What is it?
The Mk6 Golf but with a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, which replaces the 109bhp version of the 2.0 TDI.
For now the 1.6 TDI comes in two states of tune: either 89bhp (available only in S trim), or 104bhp (S or SE) as tested here. A third version will appear later this year in the Golf BlueMotion, with the same 104bhp but better economy and emissions figures.
What’s it like?
Smooth but slow. At idle and at low revs the 1.6-litre diesel is very un-diesel-like, making the most of the Golf’s refined cabin and relaxed ride.
If you’re not in a hurry, this is a ideal car to get places while using the minimum of the world’s resources, the engine returning 62.8mpg on the combined cycle and emitting just 119g/km of CO2.
For gentle town driving or motorway cruising the Golf’s performance is entirely adequate, but if you want to pick up speed quickly, for instance to squeeze into a gap in traffic, there isn’t the low to mid-range torque you might expect from a turbodiesel.
In VW’s defence, the 1.6 produces as much torque as the old 2.0-litre (185lb ft) but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels somewhat slovenly.