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by Jez Spinks

It’s nothing new for a particular car to be the envy of rival manufacturers, but the hue is never a richer shade of green when it comes to the Volkswagen Golf.

The little German hatchback has totalled more than 27 million sales over six generations since it effectively replaced the Beetle as VW’s ‘People’s car’ back in 1974.

And it’s not just the likes of the Ford, Mazda or Hyundai that aspire to be like the Golf, it’s also the established luxury brands.

At the 2012 Geneva motor show, there was an unprecedented trio of hatchbacks that in early 2013 in Australia will be joining the BMW 1 Series in vying for the attention of both younger buyers looking for a more premium offering and luxury car customers who want to downsize without losing out on creature comforts or advanced technologies.


Audi A3
Much fuss has been made recently about Audi’s pint-sized A1, but now it’s the turn of the company’s bigger hatchback. The design of the A3 brings few surprises, merely evolving a shape that first appeared in the mid-’90s.

Under the skin, however, lies the Volkswagen Group’s all-new ‘MQB’ modular platform that will provide the structural foundations for about 40 new vehicles including the seventh-generation Golf due locally in the first half of 2013.

More transparent to potential buyers will be a high-quality cabin that will again show why Audi is the brand you’d choose if you were to ever hire a car maker to do your house interior renovations. There will also be features and technology that have cascaded down from the company’s flagship model, the A8 limo – including a touchpad dial on the centre console for controlling the A3’s menu system.

Petrol and diesel engines will range in size from 1.2 to 2.0 litres, with a 1.6-litre diesel model producing emissions as low as 99 grams per 100km. For sportier-minded drivers, adaptive dampers and an optional sports suspension will be available, while further down the track S3 and RS3 performance variants can be expected.


Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The original baby Benz was infamous for rolling during an animal-avoidance test soon after its launch, and renowned for innovations such as a manual gearbox that dispensed with a clutch pedal and a ‘sandwich’ floor construction that helped protect occupants in the event of a frontal crash.

It also sold in respectable numbers – though to a generally older audience than what was anticipated by Mercedes for its most affordable model. The more mature demographic can be blamed on the MPV-like styling of the old A-Class, which was used in extended form for the sibling B-Class.

That higher-riding approach remains for the new B-Class but the new A-Class switches to a new-from-the-ground-up hatchback style as Mercedes aggressively chases a younger audience. Pricing in Australia will start from just $35,600.

The new longer and lower A-Class features a stylishly sculptured look, while the interior brings a major upgrade in materials and presentation over its predecessor. Apple-inspired touches such as the iPad-style central dash display and full iPhone compatibility will help ensure the new A-Class has greater appeal to the younger generation.


Volvo V40
Swedish for five-door hatchback now translates as V40 after Volvo unveiled its new small car challenger in March. The V40 is based on the platform of the not-so-practical three-door C30 and is the company’s first five-door hatch since the 440 of the ’80s.

Europe will account for 85 per cent of the 90,000 V40s Volvo will build annually, but the model will be available in Australia from as early as late 2012.

The range will include a turbo diesel emitting just 94g of carbon dioxide per 100km and a turbo petrol that can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds.

Volvo says it will be the best car to drive in the segment – a big claim considering it doesn’t set this kind of benchmark with any other vehicle and that it will compete against the standard-bearing BMW 1-Series.

Less controversial is an interior that follows Volvo’s XC60 SUV and S60 sedan in marrying distinctive Scandinavian design with high-level quality and fit and finish.

As it’s a Volvo you may be wondering about safety. Well, for starters there’s a system that helps prevent you running into the car ahead if you’ve become distracted, while the V40 aims to look after pedestrians like no car before it by not only featuring a pedestrian-detection system but also the world’s first pedestrian airbag incorporated into the front bumper.

  • Waggaclint

    Maybe Audi Merc and Volvo need to lower they prices if they want to take sales from the Golf?

