Given 20 miles at the wheel, even the biggest car enthusiast would have to agree that this new Golf is a world-beater.

They’d probably notice the reserved handling – something that has characterised Golfs for decades – and they might even wonder, to begin with, what the car’s outstanding selling point is, because no single shining thing stands out.

Jim Holder

Former editor
Classless, functional, immaculate. No hatchback has a broader appeal

But it isn’t supposed to. This car’s qualities are not so much easy to overlook as intended to be taken for granted.

On material quality, rolling refinement, usability and functional simplicity, the Golf is outstanding.

Outright performance, ride and handling, cabin practicality and fuel efficiency may not be exceptional, but come highly commended. The Golf’s desirability endures too, of course.

Add competitive pricing and low ownership costs and the armour is complete. Find a chink in it if you can; we certainly can’t.

The best hatchback in the world shows no signs of being anything less.

Top 5 Family hatches

  • More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • A big seller is the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in Zetec trim.

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon SC
    Seat says that much of the inspiration for the SC comes from its IBE concept

    Seat Leon SC

    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

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