Golf Estate SE 1.6 TDI (105PS) BlueMotion
in fast-flowing as well as snails
pace traffic, the 1.6-litre Golf Estate
BlueMotion weve been using all
week consistently hit 60mpg+...
ALL THOSE DOUBTING THOMASES out there, officially the combined cycle claims
72.4mpg for the Golf Estate. However, everybody knows that these EU-enforced,
lab-obtained, rolling road figures are often impossible to replicate on roads
that don't roll. So our overall average of 64.7mpg was fine
no complaints with that. And longer motorway journeys should stretch that figure
Technophobes will be happy to learn that there's no hybrid technology involved,
and no comfort sacrifices or performance compromises called for on the driver's
part to achieve this satisfying level of economy.
Everybody knows the Golf; not so many are aware of the Golf Estate. We'll keep
it short the Estate is a Golf hatchback with an estate tail! It
also benefits from the same understated, clean-cut looks, the same classy cabin
and the same desirable Volkswagen badge.
BlueMotion version we've been driving for the past week comes with a 1.6-litre
four-cylinder turbodiesel in its engine bay. Other powerplant choices are 1.2
and 1.4-litre TSI petrol engines as well as 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI diesel units.
And the three trim levels are S, SE and GT.
it seems surprising
on paper, at least
to have just five gears.
But five is all this
BlueMotion Golf Estate
needs to return
The BlueMotion is partnered with a five-speed manual gearbox with a pleasingly
slick change action. With eight-speed double-clutch gearboxes becoming commonplace
it seems surprising on paper, at least to make do
with 'only' five gears. But five is all this Golf Estate needs to return 60mpg+.
Incidentally, emissions are as low as the miles-per-gallon figure is high: a
As they say, "it's good to 'torque'" and the 1.6 has a decent
amount of it: 184lb ft between 1,500 and 2,750rpm. Which equals an ample sufficiency
to lug whatever it is you need to carry in the 1,620-litre loadbay. Together
with an able 103bhp (105PS) the 1.6 gets off the line to pass 62mph in 11.2
seconds and on to a maximum of 120mph. All of which is perfectly fine for a
Talking of the boot, you open it by pushing on the high lifting tailgate's VW
badge (which helps keep your fingers clean in dirty weather) and even with passengers
in the rear seat its substantial 605 litres will accommodate a family-size set
of suitcases or four-legged family members with
ease. If you've only loaded to below the window line then access is made easier
by the practical roller blind luggage cover.
Tilt the end flap and the cover automatically retracts, initially to the halfway
point; repeat the action and it retracts all the way back. Also well thought-out
is the two level boot floor in its higher setting the floor is
level with the knee-height load sill, which makes light work when loading heavy
or bulky items.
And for those times when you really only need to carry a small amount (or need
to separate different types of things) then the segmented folding boot floor
can be refolded to create separate partitions across the metre-wide boot. An
unexpected feature that comes in very handy!
Converting the boot into a 1,620-litre cargo bay couldn't be easier: just pull
the levers (one each side, close to the tailgate) and the 60:40-split rear seatbacks
spring forward to fold flat. That's it you now have a long, wide,
seamless loadbay floor that's level with the bumper. The load cover cassette
conveniently stores away under the boot floor, where you'll also find a space-saver
spare wheel and some extra storage room.
good news the seatbelts are arranged so they don't get caught
up when you lift and lock the backrests back in their 'passenger' position.
Finally, a large load-through hatch allows for skis and the like to be carried
at the same time as a pair of adults in the back seats. Now if all that's not
seriously family-friendly, then we don't know what is!
Converting the boot into
a 1,620-litre cargo bay
couldnt be easier:
pull the levers (one each
side of the tailgate) and
fold flat to create a
long, wide, seamless
loadbay floor thats level
with the bumper...
Back in the front, large door openings designed for big adult bodies ensure
there's no head banging getting in or out. Settle back in the supportive, nicely
bolstered fabric-covered seat behind the smart flat-bottomed multifunction steering
wheel and you feel calm, composed and totally at home.
There's oodles of personal room in all directions, especially above your head,
even for six-footers. At the other end, foot room is big enough for you to drive
wearing hiking or work boots. Smooth, fast manual seat and wheel adjustment
guarantees a first-rate driving position in seconds. Wide outer armrests on
the doors and a wide, height-adjustable centre armrest, lumbar support, and
height-adjustable front belts and chairs all boost comfort.
Build quality is typical VW, with excellent attention to detail; trim materials
are executive quality items including the smart 'brushed' dark silver finish
to the centre stack, instrument pack, gearlever surround, and doors. Switchgear
ergonomics are spot-on. A touchscreen inset top centre of the dash links you
directly into the infotainment and navigation features; on-screen menus are
clear and logical, helped by shortcut buttons either side of the display. Should
you prefer, just about everything can be operated using the steering wheel-mounted
buttons or your voice.
