The Golf gains more anonymity in estate form, but remains practical and appealing to economy-conscious buyers

What is it?

Probably one of the country’s most recognisable cars. However, here in estate form the Volkswagen Golf almost blends into the background, its distinctive hatchback shape gone in deference to this more practical wagon. 

Not only is this estate practical, but it’s also incredibly economical, given that it’s the full-on BlueMotion version. Volkswagen calls all of its eco models ‘BlueMotion’, putting them through a rigorous process of engineering nips, tucks and tricks to maximise fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. 

Such measures include cutting the weight of the running gear by 26kg, a masked front grille and longer gear ratios. This standalone BlueMotion model is in addition to the BlueMotion Technology modifications that are standard on all Golfs. The estate model sports pretty similar figures to the standard hatchback, though. Claimed economy is slightly down on the estate compared to the hatch (85.6mpg versus 88.3mpg), which is no doubt down to weight and the fact that the estate shape is not as aerodynamically slippery as the hatchback.

What's it like?

Compared to the previous Golf estate the new car is longer, wider and lower – and this BlueMotion model is lowered by another 15mm to help it slip through the air that bit more efficiently. There’s also a lot more boot space than with the old car – a voluminous 605 litres, no less, which trounces the Ford Focus estate (which can only manage 476 litres). It can’t quite beat a Civic Tourer (Honda’s engineers figuried out how to fit 624 litres into their estate's rear regions). The most eco-friendly diesel Honda can’t quite match the VW’s CO2 and economy figures, though. 

In BlueMotion form the estate doesn’t come with a spare wheel (to save on weight), so the underfloor cargo area seems huge when there’s no spare sat there. That rear space is also very practical, with cubbies to each side and levers handily placed by the boot hatch to drop the split-fold rear seats. Plus the tonneau cover has two settings, so that you don’t have to reach all the way to the rear bench to pull it back into place.

All the other Golf attributes are clear and present. Despite all the weight savings, the estate’s ride is just as comfortable as that of a normal Golf. VW’s engineers have given the BlueMotion more power than the normal S, so the car is certainly no slouch; there’s plenty of low-down torque for swift overtaking when you need it. In terms of refinement, however, VW’s 1.6-litre diesel engines are being left behind compared to those offered by Honda and Renault-Nissan. Also we were particularly impressed recently by Vauxhall’s new aluminium-blocked 1.6 unit in its Astra Sports Tourer.

Should I buy one?

The BlueMotion isn’t cheap at £22,165. If you consider the normal 1.6-litre S TDI is only £18,325 you have to figure out whether the extra miles that the BlueMotion can go on a tank of fuel are worth the difference.

The buying decision is probably more down to CO2 figures than economy, since this model emits only 87g/km, whereas the standard TDI registers 102g/km. When company car drivers do the maths it might work out more economical to have the BluMotion in terms of tax and miles driven. Or you might just prefer the fact that this car is kinder to the world and so be happy to pay the extra.

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Apart from price the other drawback is that the BlueMotion estate is only available in S trim, which means sat-nav isn’t an option. ALso bear in mind that the seats don’t get lumbar support like they do in the SE, so make sure you click on the option to add them – it’s worth the extra £60. 

Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion estate

Price £22,165 0-62mph 11.0sec Top speed 120mph Economy 85.6mpg CO2 87g/km Kerb weight 1395kg Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel Power 108bhp at 3200-4000rpm Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3000rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual

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Add a comment…
michael knight 18 June 2014


I cannot get my head around why anyone would consider this a remotely interesting car to drive. The 308SW or Civic wagon look like concept cars next to this shoebox.
Oilburner 18 June 2014

Boot space

I agree with you LP. Regardless of how they measure it though, the whole concept of load luggers seems confused these day. For instance, I don't understand why in estate cars the norm is often to quote to the window line as if it was a hatchback or saloon. The boot space should not be defined by how high the flanks of the car are, but by how much space there is loaded right to the roof with a load net in place. That's a number that is almost never quoted, but is how I always use my cars. This also applies to MPVs and 4x4s with tonneau covers.

Also, only measuring to the window line means they've been able to round off the roof-line of estate cars sharply without affecting the headline boot figures (thus hiding the loss of space), which may be good for emissions and economy, but is silly when the whole point of having an estate is extra space. Current Insignia Tourer vs old Vectra Estate is a good example, with seats folded: Vectra C:1850 liters - Insignia:1503! And yet the old "boot space to window line" metric makes the Insignia look bigger with 540L vs 530L...

Still, given how popular "Sports Tourers" are with their heavily curved back-ends, I must be in a small minority of wanting an estate that actually has a boot... Nobody seemed to like the Vectra estate, but the Insignia Tourer does seem to make a large proportion of sales. So what do I know? :)

Will86 18 June 2014


So I thought I'd have a look at what £22k buys you. Leather steering wheel, nope - multifunction steering wheel, nope - seat back pockets, nope - alarm, nope - lumbar adjustment, nope - you can't even spec floor mats. Even with the impressive mpg figures, this car is not good value for money, and that's before you consider how utterly dull it is to look at and sit in.