It has taken bravery to redefine what remains the biggest-selling new car in Europe as Volkswagen just has.
Some will simply see it as ‘another Golf’. Others may not even think it a particularly attractive one. And yet there was clear risk in subtly but markedly reappraising this car’s ride and handling as VW has; and more so, probably, in reimagining the cabin ergonomics, and in betting big on relatively expensive touchscreen infotainment technology and the latest active safety systems.
While this car lacks a little of the lavish material plushness we’ve grown used to from Golfs, it’s no disappointment for perceived quality. Meanwhile, in the way it drives - for its laudable refinement, economy, versatility and drivability and, above all else, simply for its ready-for-anything completeness as a compact family car – it remains in a league of one.
Just as with previous Golfs, it’s not necessarily the outstanding operator in any one area that may particularly interest you; not for premium feel, performance, efficiency, on-board technology or driver appeal. But being so strong in so many areas can leave it in only one lofty place among its peers.