From £15,827
GTI looks and sprightly performance, but overpriced

Our Verdict

More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

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

What is it?

This is the VW Golf GTD, a car which is a triumph of compromise or commonsense, depending on your point of view. It has been introduced to appeal to people who want performance and quality without punishing running costs.

Powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine, it hits an official average of 50.4mpg, which means you can cover more than 600 miles on the 55-litre tank if you’re prepared to drive sensibly. If not, you’ll still get relatively decent mileage, while getting to enjoy most of the benefits of a standard warm hatch.

There’s also the prospect of low running costs to look forward to; emissions of 139g/km equate to an annual VED road tax charge of £120 a year.

What’s it like?

With 168bhp and 258lb ft of torque, the VW Golf GTD is sprightly and enjoyable to drive on a favourite country road, if not exhilarating; it’s clinically swift rather than startling.

That feeling is backed up by engine, road and wind noise that are always subdued, and do nothing to inject any aural excitement into your progress.

The car's handling and ride have been tuned towards performance, and it shows. The handling’s not pin-sharp, but given its relatively heavy kerb weight it copes well and gives confidence.

The ride is firm for everyday use, but fits the GTD’s performance billing without introducing anything approaching harshness.

The GTD also looks the part, sitting 15mm lower than the standard car and featuring styling tweaks including a deeper front bumper with larger cooling ducts, new headlamp graphics, chrome highlights in the grille, wider sills, a hatchback spoiler and a revised rear bumper with twin chromed tailpipes nestled together.

Should I buy one?

It’s impossible not to compare the GTD with the VW Golf GTI. It’s just over a second slower to 62mph, not as much fun to drive and less than £600 cheaper. That means you’d have to be a huge diesel fan to make the call in the GTD’s favour.

And even if you love diesels, the five-door’s £22,435 seems high for a car that doesn’t deliver thrills. If you want an entertaining diesel VW, buy a Scirocco GT 2.0 TDI CR and put £700 in your pocket.

Otherwise, while stablemates such as the Seat Leon FR TDI and Skoda Octavia vRS TDI may have an older and slightly dirtier engine, they are more fun for far less money.

Likewise, you may get more pleasure - and more cash left in your pocket - from mixing performance and economy in the 158bhp 1.4 TSI-equipped Golf GT.

Join the debate

Comments
32

14 July 2009

Save at least 4k before negotiations and buy a 170bhp, 330lbft Alfa 147 Ducati Corse instead.

14 July 2009

Sod off, Greg!!! We want a car that won't spend 364 days a year at the dealer or fall apart after less than a year of use. People buy Golfs because you can drive them for 20 years without major problems. I had a Mark 1 for 10 years, my wife had a Mark 2 for 25 years, I had a Mark 3 for 10 years. Twice I've tried something different from a Golf. First, it was a Ford Escort. Rubbish. Then i tried a Lancia Delta Integrtale. Lovely car but it broke down five times in its first year. Each time I went back to a Golf. Nothing ever went wrong with my Golfs.

14 July 2009

[quote Greg1]

Save at least 4k before negotiations and buy a 170bhp, 330lbft Alfa 147 Ducati Corse instead.

[/quote]

330 lb.ft from 1,900 cc. them Italians are the dog's bollox at this engine malarkey. respect!

queer though them eyeties still using pounds-feet.

14 July 2009

[quote brakedust]We want a car that won't spend 364 days a year at the dealer or fall apart after less than a year of use[/quote]

I thought that particular stereotype had been put to bed. Obviously not.

That said I would take the Golf every time over a 147, but not at that price - Jeez.

14 July 2009

[quote Lee23404]I thought that particular stereotype had been put to bed. Obviously not.[/quote]

Quite - I suppose word about VW Touareg's horrendous reliability hasn't got out then.

The article mentions that the GTD lacks, wait for it, soul...I'm merely proposing an alternative with character, more oomph and at a price that would make it a serious contender. Let's face it, we're talking about the GTD being about 20% more expensive than the Alfa, before even starting to haggle with the Alfa dealer!

14 July 2009

[quote Greg1]Save at least 4k before negotiations and buy a 170bhp, 330lbft Alfa 147 Ducati Corse instead.[/quote]

No the alfa 147 has 330NM which is 243lbft, which is 15lbft less that what the vw golf produces... or 20NM less if you like.

14 July 2009

[quote brakedust]Nothing ever went wrong with my Golfs.[/quote]

You were lucky then.

I would suggest that the Alfa is now at least as reliable as the Golf, if not more so. I do appreciate the dealers aren't as good though.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

14 July 2009

[quote brakedust]People buy Golfs because you can drive them for 20 years without major problems.[/quote]Perhaps he means Golf clubs?

14 July 2009

Once again some slightly dubious research from Autocar. The Leon FR and Octavia vRS now use exactly the same engine as the Golf GTD and as far as I know the Leon at least can match the GTD for both emissions and mpg.

On the subject of reliability, my Golf has run fine for 5 years (so far). Still, they're asking a lot of Golf fans this time with that asking price.

14 July 2009

Do these smoke and drone as badly as the last (Mk5) GTD I drove?

£22,435; mmm, saving a few quid on road tax will certainly make up for the repayments on that...

  • Let depreciation be your friend, not your enemy...

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