    • tonyW

      Audi and M-B probably don’t have to lower prices to compete with the Golf – to a large extent they can rely on badge-snobbery (whether it is real or imaginary). Its second-tier manufactures like Volvo which can no longer play the safety card who need to have a good look at their prices, not just with the coming V40, but across their range. 

    • Noel

      I think you will find the MB A-Class competes more closely to the Golf than you imagine.  Of course if you’re looking for an entry level Golf, MB don’t have anything to compete and nor should they.  Additionally, the MB A class has features a Golf buyer can only dream of until the new Golf is released.

      • Zaccy16

        yeah the a class will be targeting the low to high 30’s models of the golf not the lower models

        • 5reasonreviews.com

          Agree – the (brilliant new) A-class is really competing with the BMW 1 Series and this is where it is priced

    • VW owner

      Having had a new MkV GTI for 2 years I loved it. However I sold it back to the dealer 1 month after warranty expired ( aircon stopped for 2-3 months, then electrical faults stopped car altogether – I still don’t know what happened to it ). I then had Mk VI Golf R – again loved it – but battery started draining – rain sensor finally the cause. Then sold it with 1 year waranty left. 2 golfs are my limit. I await A class arrival – esp AMG variant with interest.

  • nugsdad

    I want to know who wants to pay for pedestrian safety devices when the Hilux beside you has bull bars with fishing rod holders welded to the top?

    • Grantj


    • Ctsv

      If a Hilux driver kills or seriously injures a pedestrian they are going to feel pretty bad for a good part of their life. If a V40 driver hits a pedestrian, but they survive because of the world first technology, it is a serious but less devastating event. This is perhaps one aspect to consider.

      • JooberJCW

        Agree, mental costs play a bigger part from both victim (family) and drivers side

    • Mike

      That excuse can be used everywhere – littering the landscape, embezzlement, whatever. Civilization is built on most people doing the right thing regardless.

    • Dave W

      So the pedestrian bounces off Volvo’s “pedestrian airbag” straight into the Hilux’s bullbar…

      • JooberJCW

        It would be captured and go straight to Youtube…

  • Joe

    I’m sorry, but having driven every series of Golf, and spoken to MANY disappointed owners of the Golf is far away from a “leader” in the category. I honestly do not know what journalists are on about…….

    • Noel

      I think it is interesting, either people buy a Golf and would never touch another one or they have the best experience ever.  My best mate is a valuer for a large Sydney franchise (not Volkswagen though) and he has told me time and again, they will buy a DSG Volkswagen if it still has at least 6 months new vehicle warranty for their used car yards otherwise they palm them off to other dealers/actions etc.  He said they have been burnt too many times with the transmission, as for the rest of the car, it’s the same as buying anything mainstream, you get good ones and bad ones.

      Surely we have other valuers and wholsalers who looks at this site, is this a widely held opinion or just something his franchise (and maybe even just him) believes? 

      • Blair Waldorf

         Agreed, the trick with buying a VW is to buy the manual. Avoid any automated manual (single or dual clutch) gearboxes like the plague. Alfa Selespeed, BMW SMG, VW DSG, Ferrari F1, Lambo E-Gear – they’re all unreliable as hell.

      • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

        From my understanding the DSG is a true ‘manual with no clutch and gear changing’ transmission, unlike a torque converter or a CVT. You have to drive it as if it was a manual and pretend there’s a clutch there. So no ‘creeping’ that everyone does with a torque converter, and other things. It is when you treat it as if it is not a manual that it will break down very easily. That’s how owners can damage it and it wouldn’t really be VW’s fault. Other than that, it would be VW’s own fault such as mechatronic. I’m not too sure myself but I have been researching this lately so this is about all I know.

        • Noel

          The fact people drive them like autos and not manuals damage them makes a lot of sense!!

        • The Hound

          Mine crapped itself after 8000ks of largely highway driving, so the ‘don’t creep’ or ‘don’t drive it like a torque converter auto’ thing is not relevant (this is a new one from the apologists to explain the DSG issues that I’ve started hearing in the last few months). No gearbox should fail that quickly unless you are flicking it into reverse at 110ks!

