ROADTEST REPORT: VW GOLF GTI, GOLF CABRIOLET AND TIGUAN
This year has been a busy one for Volkswagen. Wheelworldreviews editor DAVID HOOPER catches up with some of the latest newcomers.
IT’S almost unbelievable to think that Volkswagen’s Golf GTI has now been with us in its various forms for over 35 years.
For the last 10 years, Special Edition anniversary models have been produced, firstly to mark the car’s 25th anniversary, then its 30th, and now a new model marks its 35th year.
The Golf GTI is a modern iconic and in its latest incarnation it is as good as it has ever been in my opinion, although now considerably larger and more expensive than it once was.
I only had the chance for a brief drive, but got a taste for what this 235PS 2.0-litre hot hatch can do, once its lucky owners have handed over the £29,405 asking price.
My test car was equipped with the optional DSG gearbox which made it easy to drive and when you change gear with the paddles on the back of the steering wheel, it is also good fun. A manual gearbox comes as standard.
The 0-62mph sprint from a standing start can be completed in just 6.6 seconds, which is considerably quicker than the original car, as is its top speed of 153mph, yet fuel consumption is still respectable for a car with this amount of power on tap, with 26.4 on the urban cycle, 44.1 on the extra urban and 35.3 on the combined cycle, with C02 emissions of 185g/km.
On narrow wet roads in Lancashire, made all the more slippery by the falling autumn leaves, the GTI felt stable and sure-footed on the roads. The DSG gearbox worked smoothly, responding to the driver’s inputs instantaneously, and on the downshifts, automatically blipping the engine revs. Under hard acceleration, upshifts result in what sounds almost like a sonic boom from the twin exhausts at the back of the car.
The interior is beautifully fitted out and features red stitching and the now famous golf ball gearknob, and liberal sprinklings of GTI badging around the cabin.
The GTI has always been one of my favourites and this latest special edition model is a welcome addition to the lineage in my book.
Another recent newcomer to the Golf family is the new convertible model which is another long-standing feature of the VW line-up.
Designed from the ground-up as a convertible, I was pleasantly surprised by how rigid the car’s bodyshell was on what were some pretty rough country roads. There was very little scuttle shake, or flexing of the body, which means the Golf Cabriolet is good to drive.
There was another surprise in store, too – its performance. There was only a 1.4-litre engine under the bonnet of the car I drove, yet it performed like a sports car, such is the development of the latest batch of low capacity high output engines we are seeing now.
This particular model created 160PS from its 1390ccs, and 177Nm of torque, giving it a 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 134, which is plenty.
Even better news is revealed when you check the economy and C02 figures, with a combined mpg figure of 44.1 and a C02 emissions figure of 150g/km.
The roof folds down at the touch of one button, neatly behind the rear seats, leaving room inside for four. The boot is small, but big enough for a bit of shopping or a couple of weekend bags.
The car I tested cost £25,295 on the road which I think is quite tempting when you consider how well it drives.
Last up for me was the latest Tiguan, which has proved to be a popular seller for VW.
This updated model improves on the established theme with cleaner lines externally and a modest make-over inside.
The car I tested was powered by a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, with a power output of 110PS. Being the super economical BlueMotion model, the focus is on economy rather than performance, so 0-62 takes a more leisurely 11.9 seconds, but the payback comes at the pumps with a combined figure of 53.3mpg and a C02 emissions figure of 139g/km.
The higher-than-normal driving position provided a good vantage point from which to see over the stone walls which line the roads in this picturesque part of the country, and there is room inside to take your friends out for the day, with five usable seats and a good sized boot.
This model costs £21,730 on the road, and came with a few carefully chosen optional extras which included the touchscreen navigation system, Tunis alloy wheels and metallic paint.