Currently reading: Best cars of 2013: Volkswagen Golf
With such a broad range of talents, the Volkswagen Golf is hard to fault
Nic Cackett
News
2 mins read
23 December 2013

Make no mistake: the arrival of a new Volkswagen Golf is still a seismic event in the automotive universe.

There are a handful of cars, scattered among the industry, that set the global tone. Cars like the BMW 3-series, Porsche 911 Carrera, Mercedes-Benz S-class and Range Rover.

Perennially high standards and household status has established each as a benchmark. Beat them and you have built something exceptional. Fall beneath and you are in the chasing pack along with everything else. 

The latest Golf, the Mk7, flattered to deceive, barely appearing new at all while underneath wearing Volkswagen’s much-heralded MQB platform – a modular stage on which much of its future would be set.

Everything, then, had subtly changed outside and in, yet nothing was different. The just-so perfection of the ergonomics, the subtle solidity of the build, the immaculate but anonymous dynamic and the polished ambience that makes the Golf a class-of-one car proved just as reassuringly familiar as they were in previous generations. 

Even now, almost a year on, there is nothing outstanding to relate about the original experience beyond a warm sense of unfaltering appreciation that goes with it. And that’s as intended. Volkswagen wants you to take the Golf for granted.

It wants you to feel comfortable and catered for and invests billions to ensure that when you sit there for 
the first, third, millionth time, you just think: ‘That’s it. That’s right. 
I’m home’. Its genius for doing this – and continuing to nail the margins that will ultimately distinguish it from the mechanically almost identical Audi A3 and Seat Leon – make the Golf as worthy an addition to this list as the more memorable machines that top it.  

Tune in to Autocar.co.uk again tomorrow as we continue our rundown of the best cars of 2013.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Volkswagen Golf

Just how good is the mighty Volkswagen Golf? The seventh generation of Europe's best selling car has been facelifted to keep its nose ahead of its rivals

Join the debate

Comments
14
Add a comment…
jason_recliner 27 December 2013

5.4 million sales, 2.6 million recalls in 2013

"Beautifully built"!
Racotau 23 December 2013

Seismically boring

If it's so seismic and so brilliant then why do UK buyers in the C segment vote with their feet and go for the Focus, which outsells the Golf hand over fist in the UK? To be fair, I was desperately looking forward to the Mk7 and was anticipating that I would buy one. And then I saw it in the flesh and realised that every time I saw it on my drive, it would leave me feeling disappointed. I have never seen such boring styling on a new car.
Flatus senex 23 December 2013

"Jesus Christ, the same today and yesterday and tomorrow"

(I may well have got the "order of the "yesterdays" and "tomorrows" mixed up) However this biblical quotation sums up the external appearance of this vehicle, unchanging (to anyone other than a fanboy), undemanding, unchallenging. To me, uninspiring. Beautifully built? Perhaps but I do know a family who suffered repeated problems arising from poor quality components culminating in a catastrophic engine failure in a vehicle a couple of weeks old which led to a change of custom. These sort of stories can be told of all makes but the expensive, arguably overpriced, VW should be more immune than it is.

We know that the customer has had to carry out more of the snagging work on the DSG transmission and the turbo/supercharged petrol engine than he/she should have been expected to. Thanks to the Internet we know that a possibly more vigorous consumer protection regime in Australia forced recalls on vehicles so equipped. Belatedly this is happening now in the UK.

Find an Autocar car review