          The veedub is an awesome machine when it works, which explains why the fanboys love them so much when you get a good one. It is bloody terrible when it lets you down, which it has all to often for me, so I can see the other side. It explains the love – hate dynamic that seems to go on.

          Can’t we just say ‘good on you’ to the guys lucky enough to get one with no hassles and would never own anything else, and ‘unlucky mate’ to the guys that have a lemon and vow (rightly) never to get another VW. It’d save a lot of the nasty, immature, personal comments that are going around.

      • Think used

        Every used car lot in Australia has a fear of Golf DSG because of the issues they’ve been caught out by. This doesn’t mean it affects every car just enough to make us all weary of it!

    • Golfschwein

      I do. Brilliant cars that fit like a glove. I encountered numerous people during ownership of mine and they would say, “Oh, I had a Golf 10 years ago in (whatever name of country) and I loved that car”.  But thank heavens for independent thought processes like yours. Hey, we can’t all like the same thing.

      • Patron

        Agreed, thank heavens for independent thought processes like you and Joe. Good effort from both of you.

      • Noel

        and further to your point of us not all liking the same thing, as much as it sounds like a cliche, the competition trying to out do each other makes drivers the winners. 

        • Golfschwein

          As always!

      • Hung Low

        Did you meet these people during your gypsy traveller days when it was cool to wear a VW badge around your neck?

        • Golfschwein

          So lame. But not to worry. Once you’ve given yourself 15 likes for your own comment, people won’t even think twice.

    • Hapless Possum

      We’ve actually got two Golfs in the family; a 2010 118tsi and a 2002 model as well. The 118tsi is a DSG and the other one is an automatic. They’ve both been faultless so far with no reliability issues whatsoever. I think we’ve been extremely lucky judging by what everyone is saying about their poor reliability.

      • Golfmother

        Lots of hype re reliability from the serial haters , i am on my third GTI no problems , friends with diesel golf and passats nothing but joy and they have DSG .

        Journalists world wide still rate as the best all round hatch for the price , 27 million and counting , der golf .

        • Monk

          If they have no problems, why have you needed 3? Bailing out before the warranty ends or some other legit reason? Just curious.

          • Golfmother

            LEASES .

          • Dom

            Smart move…i wouldn’t own once the warranty runs out either!

        • Unidexter Hopping

          My experience with 2 new Golfs has been bad. Both cars were unreliable and plagued with faults… A total of 80 plus issues over 5 years for one of these cars. As a result, I will be avoiding VAG and other euro brands and sticking to the better Japanese brands.

          • Golfmother

            Mr anal counted 80 issues , more fables , you stick with the refridgerator corolla’s bud , dont forget a grey cardigan its gets cold in there .

          • Dom

            Always in denial Legnab!

          • Unidexter Hopping

            Believe what you want, my VW ownership experiences have been poor over 2 cars. If you want to buy VW be my guest.

    • Zaccy16

      Because the golf handles brilliantly but is good on fuel and has fantastic TSI and TDI engines and quality interiors

      • Leesyd

        There you go again Zacchy16 – no idea with absolute confidence. Bet you have never driven one.

        • Zaccy16

          Well i own a polo and have test driven the golf gtd and golf wagon tsi when looking at the polo, is that a good enough answer for you?

          • Barry


    • Glenn59

      Well you are entitled to your opinion but the fact is that owner satisfaction surveys put VW near the top of the market.  Add to that the fact that Golf’s totally dominate comparison test and have dominated their class for decades and I think your position does not reflect the true worth of the car. 

  • Davidkymdell

    The numbers of golfs sold speaks for itself. That’s the only thing I see being referenced here. I can’t see how a product that has sold this well for decades and is a market leader would have so many consistent faults. The market just doesn’t work that way.

    Oh… I drive a Toyota echo.

  • F1orce

    Who makes the Golf batteries?

    • Golfmother

      Duracel .

    • Hanson_pete

       Golf normally use Varta Batteries. My stock battery lasted 7 1/2 years before I needed to change it.

