We would like to say a very big thank you to the team at Gazley VW Wellington (35-41 Kent Terrace) for allowing us use of the New VW Golf for our review and test drive. Drop in anytime to see them and to check out their complete range of new and used VW’s.

The VW Golf has grown over the years into a household name and since its launch in 1974, VW have tirelessly worked at trying to perfect their much-loved recipe. The Mark 7 is the latest generation to hit New Zealand’s shores and they are selling like hot cakes. So what is it about VW’s Golf that New Zealanders seem to love?

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First impressions

Straight away you know its a Golf, it’s something to do with its size and angular posture. The 1.4L Golf starting at $32,250 is a car with a lot of character. The subtle lines do not portray it as a sports car but you instantly get a sense that when it grows up it wants to be one, just like a kid dreaming of becoming an astronaut. The Mk7 is the next step in the evolution of the Golf’s design, slowly shifting from soft curving lines to a sleeker, more edgy and aggressive look. Adding the optional 18” alloy wheels ($1,500) just adds to the overall sporty tone. The interior gives you an enormous feeling of value for money. Very sleek, very well designed and feels like it should be in a car twice its value.

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The Test Drive

Anyone that has ever driven one of the previous generation Golfs will instantly realise that the dash is set further back in the cabin. Combined with the redesigned “A” pillar which has an additional small window between the wing mirror mount and the pillar, this gives the Golf’s cabin a very spacious and open feeling. The seats are very comfy, providing good support, and the two front seats have slightly emphasised side supports again hinting at the car’s sporty nature. The cabin is filled with a vast selection of useable storage spaces, under the seats, in the doors, even extra storage pockets either side of the boot. The boot capacity is very similar to previous Golfs, having a 380 litre capacity. With the back seats down this grows to 1270 litres.

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The centre console and dash are very intuitively designed, buttons are clustered together as you would expect and are very easy to find and navigate. Base models come with a Dark Silver Brushed dash inserts, which are switched out with Piano Black inserts on the TSi Highline model we tested. The main media interface is a combination of menu buttons along each side and a touch screen, which again was very easy to use. This interface allows you to choose between the Golf’s Drive Modes or DCC adaptive chassis controls ($2500). This option was a bit of a shock for us, as these systems are normally held back and only available for the higher end sports models, but its was great to see that you can option any golf with an array of sports features. The DCC was as easy as expected – set the mode using the touch screen from Comfort to Sport and you can instantly feel the suspension stiffen up, reducing cornering roll and decreasing shift times on the 7 speed DSG transmission, allowing for a more sporty response.

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The Mk7 Golf is a great little car to drive. Since the transition to the new MQB platform this golf has lost over 100kg compared to the Mk6 and that lighter feeling gives it quite a nimble sporty feel. This weight reduction partnered with the DCC can sometimes make you feel like you are in a much more expensive sporty car. The steering is light and direct, the chassis is very evenly balanced, the brakes are responsive and smooth to control with no sudden bite point. All of these factors give the driver the confidence needed in all weather conditions.

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As you look at all the features the Mk7 Golf you can tell that they have been meticulous in the design. Everything that is there has a purpose and has been integrated seamlessly, and in some cases better than cars 3 or 4 times the price. A good example of this is the rear view camera, a feature on most cars that ends up as a black plastic lump attached to the rear of the car somehow. VW have cleverly incorporated it into the logo on the rear door. When deactivated it is hidden away from view, but as soon as you you put the car in reverse the logo tilts up to reveal the camera. This has been available on other VW models for some time, but it just shows that VW have the utmost pride in their vehicle and will not settle for the cheapest setup they can find for what can be a simple piece of equipment.

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The golf comes with an extensive engine lineup: 1.2 and 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engines, with 63 kW (84 hp) and 103 kW (138 hp) or 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesel engines, with 77 kW (104 hp) and 110 kW (148 hp). VW say that the 1.4 Litre TSi Highline we tested has a combined fuel consumption of 5.0 L/100km, 116 g/km CO2. Our test combined city motorway and a bit of sporty stuff, giving us around 5.3 L/100km which is near enough bang on advertised. Powered By SmugWP

What its up against.

The mid-sized hatchback market is one of the toughest sections to be in right now, and the growing list of brands and models can leave you even more confused than you first realised. VW’s shift to their new modular MQB platform has been the game changer, enabling them to cut the costs from a manufacturing standpoint and pass those savings on to the customer, making the Golf incredible value for money.

Brand / ModelEnginePowerLuggage CapacityPrice
BMW 116i1.6 4 Cylinder Twin Turbo100 kw / 220 Nm360 Litres$49,800
Audi A31.4L 4 Cylinder TFSi (Turbo)90 kw / 200 Nm380 Litres$48,400
Mercedes A1801.6L 4 Cylinder, Turbo90 kw / 200 Nm341 Litres$46,900
Mini Cooper1.4L 4 Cylinder90 kw / 160 Nm160 Litres$36,200
Toyota GX1.8L 4 Cylinder103 Kw / 173 Nm360 Litres$33,490
Mazda 31.4L 4 Cylinder90 kw / 160 Nm160 Litres$32,795
VW Golf TSi1.4L 4 Cylinder, Turbo90 kw / 200 Nm380 Litres$32,250
Ford Focus1.6L 4 Cylinder, Turbo92 kw / 159 Nm373 Litres$29,990

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Pros

  • Good Visibility all round, minimal A pillar blind spot due to the new design
  • Spacious and comfortable. Even for taller people, with space for a left and right dead pedal. Rear seats also good for taller people.
  • Easy to use multimedia system,
  • More storage compartments than previous models.
  • Drive select modes, not usually seen in entry models, in the past this would only be available on more sports-orientated models like the GTi and R models.
  • Very wide and clear reversing camera.
  • Cheaper running costs due to revised engine placement.
  • Value for money due to modular MQB platform
  • Optional extras are reasonably priced for what you get.

Cons (as you will be able to tell I was trying hard to find something)

  • Mirror adjustment can be annoying, as the control dial is set at a right angle to the door.
  • Touch screen sometimes does not respond if you press it too quickly, slow firm actions are required.

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What do we think ?

The Mk7 Golf Tsi is a hard car not to like, easy to drive, nice to be in, high quality, practical and great value for money. We were not able to find much we didn’t like about this car are happy to bestow it with our very first 5 out of 5 Chevron Rating. And we just Love it.

Rating – Chevron rating 5 out of 5

Chevron_5out5

Vehicle TypeFront Engine, FWD, 5 Door Hatchback
Starting Price$39,750 NZD
Tested Price$43,750 NZD
Engine1.4L 16v Turbocharged Straight 4, , 103 kw / 138 hp, 250 Nm
Transmission7 Speed DSG Double Clutch
0 – 100 kph8.4 seconds
Curb Weight1288 kg
Length x Width x Height4255 x 1812 x 1452 mm
Cargo Capacity380 Litres
Fuel Tank50 litres
FuelUrban 6.1 L/100km

Motorway 4.4 L/100km

Combined 5.0 L/100km, 116 g/km CO2

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