Despite suffering a dip of 11% in worldwide sales for 2009, Volkswagen is very close to overtaking Toyota as the world's largest car manufacturer. 363,000 units separate the two as the first quarter numbers of 2009 revealed. A number which Volkswagen would easily overcome with the newly launched Mark VI Golf.
Volkswagen's rivals must really hate the Golf. 35 long years of production, and each time a new generation is required, the brief is the same: "Like the last one, if you would, only a bit better please." And that's all that's been required to keep it Europe's bestselling car.
Volkswagen made no attempts to hide the fact that the new Mark VI Golf is pretty much the same underneath the skin as the previous model. The accountants from Wolfsburg complained of thin profit margins as a result of the long 30 hours needed to build the Mark V Golf, hence a re-design was needed to maintain the financial health of the German manufacturer. Which is no bad thing since the Mark V Golf is a thoroughly well engineered euro-hatch.
The similar driving experience meant a composed ride and light fuss-free steering. The Golf Sport 1.4 TSI is not a replacement for the GT sport. Despite having a "Sport" tag on paper, this is not exactly a fun steer.The focus is clearly on making the new Golf a quiet drive. Better aerodynamics and more effective sound insulation marked an improvement in refinement.
The hushed driving manners compliments the somewhat clinical cabin that has undergone the most changes. The previous model, Mark V Golf suffered a dip in outright perceived quality in the interior. An issue which Volkswagen had taken seriously. The new Mark VI Golf feels like a return to form. Every panel is tight and consitent. Each surface feels soft and tactile to touch. A very pleasant surprise considering that the design brief was to cut cost. If not for the the peculiarly high driving position, the new Golf is spot-on for the space on offer and the placement for all major controls.
The asking price for the Golf Sport 1.4 TSI starts from S$87,800. Sounds a lot for a 1.4 litre engine. However with the help of supercharging and turbocharging, the 1.4 TSI engine churns out a healthy 160 horsepower. Mated with Volkswagen's famed Dual Clutch DSG transimission, acceleration is brisk and enjoyable; 8.0 seconds to hit 100 km/h from a standstill. Given the strong performance, fuel efficiency is unexpectedly good (6.0 litre/100km). Over the weekend with the Golf, I was close to calling Volkswagen (Singapore) to check if the fuel gauge was actually faulty. The meter barely nudges despite my heavy footed driving! Take some time to get used to the jerky low speed gear changes, otherwise, the Golf Sport 1.4 TSI's drivetrain is close to flawless, showing other manufacturers the way to downsizing petrol engines.
While the flashier Golf GTi that should arrive on local shores later in the year remains high on many's wish list, there is plenty to recommend for the Golf Sport 1.4 TSI. The European hatchback leader returns with more class and an even more affordable price tag (Especially the case for the base model with a detuned 120bhp, 1.4 TSI that starts at S$74,800). Who can argue with 35 years of evolution?
|Volkswagen Golf Sport 1.4 TSI|
|Engine||1,390cc,Supercharged and Turbocharged DOHC|
|Wheels Driven||Front Wheels|
|Max. Power||160 hp @ 5800 rpm|
|Max. Torque||240 Nm @ 2000 rpm|
|0-100 km/h||8.0 secs|
|Top speed||220 km/h|
|Fuel Economy||6.0 l/100 km (combined cycle)|
|CO2 Emissions||139 g/km (Combined)|
|Dimensions (L x W x H) / Weight|
4199mm x 1786mm x 1479 mm/ 1,286kg
|Price with COE*||$87,800|
*Prices quoted are indicative of prices in Singapore. Please contact your local distributor for prices in your country.
P.S You would need to option for bigger alloy wheels to replace the puny standard 16" ones.