THERE was a time when, if you wanted good economy and low emissions you had to buy a diesel car.
But with the advent of smaller but more powerful petrol engines things have changed. And nowhere is that illustrated better than with the latest Volkswagen Golf Match Blue Edition.
Original Golf BlueMotion editions had a 1.0-litre diesel engine with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km so there was no road tax to pay and the car had a theoretical range of 900 miles.
Now a 1.0-litre petrol engine powers the latest BlueMotion Golf and that also has the same road tax-avoiding 99 g/km.
And while its range is now just over 700 miles it packs a lively 115bhp, which means that by opting for economy you don't have to suffer sluggish motoring.
In fact despite its official 65.7 miles per gallon average this Golf will still reach 62 miles per hour in a very respectable 9.7 seconds and go on to a top speed of 127mph. And all that from an engine of just three cylinders.
The downside is that this small engined car doesn't come at a small price as it breaks through the Â£22,000 mark.
But while that's a lot for a 999cc engine this car drives so well it's hard to criticise the asking price.
I defy any driver - unaware of the engine size - to get behind the wheel of this Golf and guess the miniscule size of the engine that's powering it. It really is a superb power unit that punches well above its weight.
The car is quick, smooth and superbly refined - terms you can rarely use for a three-cylinder car.
In the case of the car I drove the engine was mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox which just added to the refinement and performance.
And if you want even more zip the DSG gearbox allows you to drive in Sport mode or even manually.
Like most modern cars this Golf is equipped with a stop/start system and the only thing I didn't like about the car was the delay in the re-starting of the engine when you pull away.
While engines from most manufacturers re-start as soon as you take your foot off the foot brake this one waits until you touch the accelerator so there is definite hesitation before you can move. To be totally safe at busy junctions you have to bleep the accelerator to re-start the engine and then press it again to pull away rather than try and do it in one smooth action.
Traditionally like all Match models this one comes well equipped, with standard features including satellite navigation, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, headlight washers and electric windows all round.
The latest Golf is the seventh generation of one of the most popular cars ever made, with some 30 million built since the first one took to the road in 1974.