From £15,8278
New Golf BlueMotion continues the tradition of super-frugal, fun driving — even in its seventh generation
2 July 2013

What is it?

This is the new Golf BlueMotion, the frugality flag-waver of Volkswagen's seventh generation hatchback line-up. It’s powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 108bhp and 184lb ft of torque, but the headline figures with which we really need to concern ourselves are a claimed combined economy figure of 88.3mpg and commensurate CO2 emissions of just 85g/km – a significant 15 per cent improvement on the previous Golf BlueMotion based on the sixth-generation hatch.

The Golf BlueMotion hits its giddy new heights of efficiency with what are now a standard-issue list of engineering tweaks, nips and tucks over and above the standard Golf’s fuel-saving stop-start and battery regeneration systems.

It’s aerodynamically more efficient, thanks to a lower overall ride height (down 15mm over the regular Golf) which reduces the car’s frontal area. The BlueMotion also wears a drag-reducing roof spoiler, a revised grille and different underbody panels to improve airflow over and under the car, and it has ‘optimsed’ engine and brake cooling systems. 

The BlueMotion also wears what VW describes as 'super'-low rolling resistance tyres, and features longer gear ratios in a six-speed manual gearbox which is now lubricated by thinner-viscosity to reduce drag on the gears 

Other need-to-know figures are that the Golf BlueMotion comes in both three and five-door hatchback forms, costing £20,335 and £20,990 respectively. We drove the three-door.

What's it like?

Like a Golf, only more economical. In other words, the Golf BlueMotion is a refined, handsome, easy-to-drive hatchback with a distinct feeling of near-premium solidity and a finely honed blend of form and practical function. 

There are only two things you really want to know about the Golf BlueMotion, and that’s whether or not it can achieve anything close to its exceptional claimed combined fuel economy figure in everyday driving, and whether the engineering compromises imposed on the car to achieve those figures detract from the driving and ownership experience.

Well, in the first instance, we were restricted to a relatively short test route (about 40 miles or so of suburban and rural Dutch roads) without the opportunity to carry out brim-to-brim economy calculations of our own, so a definitive answer to the question will have to wait until we have or hands on the car for longer back in the UK.

However, on that short route, with sensible but not over-the-top restraint, the Golf’s trip computer recorded an eyebrow-raising 76mpg. If that figure is even within 10-15 per cent of accurate (which, in our experience, VW Group trip computers tend to be) it’s impressive.

As far as the compromises go, there are few. The engine is extremely smooth and refined, even down to the 1000rpm at which the on-board display’s gearchange prompter had as selecting a lower gear when decelerating. At such low revs some small amount of vibration can be felt through the steering wheel but the engine still pulls willingly and without hesitation; anywhere above that point it’s free of vibration.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

Despite the gearbox’s lengthened ratios, there’s still enough urge to pull with decent strength for safe if not overtly spirited overtakes higher up the rev range, and you’ll not be feeling out of your depth on the motorway. 

The Golf BlueMotion also rides very smoothly, with only the faintest hint of bump-thump over more pronounced holes and bumps - of which there were, admittedly, very few on Holland’s smooth and pristine continental-spec Tarmac. We’ll give the ride another look back here in the UK when we’re checking the fuel economy ourselves.

Ultimately, though, you have to play the BlueMotion’s game in order to get the best out of it, and you won’t get near those headline figures if you use the loud pedal like an on-off switch and expect the car to do the work for you. If that’s the case, and/or if you regularly travel with a full load of of people or a boot full of things, then a slightly higher-powered, but still reasonably economical, 2.0 TDI incarnation of Golf might suit your needs better.

Should I buy one?

If the overriding purchasing criteria for your family hatchback is the bottom-line economy and CO2 figure, then yes, you probably should. A Ford Focus ECOnetic costs less and promises frugality close to that of the Golf BlueMotion (83.1mpg, 88g/km), but Ford’s frugal 1.6-litre diesel isn’t as refined or as pleasurable to use as Volkswagen’s, and it’s arguably harder to get near to Ford’s claimed economy figures in day to day driving than it is VW’s. 

Volkswagen has previously set the standard for fuel-saving hatchbacks with earlier incarnations of Golf BlueMotion, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for some time.

Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion

Price £20,335; 0-62mph10.5sec; Top speed 124mph; Economy 88.3mpg; CO2 85g/km; Kerb weight 1265kg; Engine 4 cyls in-line, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power 108bhp at 3200-4000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
16
Add a comment…
Ray6O 2 July 2013

Such a boring car.....

.....that I almost couldn't be bothered to post. I know you're glad I did though.

Racotau 2 July 2013

Good, objective review

Really enjoyed reading this review. It was well written, objective and balanced. It was also cautious about the mentioned unknowns (real world economy and ride on UK roads). And no hype drivel in sight.

Great stuff. Well done Mr Dickson.  Smile

bigkenny1781 2 July 2013

Why the hate?

I just cannot believe the negativity towards Volkswagen vehicles.  

They are never going to be the cheapest or the most risky in the styling department, but they obviously produce what many people want to own and drive!

 

Citytiger 2 July 2013

bigkenny1781 wrote: I just

bigkenny1781 wrote:

I just cannot believe the negativity towards Volkswagen vehicles.  

They are never going to be the cheapest or the most risky in the styling department, but they obviously produce what many people want to own and drive!

 

The problem is kenny, the Golf is now more expensive than the equivalent and better specified Audi A3, its not negativity towards the vehicles per se, its towards the media over hyping them, people be taken in by the hype and Volkswagen forgetting what "Volks-Wagen" actually means.

They are now charging premium prices for what is an average product, yes it may have a perception of higher quality, but underneath it is still the same mechanicals that can be had for a lower price from Skoda, Seat or now even Audi, and those mechanicals are not significantly better than their opposition from Ford, Vauxhall et al.

VW are not a premium brand, they just market themselves as one, and mugs get taken in by it. 

Go into your local VW showroom and ask to drive the Golf as per this review, not the one pictured in it, and at over £20k and then tell me you dont feel short changed. 

Marc 2 July 2013

Citytiger

Citytiger wrote:

bigkenny1781 wrote:

I just cannot believe the negativity towards Volkswagen vehicles.  

They are never going to be the cheapest or the most risky in the styling department, but they obviously produce what many people want to own and drive!

 

The problem is kenny, the Golf is now more expensive than the equivalent and better specified Audi A3, its not negativity towards the vehicles per se, its towards the media over hyping them, people be taken in by the hype and Volkswagen forgetting what "Volks-Wagen" actually means.

They are now charging premium prices for what is an average product, yes it may have a perception of higher quality, but underneath it is still the same mechanicals that can be had for a lower price from Skoda, Seat or now even Audi, and those mechanicals are not significantly better than their opposition from Ford, Vauxhall et al.

VW are not a premium brand, they just market themselves as one, and mugs get taken in by it. 

Go into your local VW showroom and ask to drive the Golf as per this review, not the one pictured in it, and at over £20k and then tell me you dont feel short changed. 

I've recently gone from having a Volvo V60 on contract hire to having my wifes Golf GTD MK6 for the remainder of its contract hire period and in my view it's the Golf that feels the better car in terms of quality and to drive even though the Golf is a class down and had a list price of 3k lower. Having had a few different marques of cars in recent years, I believe there is a clear difference in quality between VW and the likes of Ford Vauxhall etc, never had any reliability issues with any VW's either but have had pretty bad experience with Fords.

Golf's are usually considerably cheaper to hire/lease than Focus' and Astra's etc due to the better residuals too. List prices are almost irrelavant, how many people actually buy cars outright these days.

 

 

 

bigkenny1781 2 July 2013

Premium Brand?

..Citytiger I see where you are coming from, but don't agree when you say that VW aren't a premium brand.  What are they then? A Ford, Vauxhall or Hyundai/Kia equivalent or maybe on par with Fiat, Alfa or Peugeot???

Their vehicles breed a loyalty and following that very few other manufacturers can hold a candle to ... so basically it's all 'smoke and mirrors' - selling a crap product for high value (but if this was the case, then why are the residuals so good).  If you know anything about engineering and quality materials, you will realise that VW Group are in it for the long-haul - have a look at the factories they have - absolute world-class.

