car shown and tested here cost at least £25,000 according to my sums/brochure. 

2 July 2013

Is this really what the interior of the Golf Bluemotion looks like?

I didn't think so.

I agree with Suzuki QT that unless a car slips under 75g/km its pretty much pointless paying over the odds for it so long as its under 100g/km.

2 July 2013

D2 ES, climate, alarm, power windows and mirrors, leather multi function steering wheel, DAB, alloys etc etc, safer, better looking, 115bhp, 88kg CO2, £20345, and the bonus is, its not a Golf.  Or perhaps an A3 SE 1.6TDI, better spec, better residuals, 99kg CO2 and £20530, and finally a Leon SE for £18490.

So to summarise, another overpriced over hyped VW.

2 July 2013

I just cannot believe the negativity towards Volkswagen vehicles.  

They are never going to be the cheapest or the most risky in the styling department, but they obviously produce what many people want to own and drive!

 

2 July 2013

bigkenny1781 wrote:

I just cannot believe the negativity towards Volkswagen vehicles.  

They are never going to be the cheapest or the most risky in the styling department, but they obviously produce what many people want to own and drive!

 

The problem is kenny, the Golf is now more expensive than the equivalent and better specified Audi A3, its not negativity towards the vehicles per se, its towards the media over hyping them, people be taken in by the hype and Volkswagen forgetting what "Volks-Wagen" actually means.

They are now charging premium prices for what is an average product, yes it may have a perception of higher quality, but underneath it is still the same mechanicals that can be had for a lower price from Skoda, Seat or now even Audi, and those mechanicals are not significantly better than their opposition from Ford, Vauxhall et al.

VW are not a premium brand, they just market themselves as one, and mugs get taken in by it. 

Go into your local VW showroom and ask to drive the Golf as per this review, not the one pictured in it, and at over £20k and then tell me you dont feel short changed. 

2 July 2013

Citytiger wrote:

bigkenny1781 wrote:

I just cannot believe the negativity towards Volkswagen vehicles.  

They are never going to be the cheapest or the most risky in the styling department, but they obviously produce what many people want to own and drive!

 

The problem is kenny, the Golf is now more expensive than the equivalent and better specified Audi A3, its not negativity towards the vehicles per se, its towards the media over hyping them, people be taken in by the hype and Volkswagen forgetting what "Volks-Wagen" actually means.

They are now charging premium prices for what is an average product, yes it may have a perception of higher quality, but underneath it is still the same mechanicals that can be had for a lower price from Skoda, Seat or now even Audi, and those mechanicals are not significantly better than their opposition from Ford, Vauxhall et al.

VW are not a premium brand, they just market themselves as one, and mugs get taken in by it. 

Go into your local VW showroom and ask to drive the Golf as per this review, not the one pictured in it, and at over £20k and then tell me you dont feel short changed. 

I've recently gone from having a Volvo V60 on contract hire to having my wifes Golf GTD MK6 for the remainder of its contract hire period and in my view it's the Golf that feels the better car in terms of quality and to drive even though the Golf is a class down and had a list price of 3k lower. Having had a few different marques of cars in recent years, I believe there is a clear difference in quality between VW and the likes of Ford Vauxhall etc, never had any reliability issues with any VW's either but have had pretty bad experience with Fords.

Golf's are usually considerably cheaper to hire/lease than Focus' and Astra's etc due to the better residuals too. List prices are almost irrelavant, how many people actually buy cars outright these days.

 

 

 

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