Volkswagen Golf TSI Comfortline 2013 Review

Volkswagen Golf TSI Comfortline 2013 Review

When you get a car that’s only got 18km on the clock you know it’s going to be better 2000km later once it’s run in a little. We’re not allowed to do that many kilometres in the cars, though, so by the time I took the VW Golf TSI back it was barely getting warmed up.

volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-rqGiven another 1500km and the engine should have started to free up and everything would start to feel smoother. Hopefully, also the seats would soften up because I don’t have a whole lot of padding of my own in that department.

volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-front-interior

Volkswagen claims 5 litres per 100km fuel economy (combined) with the 7-speed DSG gearbox. I took an 80km jaunt up the motorway at night with the cruise control set to 105kph and I would say 5l/100km is optimistic at best (probably achieved on a test track, not Auckland’s hilly motorway system), let alone 4.3l/100km which is what VW claims for extra urban (i.e highway driving). At the speed I was doing, you’d get around 870km out of a tank (50 litres).

volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-dials.

When you’re travelling around the city, the Golf stops the engine when you stop and restarts it as you take your foot off the brake in order to save fuel. Interestingly, the 103kW version has better fuel economy and produces virtually the same CO2 (116g/km vs 117g/km). This puts it in the Euro V emissions category.

But let’s get back to the driving experience and the DSG dual-clutch gearbox. It’s super slick and just keeps getting better and better in every new VW model. Gear changes are almost instant, with the revs falling between the cogs swapping like it’s got a flywheel the weight of a gerbil. If you want to take over the changes yourself, put it in sequential mode. It’s the perfect match for the 1.4-litre 90kW engine, and performance is perfectly adequate with 100kph coming up in 9.3 seconds.

One thing to be aware of, though, with the DSG is that if you pull up to a stop then put it in reverse it takes an eternity to engage the gear. I happened to be volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-sidemanoeuvring into a park facing downhill and I nearly rolled into the car in front before it hooked up. I have experienced this before with other DSG units.

On the outside, it still looks Golfish. VW has managed to do what Porsche has done with the 911 and kept the family genes relatively unadulterated. The lines at the front are sharp, and the slightly longer wheelbase gives a sleek appearance as well as slightly more rear seat legroom.

volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-dashboardLooking at your other options in this price range, you could go for a Nissan Pulsar ST-S, but you’d only want to if acceleration was your primary objective. You could go for a Corolla, but Toyotas have come off the boil as of late; the Corolla’s good, but it doesn’t have the same consistency or solidity. Hyundai’s i30 is a worthy contender.

Being a European car, there is an extensive list of options that you can adorn your Golf with such as a winter package (heated front seats, heated front washer nozzles and more) for $1250, satellite navigation and 8-inch touchscreen ($3750), Bi-xenon headlights with dynamic cornering and headlight cleaning ($3000), DCC adaptive chassis control with driving profile selection ($2500), and proactive passenger protection system at $350 (this system closes the windows and sunroof and pre-tightens the seatbelts as a precautionary measure if it detects something is about to go horribly wrong). The price of your Golf can rapidly get up to the price of something like a Ford Focus ST which will give you more thrills.

But overall the Golf is a different beast to a hot Focus ST. The Focus ST screams excitement, but the Golf is quietly sincere. It’s got the solid Euro feeling that many others try to emulate.

Price: $32,250 (manual), $34,750 (DSG).

Pros

  • Handles and performs well
  • Frugal for a petrol motor
  • Feels more solid that most cars this size

Cons

  • Hard seats (could be because it was brand new, though)
  • Beware of the reverse gear not engaging quickly

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