Out pops the newest


Volkswagen Golf, front action
Volkswagen Golf, side action 2
Volkswagen Golf, side action
Volkswagen Golf, front static
Volkswagen Golf, upright static
Volkswagen Golf, front action
Volkswagen Golf, rear action
Volkswagen Golf, cockpit
Volkswagen Golf, boot
Volkswagen Golf, gearshift
Volkswagen Golf, rear seats
Volkswagen Golf, dash detail
Volkswagen Golf, dashboard
Volkswagen Golf, engine

BY the time you've read to the end of this another Golf will have popped off a Volkswagen production line somewhere in the world.

That's if it takes you precisely 40 seconds to finish reading - a little slower and they're already busy on the next one.

It's been like that for the last 43 years, as 33 million new Golfs made their way to billionaires and the likes of you and me (the two ends of the economic spectrum) and in the process became a properly classless car.

Now comes a gently reworked version of Golf Mk VII, barely touched on the outside (new bumpers and fancy lights excepted) but boasting the bits that increasingly sell cars today.

That brings a complex set of technologies available either as standard or at extra cost on a range down in price by an average of almost £650.

This electronic cleverness includes everything from a satellite navigation system that can be operated by simply waving a hand near the display screen to the ability to reverse a caravan into a tight space without touching the steering wheel.

Choose the right new Golf and your mobile phone will charge itself as it rests on a special pad and uses an aerial on the roof to make it more likely to hang on to a weak signal.

Apple and Android phones link easily to the car and their functions can be mirrored on the cars' new and larger touchscreens.

For those of us who wonder if we've switched the cooker off as we head to our holiday airport, the new Golfs can be interrogated via your mobile phone to see if you locked it and switched the lights off.

It will also tell you via your phone when the car exceeds a set speed or leaves a predefined area - thereby spoiling the fun of borrowing dad's Golf for a night out with your mates...

It's the sort of detail lavished on a car whose worldwide importance to the Volkswagen Group cannot be overplayed, with the UK no exception.

We bought 72,767 of them last year, making it much the most popular VW and putting it in third spot for overall sales behind the considerably cheaper Focus and Corsa.

Prices start at (an unchanged) £17,625 for a Golf S 1.0 litre TSI three-door, sitting at the base of range that currently stretches to 113 different versions, taking in three and five-door hatches and an estate.

Best sellers are likely to be in SE Nav spec, which starts at £19,465 for a three-door with 1.0 litre 110 horsepower engine but with a range of such vast diversity there's almost bound to be a Golf for you.

This could include a car with a new 1.5 litre petrol engine with 130 or 150 horsepower and showing how VW is positively deflecting the still strong storm swirling around the company's Dieselgate scandal.

There's a touch more power in the latest GTI (up 10 horsepower to 230 with 155mph available and 6.4 seconds to 62mph).

It's an indication of UK buyers love of fast Golfs that the GTI (from £27,865) is outsold here by the still faster and £4,000 dearer R model.

The most economical Golf will continue to be the all-electric version, followed - on paper at least - by the plug-in hybrid GTE with petrol/battery power and a limited all-electric range. No prices for these yet in the new Golf's phased roll out.

The cheapest car in the range is also first to be fitted with an 85 horsepower three-cylinder petrol engine, delivering an official 58.9mpg average and 109g/km of tailpipe emissions, attracting a relatively modest £140 first year road tax under the new rules.

But diesel still puts up a fight with the best selling single version of the newcomer the 2.0 litre, 184 horsepower engine in the GTD with 57.6mpg and 122g/km and priced from £27,065.

Out on the road in a GTI, the way a Golf 'just works' puts you in mind of the way an Apple computer or iPhone 'just works.' Easier said than done, of course, and only possible after a near obsessive amount of attention has been paid to the product over many years.

So no surprise that everything fits together nicely, there's a fine balance between performance and comfort and the interior of a Golf is simply a nice place to be. As ever.

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