The SatNav is straightforward with 3D displays (including full postcode destination
input) and directs you with total accuracy thanks to concise spoken directions
and supporting graphic prompts on the smaller driver's info screen between the
speedo and rev-counter. A nice touch: as your finger approaches the touchscreen,
it's 'sensed' and the various functions appear ready to be pressed. Very helpful
too, and potentially licence-saving, is the road speed limit displayed in the
top corner of the map.
Estate owners don't go short of kit: there's 2Zone AirCon, electric windows
(all one-shot up/down), heated power-adjustable door mirrors, Driver Profile
Selection (five different driving modes), Bluetooth hands-free, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, auto lights, Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and
City Emergency Braking, a speed limiter, a no-nonsense electric handbrake (with
auto hold for smooth pull-aways on hills), DAB digital radio, tyre pressure
monitoring, Driver Alert (advises you when you need to take a break), stop-start,
and a set of alloy wheels.
are large and deep and along with the light-coloured upholstery, door trims
and lower dashboard, keep the interior feeling fresh and airy. Contributing
further to the agreeable cabin ambiance is the excellent soundproofing
no wind noise or road noise in here. Even the diesel engine is reluctant to
Contributing further to
the agreeable cabin
ambiance is the excellent
wind noise or road noise
in here. Even the diesel
engine is reluctant to
Keeping personal 'stuff' organised is made easy by the number of cubbies and
bins: large chilled glovebox (lit, lined and lockable), drop-down sunglasses
holder, big bottle-holding door pockets, twin cupholders, large coin/oddments
box in the lower fascia, and a slide-out drawer in the base of the front passenger
Three headrests and three belts confirm three adults can be accommodated in
the rear cabin. Not surprisingly, drop down the wide centre armrest and relax
back against the semi-reclined seatback and two will come over all selfish.
But even if they let a third sit between them he or she will still, like them,
have a fist of space above their head.
The large open storage bin incorporated into the drop-down rear armrest doubles
as a customisable cupholder for instance; thanks to simple lift-out,
repositionable sections you can, in seconds, have a large and a small cupholder
Well-placed overhead reading lights, magazine pockets, dedicated rear air vents,
loads of knee room and decent foot room, and wide outer armrests all improve
life for rear seat passengers. They also enjoy uninterrupted views out, even
to the front through the large gap between the front seatbacks.
you family travels in your car you'll want to be sure that it has all the best
proactive safety features. The Golf Estate will put your mind at rest as it's
fitted with seven airbags, including one for the driver's knee. You can also
depend on its traction and stability control system to help out unobtrusively
in tricky situations plus there's a city emergency braking system that will
stop the car for you if you're not reacting to its audible and flashing alarms
warning of an imminent collision. And should all else fail there's a pre-crash
occupant protection system.
features such as the adaptive cruise control also help safety, as does the driver
alert system that can spot if you're tiring, and even Park Assist helps avoid
parking dings and kerb-scuffed alloys.
parking sensors cover not only the nose and tail but also the sides
particularly useful when squeezing over on narrow country lanes or up close
to walls and there's a graphic display on the screen.
The steering is
responsive and turn-in
is crisp on the open
road the Estate feels
satisfyingly agile and
holds its line
through a series of
easy work of driving the Golf is its fine all-round visibility, even rearwards
through the wide back screen. So parking is a breeze even if you don't press
the button to call up the onboard electronic parking jockey.
The steering is responsive and turn-in is crisp, and while it's light enough
for prolonged town use it firms-up well at speed on the open road where it feels
satisfyingly agile (particularly in Sport mode) and stays composed, holding
its line in corners and, reassuringly, through a series of quick bends.
Underpinning the Estate's pleasing driving experience is the Volkswagen group's
new MQB platform (it provides extra strength allied to lighter weight) along
with Driver Profile Selection that offers a choice of five driving modes at
the press of a button: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Eco, as well as Individual
for which the driver can pick 'n' mix their preferred dynamics from a menu on
the infotainment screen.
VW's engineers have fettled a good balance between handling and ride for the
Estate. The ride is composed and it's good at soaking up the miles as well as
urban bumps and humps; it's also adept at cruising motorways. The 16-inch alloys
wear 205/55 rubber and don't compromise the ride quality while still looking
right in the wheel arches.
A good-looking, versatile estate with a huge boot for real-world families along
with real-life 60mpg economy, the Golf Estate is also easy and pleasant to drive,
whether you're popping down to the shops or holidaying en famille. A fine long-term
buy; like a puppy, a Golf Estate is not just for Christmas, but for life.
Volkswagen Golf Estate SE 1.6 TDI (105PS) BlueMotion
Maximum speed: 120mph | 0-62mph: 11.2 seconds | Test Average: 64.7mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 102g/km