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Journeys : Dec10 Jan11
Golf 118TSI Comfortline 24 December 2010 / January 2011 Life on the move Never let it be said that Volkswagen doesn’t give you choice. With the recent addition of the frugal but sporty GTD and Hero car Golf R, I make it 28 Golf variants, including four petrol and three diesel engines, six and seven-speed DSGs (Direct Shift Gearboxes), five and six-speed manuals in either wagon, three or five-door versions. Golf VI is more an evolution rather than revolution when it comes to looks. It’s a little bigger and a touch rounder, but the untrained eye might not pick too many differences. Inside it sets new benchmarks in this class for fit, finish and quality seating and soft-feel plastics. In my opinion VW is making the best cars in the world at the moment and no matter which version you choose you’re guaranteed premium build quality, benchmark interior trims buttons and switchgear, powerful yet economical engines and the knowledge that Golf has been awarded the world over, including Australia’s Best Cars category winner last year. All this doesn’t happen by accident! With all these models to choose from, it’s hard to find somewhere to start so I’ll pick on a few of my favour ites. The 118TSI Comfortline would be my entr y point into the Golf line-up. This 1.4l twin-charge (turbo and supercharged) is a beauty. Named world engine of the year in 2009 it produces an impressive 118kW and 240Nm of torque which is equivalent to the output of a 2.0l engine, but the small-capacity engine sips only 6.2l/100km on the official combined cycle. Coupled to a seven-speed DSG it will potter around the suburbs with a minimum of fuss but when required it gets busy quickly to reward those who want extra performance. Handling hasn’t been forgotten either – the 118TSI offers a firm but compliant ride and shows off an extremely well-sorted chassis/steering combination that provides good feedback to the driver. I always caution people when ticking the option boxes on Euro-built cars, but the sports option package adds 17” alloys, spor ts seats and suspension, which gives this model that extra edge in handling over entr y-level models. Inside you have climate control, iPod connectivity and wheel- mounted steering controls. Seven airbags, stability control and all the other safety features you’d expect from a premium brand are included as standard, combining to achieve a 5-star ANCAP rating across the range. Second on my shopping list would definitely be the 103TDI. The extra capacity of this 2.0l common rail turbo diesel over the entry-level 1.6l engine makes a world of difference. The 1.6 can struggle in and around the city streets, particularly when off turbo boost. No such trouble w ith the 2.0TDI! 320Nm of torque from 1750rpm ensures you’re never left wanting for gr unt. Fuel consumption in the six-speed manual is 5.3l/100km, giving a theoretical range in excess of 1000 kilometres. The 103TDI has that feeling of luxury about it. Interior appointments include dual-zone climate control, rain- sensing wipers and auto headlights. Each of the three sport variants has its own appeal. But I think the jur y is still out on the GTD. The 125kW diesel engine is an exceptionally punchy unit that is ver y deceptive in how quickly it propels you from a standstill. VW engineers have also managed to give the engine a very undiesel- like sound from under the bonnet. I’m not sure how they have managed it but it is the best-sounding diesel I have heard. As good as it is, it just doesn’t press my buttons. The GTI is great fun to drive. The poise and balance of the chassis is exceptional, you just point it at a corner and it turns in. 155kW of direct injection turbo power is about as much as you really need driving through the front wheels. Despite quite a tricky electronic locking diff, it will still momentarily pick up and spin an inside Fore! Darren Moody joins the Golf club Golf GTD
Oct Nov 2010
Feb March 2011