I don't want to come across as some enthusiast, but I can clearly see the engineering finesse in their product compared with the opposition.  PS.  I worked for Vauxhall for 11 years - There's no comparison in my eyes.

Flatus senex 3 July 2013

bigkenny1781

bigkenny1781 wrote:

..Citytiger I see where you are coming from, but don't agree when you say that VW aren't a premium brand.  What are they then? A Ford, Vauxhall or Hyundai/Kia equivalent or maybe on par with Fiat, Alfa or Peugeot???

Their vehicles breed a loyalty and following that very few other manufacturers can hold a candle to ... so basically it's all 'smoke and mirrors' - selling a crap product for high value (but if this was the case, then why are the residuals so good).  If you know anything about engineering and quality materials, you will realise that VW Group are in it for the long-haul - have a look at the factories they have - absolute world-class.

I don't want to come across as some enthusiast, but I can clearly see the engineering finesse in their product compared with the opposition.  PS.  I worked for Vauxhall for 11 years - There's no comparison in my eyes.

When I hear the word "residuals" I "reach for my revolver"! A vehicle where everything is an "extra" will fare better than one which comes fully equipped at an inclusive price, for residuals are based on the list price not on what you actually pay. 

As for "quality materials" I would cite a colleague whose new VW suffered from repeated electric window problems caused by breakage of plastic components. After a deal of argument a change to stainless steel components eventually rectified this but, as she says, this known problem should have been sorted by the factory rather than gamble that only a few vehicles would suffer. Her family moved en masse to Skoda, whose stuff does at least seem to be screwed together decently, when a brand new VW suffered a catastrophic engine failure.

I am not saying that VW are any worse than others but they would appear to be no better either. There is a maxim that there are lies, damn lies and statistics but such reliability statistics as there are suggest no better than mediocre figures for this make.

As for brand loyalty, people will believe what they want to believe. The Germans wanted to believe the 1944 invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais. Steps were taken to massage this belief.

danielcoote 4 July 2013

Well...

...you might want to revisit VX Kenny because my British built Astra Tourer has completed 44k miles in just 2 years with only an occasional sticking disc calliper to report (between 35k and 38k miles). It's been well and truly family attacked and driven hard. Oh and it sticks out 165bhp AND returns a TANK avg mpg of 52.

Generally though, this Leaf/BlueMotion nonsense just ain't fun/rapid enough - and I'm sure all 2.0/3.0 diesel drivers (regardless of manufacturer) will agree. I just can't imagine downsizing on horses when there's significant clobber to transport!

 

Citytiger 5 July 2013

bigkenny1781

bigkenny1781 wrote:

..Citytiger I see where you are coming from, but don't agree when you say that VW aren't a premium brand.  What are they then? A Ford, Vauxhall or Hyundai/Kia equivalent or maybe on par with Fiat, Alfa or Peugeot???

Their vehicles breed a loyalty and following that very few other manufacturers can hold a candle to ... 

OK lets try a different route, I am sure you will agree, underneath the quality plastics, the components and oily bits are virtually the same wheter its got a Skoda, Seat, VW or Audi badge on, I am also sure you will agree that Audi usally get high praise for the quality of their interiors, VW are now using higher grade materials than Skoda or Seat, so the difference to them being a premium product and standard brand, is the grade of interior, I will give you that.

However, I dont know about you but, the only part of my cars interior I touch on a regular basis are the steering wheel and the gear lever, and I am sure you will agree there is nothing better than getting behind a nice steering wheel.

Now to me, nothing screams premium more than a £20k+ car with a plastic (single function - no nice controls for the stereo or cruise or whatever) steering wheel and gear lever.

As for brand loyalty, I know lots of people who will only drive Fords, and wouldnt touch a Vauxhall if you paid them and vice versa, the same goes for lots of brands, not just VW, I also believe that most Volvo sales are repeat customers, or those that are fed up with the rock hard ride of Audi or BMW and want something with a bit of comfort, dont get me wrong Volvo are not brilliant, but their seats generally are. Saab had a massively loyal customer base, until they sold out to GM.

VW are not classed as a premium product in Germany, they sell very well because as a whole Germans are very loyal to German brands, but they are considered run of the mill just the same as Ford or Opel. (My German wife agrees with me)..  

Find an Autocar car review