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28 January 2008

Tried a (new) VW Golf 1.6 FSI

Hi everyone,

Yes, besides being a geek, I am also a car nut. Sorry about that.

I had the chance to try a VW Golf 1.6 FSI (Mk V, 2007) over a weekend in the middle of December and thought I should share my opinion about it.

Picture of a 5 door VW Golf Mark V taken from wikipedia. Click on the image above for a larger version.

The Golf has been around for some decades now, improving with its every iteration. It has always been some kind of landmark of build quality - at a price, of course - that other manufacturers try to achieve with their own equivalents.

Its build quality shows both on the inside and on the outside. Things feel solid and well put together. The car is confortable and has all the mininum gadgetry one might want (cd player, air conditioning, cruise control, on board computer, ...). I am not fond of the blue dials but that's a VW tradition...

The engine is a 4 cylinder (straight), 1.6 litre, with direct stratified injection (FSI). It offers 115bhp and is coupled with a 6 speed manual gearbox. It is joyful to drive and powerful enough but seems a bit lazy under 3000 rpm at higher speeds. Not unexpected but not an issue either.
Overall it was pretty fun to drive. Felt like it wanted to be abused a bit, but public roads don't not let me enjoy my deserved fun!

Fuel consumption was higher than I expected. It took 30 litres of petrol to do about 240 miles in motorways (at or below 70mph). That yields some 30 mpg or 8 l/100 km. Bad Golf, bad!

Considering only its reliability, building quality, driving and aesthetic point of view, would I have it? Yes, please!

Now considering everything that there is to consider about this Golf, would I buy it? Erm... No. It implies a considerably higher initial cost when compared with its close competitors and its fuel consumption is worse that what I would tolerate for a car with a commuter/family hatch soul.

Just to clarify, the fuel issue would not apply to the R32, for example. That is obviously allowed to drink whatever amounts of fuel it needs.

Cheers, PJ.

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