Volkswagen Golf

Estate SE Nav 1.6

TDI

Volkswagen Golf Estate, 2017, side
Volkswagen Golf Estate, 2017, front
Volkswagen Golf Estate, 2017, rear
Volkswagen Golf Estate, 2017, rear seats
Volkswagen Golf Estate, 2017, boot
Volkswagen Golf Estate, 2017, interior, manual

IN a world of change the Volkswagen Golf has to be one of life's reassuring constants.

Here's a car that has been around in some shape or form since 1974.

Of course the Golf has changed considerably over that time and there have been many incarnations of it but ultimately the basic design blueprint has remained the same.

If you were to line-up a range of Golfs spanning the decades the family resemblance would be clear and instantaneous, which would suggest that VW got things so right all those years ago.

Little has had to be changed since then in some key respects - and I guess that's why more than 33 million of them have now been sold.

That sort of consistency is unusual in an industry where change and revolution are essentially manufacturers' raison d'Ãtre and long-serving cars which change little are rare to say the least.

It's not that often that Volkswagen introduces an all-new Golf - it's currently up to Mark VII but each of those models has undergone a mid-life makeover.

For the Golf it's essentially about freshening it up and enhancing and improving, rather than a major overhaul. Perhaps of most significance to potential Golf buyers is the fact the latest version is cheaper than its predecessor - around £650 on average, according to Volkswagen.

Along with the customary design tweaks, which are fairly minor, the latest model offers some new engines, including a 1.5-litre petrol unit, the TSI Evo.

Its introduction is a reflection of the increasing shift towards more efficient smaller petrol engines and it features VW Group's Active Cylinder Management which shuts down cylinders when they're not needed.

The Golf's exterior look has had new life breathed into it courtesy of new front and rear bumpers and LED tail lights and headlights.

Some of the big changes for the latest Golf are on the interior though.

Always a well appointed and classy cabin the latest version has a true premium feel.

A smart and stylish looking eight-inch screen is the dominant feature in this SE Nav model. Impressive as it is if you step up a level and opt for the larger Discover Navigation Pro system over the Discover Navigation system it can be operated by gesture control, a first in this segment.

Swipe your hand and it offers almost magical control of infotainment features.

One of the good things about Volkswagen is that it frequently trickles down features from more executive models and this is a great example of that.

Other standout technological features offered with the latest Golf include emergency braking, Traffic Jam Assist and Park Assist.

Given the hatchback's status as a veritable design icon, I used to think the estate looked a little strange.

But along with the evolution of the Golf the estate version has grown and matured and its latest incarnation boasts a timeless look and is well proportioned too.

One wonders just how many people plump for a crossover or an SUV over an estate these days but if you're more of a traditionalist then the Golf has most bases covered as far as estates go, even if it isn't in the cavernous load-lugger category.

Boot space is more than generous, with a 60/40 rear seat split and once folded down flat offers van-like loading space in terms of length and height.

There are also load lashing points and a variable boot floor, which is height adjustable or can be removed.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Golf Estate SE Nav 1.6 TDI

Price: £23,115

Mechanical: 113bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via five-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 68.9

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 106g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty:3yrs/100,000 miles

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