  • twincharger

    $35,600 for a Mercedes wow,mk7 rolf going to under massive pressure.The Volvo pictured above also looks smart,and dont forget Opel.
    None of the brands that i have mentioned have  the Volkswagen reliability issues.

    • Cooper

      Your VW comments have reliability issues…Punk !!!!

    • Golfmother

      Haha opel no issues your kidding

      Golf starts $22k big difference to $36k for A class .

      • twincharger

        Opel are new in town give them a go.36k is a rival to gti+r+scirocco.VW are just a big bunch of showoffs.Even in my bogan  street theres a tiguan,rolf and passat.

        • Golfmother

          No the rival 250 is $48 to $39k for the golf GTI so they say , i would guess the A3 will be more the A class competitor , we are yet to see what standard kit the mk7 gti will carry against the A class .

          Good to see the neighbour hood is looking up , murray bridge is  a nice town .

        • Golfschwein

          And we can’t show off, can’t we? No, no, no, Australians aren’t allowed to  own nice things. Or, to put it in a local perspective, do you reckon a young tradesman buying his first brand new metallic purple SSV ute isn’t showing off? I say he is. But I also say blardy good on him, he has every right to feel as pleased as punch. Everyone has an assessment of ‘nice’ and buys accordingly.

        • JooberJCW

          How is a VW a showoff, they are pretty conservative in their styling. If your a fan of interior aesthetics and quality, VW have little competition with other mainstream manufacturers

          • twincharger

            Vw sells as a prestige vechle in Australia.

      • Leesyd

        Golfmother, in your experience what are Opels issues? As a veteran Opel owner both here and overseas I doubt that you would have first or even second hand experience

  • Guy

    Volvo schmolvo….best handling car in segment ? …Pfffft !!

  • Robin_Graves

    Another journalistic info-mercial. Golfs are all fine and dandy for one week when they are brand new, try owning one of the many duds and see how happy you are.  The Golf is a disgrace to the ‘peoples car’ philosophy of the Beetle.

    • Golfschwein

      “the hue is never a richer shade of green when it comes to the Volkswagen Golf.”

      • Robin_Graves

        The only thing in this article a richer shade of green is money.

    • Golfmother

      BLA BLA the cracked record keeps grinding out the same tune , trouble is no ones listening .

      What was it last month 1300 falcoons and falling , 2300  golfs and rising .

      Give up grave robber 2300 cannot be that stupid , then again 1300 were , so maybe your right  buyers are gullible .

      • Lockyj

        LOL….Golfmother of all people complaining about the serial haters and the same old tune. Aren’t we overdue for another Falcon bashing? It’ s been 55mins so far…we’re overdue

        • Golfmother

          Anytime, the grave robber likes it when we balance his caustic views on VAG .

          • Robin_Graves

            I dont affiliate to a single badge like you do – if they learn how to make one stay together I might even own one – but for now, avoid like the plague.

          • Golfmother

            Weird you obsess over one badge with every comment ,your good for a laff , it’s nothing like a golf.

      • Robin_Graves

        Here we go again, how many records does Justin Bieber sell?

      • Dave W

        34,000 Toyota Hilux were sold in 2012 to date…….. Only 15,000 Golf were sold to date. I just hope you can see the connection between Hilux and Golf the way you see the connection between Falcon and Golf. Because I sure don’t.

        Actually, I’ve seen a few retarded Golf drivers on the road, lots of slow ones too, then the wannabes that can only go fast in a straight road and become Miss Daisy in a tight curvy road. My point is, just because someone buys a good car, doesn’t mean he’s a good driver.

        If I misunderstood your post… it’s not my fault. Your post is rather poorly written.

        • Golfmother

          You stick to comments on trucks , obviously never driven a GTI .

          • Dave W

            Mate, not all Golf are GTI. Besides, I don’t need to drive a Golf to comment on Golf drivers.

  • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

    to everyone out there bashing other makes, guess what…..your all wrong.

