VW drops price, keeps quality with new Golf

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The new VW Golf offers more choice for less than $40,000. Photos: Supplied

Premium quality and a reputation for being the global hatchback template have long kept the Volkswagen Golf on a global pedestal and nothing changes with the latest generation - save, that is, the admission price.

There's nothing cheap about the generation-seven car in look, feel or technical makeup - gizmo-wise, this is the smartest Golf yet - but it is the best exemplar of the importer's drive to bring the ''people's car'' back into the reach of everyday folk.

The 2012 pricing restructure that brought Germany's Corolla-equivalent under $40,000 for the first time has been broadened; we've gone from one sub-$40k offering to four.

There's more to the Golf story. A 100kg weight reduction and the new powertrains and their eco-tweaks improve economy to the point where VW tips a range of 1000km from a petrol.

You'd still pick the diesel for torque but the cheapest petrol is no weakling, although with 0-100kmh times between 10.7 and 8.4 seconds, there are no sprinters.

New means old for the exterior look; the metalwork is utterly generic and evolutionary. Scooting inside eases any confusion; everything is obviously different and better. The other positive is a roomier interior and bigger boot with a two-storeyed floor.

Comfortline is accurately named: ride is supple and the chassis is stable but not athletic. The Highline has more grip, less body roll and more precise steering, but for sport you need await the 168kW GTI coming in June and the 209kW Golf R, here for Christmas.


VW drops price, keeps quality with new Golf
At a Glance


Prices: $32,250 (1.4 TSI manual) to $43,750 (DSG Highline turbo-diesel).

Engines: 1395cc four-cylinder direct injection turbocharged petrol, maximum power 90kW@5000rpm, maximum torque 200Nm@1500-4000rpm (TSi Comfortline), 103kW@4500rpm, 250Nm@1500-3500rpm (TSi Highline); 1598cc four-cylinder common rail turbo-diesel (TDi Comfortline), 77kW@3000rpm, 250Nm@1500-2750rpm; 1968cc four-cylinder common rail turbo-diesel (TDi Highline), 110kW@3500rpm, 320Nm@1750-3000rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed manual (TSi Comfortline manual); seven-speed direct shift gearbox (all other models), front-wheel drive.

Brakes and stability systems: Disc/drum brakes, ABS, EBD, ASC.

Wheels, tyres: 195/65 R15 to 225/45 R17.

Fuel and economy: 3.9 (TDi Comfortline) to 5.2 (TSi Comfortline) litres per 100km, capacity 50 litres.

Dimensions: Length 4255mm, width 1790mm, height 1452mm.