Volkswagen’s heavily-updated Golf launched locally last month, and though it’s officially a facelift of last year’s Golf 7, the new ‘Golf 7.5’ offers significant improvements in almost every area. We take a look at the highly-specified 110TSI Highline model to see how it measures up.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
Retailing at $34,490, the Golf 110TSI Highline is an upmarket proposition in the world of mainstream small hatches. That being said, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to Volkswagen’s classy and well-appointed hatchback.
An efficient and tractable 1.4-litre turbo petrol inline-four with 110kW and 250Nm powers the 110TSI, and in Highline guise, it comes paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic as standard. For full pricing and specifications for the 2017 Golf range, head here.
Outstanding cabin quality – great materials, tight gaps, and premium touches like carpeted door bins, roller shutters, and a fully carpeted boot all elevate the Golf’s standing in the mainstream hatch segment. In fact, it’s borderline premium in how classy it presents itself and even gives cars like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class a run for their money in the quality stakes.
Comfortable seats, and not just in the front either. The rear bench is sculpted to keep backseaters well supported and well rested, while a pair of air vents on the back of the centre console also keeps them cool.
Its steering is perfectly weighted, and the Comfortline’s skinny leather-wrapped steering wheel being a delight to hold in your hands.
Great handling and outstanding grip are two of the Golf’s strongest attributes. Thanks to its excellent suspension tuning, a sophisticated multi-link rear axle, and incisive front-end geometry help it bite down into the road. It’s stable and secure, and while the 110TSI certainly isn’t marketed as a sporty hatch, it’ll do a decent impersonation of one nevertheless.
Those sporting chops don’t come at the sacrifice of comfort either – even on the bigger wheels of our R-Line spec test car, the 110TSI rolled over big bumps, rutted roads, and expansion gaps without jostling its occupants.
Technology is another of the Golf’s strength, especially when you throw a few more dollars at its options list. Our car had the Driver Assistance Package and Infotainment Package fitted, which brings an ultra-clear reconfigurable electronic instrument panel, a slick and responsive 9.2-inch infotainment screen, a high-end 10-speaker audio system, cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and a bevy of other tech highlights.
While the Golf’s DSG gearbox is technologically advanced, being a twin-clutch automatic boasting faster shift times and greater mechanical efficiency than a regular auto, it comes with some driveability drawbacks. Moving off from standstill has never been a twin-clutch strong suit, with grabby engagement making low-speed manoeuvring – such as precision parking – difficult.
Price. At $34,490, the Golf 110TSI certainly isn’t cheap. Add the extra cost of options like metallic paint, electronic safety aids, an electronic instrument panel, a sporty R-Line bodykit, and high-end infotainment package – all of which were fitted to our test car – and the Golf starts to become an even more expensive beast. All up, the total cost of our test car was a whopping $41,290.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
There are plenty of other options in the segment, but few come close to matching the Golf’s impressive level of finish. Some key rivals include the European-made Holden Astra RS and Peugeot 308, while the Hyundai i30 SR Premium is also a worthy competitor.