I just went for a quick test drive in the new Golf, 1.6 TDi SE. I really wanted to tryout a Bluemotion but I’ll have to wait a month before the dealers get hold of them, but you can order one now.
The first thing that hit me, it was very quiet. I’ll always remember when I got into that later version how loud the engine was, the common rail engine in the latest version is much, much quieter – oddly though not when you stop at traffic lights.
The loud engine didn’t put me off the MKV and so this is only going to make things better. Overall, the drive is very smooth, gear changes are solid. It feels familiar but new. Like the instrument layout and dials, not something I tend to pay much attention to but the large dials really make a difference and I noticed that even this version recommends which gear you should be in, which I thought was only on the Bluemotion.
What I really like about the Golf that not all cars get close to is that the best driving position is easy to find. Especially as the reach and rake on the steering is much further than found elsewhere.
The ride is a little firmer, but that also gives you a little more feeling as you corner. The old version did feel very soft but that is great for the kids in the back. However, I don’t think it is going to have them banging heads on the roof.
The model I had didn’t have a leather steering wheel, just the basic plastic thing which is truly awful. You probably get better steering wheel on a Sega racing game at your local games arcade.
The external styling I wasn’t sure of when I first saw it at the start of the year but it grows on you (well me at least) and is much more interesting that the last version. And as for space, it always surprises me that this is called a small family car. The space in the back for passengers is vast. I looked at a number of other cars which are much larger and none of them come close to the leg-room you get here.
Overall, same as the old version but better. More detail, better finish and quieter.