From £15,8278
The Golf gains more anonymity in estate form, but remains practical and appealing to economy-conscious buyers

Our Verdict

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

What is it?

Probably one of the country’s most recognisable cars. However, here in estate form the 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.

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

Join the debate

Comments
9

17 June 2014
Peugeot 308 estate that beats this Golf Bluemotion in every way that matters including boot space, economy and crucially the price.

17 June 2014
Quite often I scroll down to the 'Should I Buy One' section on these articles when the car isn't something that fits my needs. In this case there isn't one resounding feature that is mentioned that would suggest you should buy one. Yet this car is given 4 out of 5 stars. In fact to summarise its basically saying its overpriced and VW would like you to pay more so they can offer you less..

17 June 2014
...could get anymore anonymous looking. I was wrong.

17 June 2014
It says..

I am a photocopier engineer, my pay is rubbish so I can't afford much company car tax too, I didn't want this but the company has a solus deal with VW and that's all they give us because a TX50EX copier fits in the back OK. My boss has a Toureg.

17 June 2014
I'm not a fan of the looks of the current Golf, with its droopy, weak looking front end, but at least the rear end is neat. I have to agree, though, that the estate version is really, really bland. On looks alone the 308 is far superior.

18 June 2014
They are as misleading as the mpg claims. So far as I know there is no standard for measuring luggage capacity, and every manufacturer has a different interpretation - some measuring up to the windowline, others up to the roofline. Some use the VDA method, which measures how many 1 litre blocks will fit into a space, others calculate assuming the space is filled with fluid
There was time when car magazines made their own measurements, but nowdays they prefer to concentrate on the important stuff - such as lap times round the Nurburgring!

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.

18 June 2014
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? :)

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.

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