Take a glance at the Golf’s price relative to mid-spec rivals and you’ll see that it adopts a familiar semi-premium position in the market, splitting the difference between the Ford Focus and Audi A3 with neat precision.

For fleet users, retention of almost 48 per cent of its showroom value puts the Golf on a level footing with the likes of the Mercedes A-class and Audi A3, beats the BMW 1-series, and should deliver competitive contract hire rates.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
We'd opt for SE spec and add a few modest options

Meanwhile, liability on CO2-derived company car tax should be among the class’s lowest.

Our 43.9mpg test average on the 2.0 TDI looks unexceptional but it was produced as a result of track testing as well as mixed road testing, so owners should expect close to a 50mpg average. The 56.1mpg touring test result is a truer representation of the Golf’s economy, and earns it a place among the most efficient like-for-like class rivals.

The 1.6-litre diesel is claimed to return 74.3mpg and emits 99gkm of CO2, but we suspect the fact you have to work it a bit would increase real world consumption. Which makes the slighty more expensive but more powerful, punchier 1.4 petrol potentially a better buy if you're concerned about economy.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

  • Seventh generation Volkswagen Golf
    More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The popular Ford Focus in 1.5 TDCi Zetec form
    The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon
    Seat offers five engines for the Leon, ranging from a 104bhp 1.2 petrol to a 181bhp 2.0 diesel

    Seat Leon

    3
  • Mazda 3
    The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

    Mazda 3

    4
  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
    First Drive
    26 August 2016
    The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso gets tweaked styling, improved tech and new personalisation options to keep it ahead of rivals
  • Car review
    26 August 2016
    Wolfsburg celebrates the GTI’s 40th with its most extreme version yet
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite