By on 2018-02-18 -
Volkswagen Golf GTD
MOST motorists will undoubtedly treat the recent hullabaloo from our Westminster politicians about diesel cars being totally banned from our roads in future years with a wry smile.
Against a background of scientific proof that as today's diesel cars are often environmentally cleaner than some petrol engined cars and continue to keep lowering their CO2 levels they will be around for many years to come.
When it comes to current UK taxation and company car rules for many employees it still distinctly favours diesel over petrol, which of course is down to those same Westminster politicians in the first place.
Which is another reason why diesel cars like VW's Golf GTD remain so popular as company cars for middle management level and with the latest upgrade and facelift model that scenario looks set to continue for a long time.
This seventh generation Golf may on the surface seem little change from the previous one, or come to that the 1977 model with its distinct styling that has changed little over the years.
The GTD five-door, for example, looks similar in many respects to the outgoing version and visual changes are down to being discreet with new bumpers and LED headlights and taillights - sensibly VW designers again emphasis the point why should they change what is clearly a winning formula?
The Golf has proved to have an excellent chassis and all the engineers appear to have done this time around is slightly stiffen the suspension, slightly reduce the ride height and adopted a braking system that brakes individual wheels going into corner at any speed making it even more agile and comfortable, particularly around twisty bends on country lanes.
There's also as an option a new dual-clutch seven-speed automatic gearbox with quicker and smoother gear changes but the traditional six-speed manual gearbox on the test car was as efficient as ever with a short, crisp movement for gear changing.
VW has also proved in recent years what huge improvements there has been with diesel engines and this car's 2.0-litre turbocharged 181bhp unit (up from 168bhp on the outgoing equivalent) showed itself to be extremely quiet and refined and once at speed out on the motorways it would be difficult to decipher between a petrol and diesel engine under the bonnet.
Performance is slightly improved with this latest GTD with an acceleration of 0 to 62mph in 7.5 seconds with a claimed top speed of 144mpg and improved CO2 of 125g/km with again the real benefit for drivers being its excellent, quick response for mid range overtaking.
Diesel car drivers (and company car motorists in particular) are all looking for good mpg returns and this GTD won't disappoint because on test over a variety of different roads and some 600 miles it averaged 54.2mpg - not quite up to the official combined figure of 61.4mpg.
The cabin has also had some subtle changes but nothing so enormous which again was not needed because like all previous models the furnishing and fittings are of a high quality while the seats again give really good all round lumbar support, both in the front and rear seats.
For the driver there's an extremely efficient infotainment system with all the mod cons of today one would expect, such as Car-Net and sat nav systems, plus more giving everything someone on the move would want like finding out what the local car parking charges and fuel prices at garages nearby.
Like all VW cars today the Golf range is packed to the gunnels with safety and security features like anti-lock braking, electronic stability control, cruise control, automatic post-collision braking system, ample airbags and much more.
When it comes to prices VW claim that across the whole Golf range of petrol and diesel models they on average are £650 lower than previously with the range starting at £17,765 for the one-litre petrol 84bhp three-door.
Naturally diesels are overall slightly dearer and the five-door GTD 181bhp comes in at £27,465 which is not cheap but as always you do get a great deal of motor car for the money.
Volkswagen Golf GTD TDI
Mechanical: 181bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 144mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 61.4
Insurance Group: 28
C02 emissions: 125g/km
Bik rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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