From £17,540
Well-made, spacious and refined - but we'd rather have a standard Golf
Nic Cackett
20 December 2009

What is it?

The Golf Plus is the latest car in Volkswagen's line-up to get the Bluemotion makeover. The mini-MPV version of VW's omnipresent hatchback has always claimed to offer better practicality in terms of space, and now it gets the latest Bluemotion tech to compete on economy.

The 1.9-litre TDI engine from the previous generation Golf Plus Bluemotion has been replaced by the new 1.6-litre TDI already found in the regular Golf range. Under the Golf Plus’s bonnet, VW claim the engine will return an impressive 65.7mpg, and keep C02 emissions to a modest 114g/km.

The usual Bluemotion magic has been weaved to induce such frugality from VW's inflated hatchback. The last three ratios on the five-speed gearbox have been revised, while low rolling resistance tyres and a Start/Stop function have also found their way onto the spec sheet.

The Golf Plus Bluemotion comes in two trim levels, S and SE. Both get a decent amount of kit, but the SE we drove adds Park Assist, cruise control and alloy wheels.

What's it like?

A Golf Bluemotion, but marginally bigger. There really isn't much to split the Golf Plus from its sleeker relative, except the greater sense of space provided by the higher roofline, and a larger boot.

Obviously that additional height (and weight) does make a slight impression on the car's handling, but you'd have to drive the cars back-to-back to notice. The Golf Plus has the same impeccable manners on the road; its ride, handling and superior refinement all encourage smooth, sedate progress.

This is good news for the Bluemotion in particular, as smooth, sedate progress is what it excels at. The common-rail 1.6TDI delivers its 104bhp in an untroubled, entirely linear way, and while overtaking quickly highlights the limits of its modest power, there is sufficient grunt to easily tackle the average commute.

We weren't able to match Volkswagen's claimed economy figures, but this might be because it's all too easy to ignore the gearshift indicator in favour of better running performance.


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As we found when with the standard Bluemotion Golf, the indicator is all too keen to exploit the car's taller gears by consistently dropping the engine into an uncomfortably low point on its rev range. In the lighter hatchback this resulted in predictable flat spots, but with the Golf Plus carrying an extra 100kg or so those moments become frustrating periods of juddering inertia before a lower gear is reluctantly sort.

Such flagrant disregard for VW's engineers' advice saw our fuel consumption rise to around 48mpg during everyday driving. That figure would suggest that Volkswagen's quoted economy levels are attainable, but are probably not conducive to the cut and thrust of an urban commute.

Should I buy one?

The Golf Plus has always occupied a particularly shallow niche, and it's still difficult to fathom why anyone would actually part with the cash for one. This version is a well-made, spacious and exceptionally refined car, but then so is the regular Golf Bluemotion it's based on.

And here's the thing; in its Bluemotion guise, the current Golf delivers an hybrid-beating 74.3mpg and just 99g/km CO2, which means, of course, that it is exempt from road tax. Added to which it’s significantly cheaper than the Golf Plus we tested and much better looking.

So whatever reason you have for requiring that extra few inches above your head must be phenomenally good to justify driving away from the Volkswagen dealership in one.

Join the debate


27 December 2009

I just couldn't bring myself to part with that amount of cash for something so dull. It's a very worthy car but it just bores me. I know people buy cars for different reasons to me but a car has to light my fire. The regular car has a much nicer shape. It's a fair bit of money for a few extra inches but then hey, which of us men wouldn't pay for a few extra inches...

26 May 2012

Great Car - suites my needs perfectly especially the higher headroom to get in and out and I like all the gismos that this car has to offer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well worth the money for something you adore.

27 December 2009

So why are you commenting if the car does not suit your needs and you find it boring. Go and comment on a review for something that 'lights your fire'. Oh and Autocar, please educate your 'journalists' - sort should be spelt sought. One last point, the Golf Plus does not just offer 'a few extra inches above your head' but more boot space and sliding rear seats for that extra practicality.

27 December 2009

[quote cleverzippy]

So why are you commenting if the car does not suit your needs and you find it boring. Go and comment on a review for something that 'lights your fire'.


Guh. It's pretty much the whole point of a publicly accessible forum to get as wide a range of opinions and comments as possible. Been on the internet much?

27 December 2009

Never liked the plus just looks too big and out of proportion compared to the sleeker Golf. Never been sure how it fits in with Touran and Tiguen either. Its like a sudo MPV but a bit uglier.

27 December 2009

This will go down a treat with top-hatted gentlemen that are parsimonious.

27 December 2009

Thankyou Thwarted. I wasn't aware i'm only allowed to comment on cars i like.

27 December 2009

Am I correct in thinking this car is a clever marketing ploy ( or con if you want ) as I think it is based on the MK V Golf ,correct me if I am wrong, like the "new" Golf Mk VI estate which is actually a reskinned MK V.

Is it also true that the next Touran is also going to be a reskinned MK V rather than an entirely new MK VI.

Any ideas folks ?

27 December 2009

"it's still difficult to fathom why anyone would actually part with the cash for one"

I think it is good that VW are quickly bringing all their range in alignment style-wise, and a Bluemotion version for those who value such tweaks. Whether something is “all new” or not may bother fewer people than we might think. In the final reckoning, the customer either likes it or does not. Golf is vanilla flavour, the starting point. Golf Plus gives more elevated/upright driving position, without upsetting other people by its image. It is probably easier to get into for anyone who has a back problem too. Tiguan is then cloned from the Plus with a different suit of clothes, and looks more, well, like SUV/4wd for those who like that. Touran is Golf Plus Plus for anyone who needs to carry 6 passengers (children can be very demanding) that won’t fit in a Plus (or Golf). Touran or Golf Plus not suitable? Then a Golf Estate it will be Sir. Scirocco is for those who like something a bit lower and less utilitarian in the looks department and might fancy bright green paint. They are probably not too fussed about moving wardrobes in it and will just hire a van instead for the odd occasion.

27 December 2009

Possibly see the point in the Plus if you are of well above average height....Probably someone with a very long torso,( i.e over 6,5") and despite being a shortish arse myself and not a particular fan of Golf`s, (even though I own one! My Civic Vti takes pride of place in the driveway) I can see the possible appeal to someone who would like a Golf, but find its headroom restrictive therefore buying this taller version of its hatchback...

VW does appear to have a size of car to fit all types and shapes of driver, so well done for them, catering to this particular niche in the market... No problem with it atall!

Do like too charge for the privilege though, dont they?


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