Volkswagen Golf GT 1.4

Under-the-bonnet technology is outstanding....

Since launch in 1974, over 30 million VW Golfs have been sold. In addition, there’s a Golf for every need, taste and budget, from the cost-conscious BlueMotion through the GTI to the range-topping R, as well as the voluminous Golf Estate and the Golf SV. Indeed, the Golf is a superb car and just gets better and better with age. 

It delivers precise handling with high levels of ride comfort and driving enjoyment. The car’s steering now offers more dexterity in dynamic driving situations, while ensuring high-speed steadiness, and easy manoeuvring in town.  What’s more, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is available with driver profile selection tech. This enables you to choose from four modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual; and with a direct-shift gearbox (DSG) fitted, there’s a fifth choice – Comfort. 
A DSG gearbox is brilliant because it's unlike a normal automatic transmission. Twin electronically controlled shafts administer gear selection, always foreseeing your next shift. This gives you rapid, velvety gear changes and sparkling handling with uninterrupted acceleration. 
Under- the-bonnet technology is outstanding. My GT 1.4 TSI 150 PS DSG test car had an engine with active cylinder management, which involves the short-term shutoff of the second and third cylinders. This means the car can decrease fuel consumption by over 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres. Even with two cylinders, the 1.4 TSI runs just as silently and with low vibration as with four operating combustion chambers. 
Inside the cabin, the front seats go back quite a way, benefiting taller drivers, like me. Surprisingly, this doesn't impact on passengers in the back too much; rear legroom is respectable for a medium sized hatchback. There’s decent room for luggage, too, with a low sill to make loading a piece-of-cake. In the cockpit, the centre console is slanted towards the driver, giving you easier access to auxiliary controls. 
Gadgetry includes a touch-screen system as standard. It operates with finger motions that will be familiar if you’re a smart-phone user. Features also include DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs (including USB), Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information. 
The newest VW Golf has a number of reassuring safety aids too. Standard is the multi-collision brake mechanism. This automatically stops the hatchback after a crash, to reduce kinetic energy considerably. There’s also a pre-crash system which senses the likelihood of an accident. It pre-tensions seat-belts and shuts the windows and sunroof, leaving just a tiny gap, to ensure the best possible protection from the airbags.
Overall, the car sets the quality benchmark in its class and is a great all-round hatchback with the usual Volkswagen build quality and refinement.  Its enduring popularity is due, in large, to its key values of safety, quality and technology - all of which have been fundamental to the Golf brand for the past four decades. 
Handling v
Equipment v
Safety v
Somewhat expensive X
Max speed: 134 mph
0-62 mph: 8.2 secs
Combined mpg: 60.1 
Engine: 1395 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo petrol
Max. power (bhp): 148
Max. torque (lb/ft): 184
CO2: 110 g/km
Price: £25,265 
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