AM Online

Has the VW Golf's simple excellence made it less thrilling?


£22,705 (as tested £25,535)
2.0-litre TDI: 148bhp
0-62mph 8.6secs, top speed 134mph
6sp man
68.9mpg, 106g/km CO2
RV 3yr/30k
Start mileage
Current mileage
Key rivals
Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Volvo V40, Seat Leon, BMW 1 Series



Forty years after Volkswagen introduced the Golf, the hatchback still puts much of the market to shame, combining simplicity with excellent build quality.

For overall refinement, the Mk7 is the best one yet. Volkswagen has got it bang on with its newest version of the model – I’d be nit-picking to say anything bad about it. (Maybe with it being winter it would’ve been nice to have heated seats, but now I’m being pedantic.)

However, has the hatchback lost some of the excitement it brought to the world all those years ago? It is a good car, but unfortunately good does not translate to thrilling. It doesn’t excite me in the slightest. So, why will buyers like it? Well, because it does everything they want it to do very, very well.

Our long-termer is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel model and it is unlikely that a consumer would buy this variant at all if excitement is what they are looking for.

Of the 73,880 Golfs Volkswagen sold last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT), 51,006 were diesel and 47,892 of those went to fleet customers. So it may well be that ‘excitement’ is not necessarily a requirement for the successful sale of this model.

However, to boost sales, it can’t hurt to think outside the box. Much like targeting conquest sales as opposed to relying on loyal customers, if this model were the perfect balance between its hot-hatch sibling (the first-ever hot-hatch, which originally came to market in 1976) and this, good, economic runner, then retail sales may catch up with those on the fleet side. That’s where the £26,015 Golf GTD, with 180bhp and 67.3mpg, steps in.

The Golf Mk7 is, of course, deserving of its Car of the Year titles, but for the next generation it couldn’t hurt for Volkswagen to take a little look back at its roots and try to recapture the excitement that the Mk1 sparked when it came to market.


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