    I wourk in a franchise dealership running a few brands including ford and vw and i am sorry to say but there are more VAG vehicles arriving on a truck than our other brands combined.

    the difference is the way aussies see things. Ford is apparently destined to break down so therefore when it does someone just goes ‘what a piece of rubbish’
    VW’s have gearbox issues yet people new of this specific issue and therefore dont complain about it once it does happen. And it is expensive if VW dont come to the party or it is out of warranty. 
    The other thing we have found is that the less people spend on the initial purchase the more they complain.

    In reply to the person re the wholesale side of things, it is correct that a DSG vehicle comes under much closer scrutiny during the RWC process and if even a minor glitch is found we will 99 time out of 100 get rid of the vehicle to another yard or auction. this is not rubbish this is the facts.

    By the way a golf drives great but it is a little germanic to drive. this means does everything right with little actual connection.

    If you are comparing vehicles i would drive everything you may even think you could live with and you may be pleasantly suprised by other makes. i.e. dont buy a corolla just because your company has 100 of them. it doesnt mean they are good it means they make better financial sense to a business due to massive discounts you cant get.

  • Waggaclint

    Hopefully VW will have there motor problems sorted in the new Golf when it arrives next year..

    • vw owner

      Having had a new MkV GTI for 2 years I loved it. However I sold it back to the dealer 1 month after warranty expired ( aircon stopped for 2-3 months, then electrical faults stopped car altogether – I still don’t know what happened to it ). I then had Mk VI Golf R – again loved it – but battery started draining – rain sensor finally the cause. Then sold it with 1 year warranty left. 2 golfs are my limit. I await A class arrival – esp AMG variant with interest.


      • JooberJCW

        So what do you drive now since your still a VW owner? Jetta? Passat?

        • vw owner

          Should say no longer VW owner. Test driving numerous makes. backup car is V8 crewman ute.

          • Golfmother

            Got a fuel tanker to tow behind .

      • Golfmother

        Dreamer , myths and tall tales .

        • Robin_Graves

          Are you religious?  LALALALALALALA I’m right your’e wrong I cant hear you!

    • Jober As A Sudge

      Binning the 1.4TSI is a step in the right direction until they can sort out some of the problems with it.

      • Monk

        But lots of people bought it therefore it must be amazing and special and worthy of adulation

        • Jober As A Sudge

          That engine is “amazing” and “worthy of adulation”…until a piston decides the best place for it is in pieces throughout your engine.

          • Golfmother

            Slobering judge , just did quick 420 k trip shaking with dread all the way expecting the explosion .

            Usual suspects writing tripe , running like swiss watch blasting past dino crummercoons .

            Superb handling well connected , all round top car as noted by most journalists .

          • Hung Low

            The same journalist and publishers that have to send a draft copy of reviews to VW for editing and approval prior to    Print Bungle?

          • Jober As A Sudge

            Notice i said “1.4TSI” not “GTI”. Learn to read Legnab…lest you make yourself look even more foolish

          • Golfmother

            Slobering judge, according to robin grave robber they all explode , have another vat of wine.

          • Golfmother

            Grave robber the old G6E is old world ,lost in the twisties tooo fat .

          • Just saying

            Falcon ecoboost is quicker than a GTI to 100 kmh by 0.1sec. Pretty quick for a fat dinosour with new tech heart.
            Try not to choke yourself when you tie your pink jumper around you neck Golfmother.
            You write more tripe than anyone on this forum.
            At least you don’t mind making a tit of yourself.
            Thanks for the laughs.

  • Hung Low

    A VW out of warranty is like applying sunscreen to the back of a Leper!

    • Golfmother

      Back in your crapadore fung high, enjoy thr boring drive .

      • Bent6brigade

        Ummmm,rwd allways creams fwd for drive quality and driver excitment.

    • twincharger

      All this constant talk about how good Golf is and VW is.Two small hatches consistently out sell golf in Australia.Corolla and Hyundai i30.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    I can’t be bothered joining this thread.

    • ZZZZzzzzzzz

      Thats the most sensible comment so far on this thread. I’m sick of both sides of this debate. Its really easy, if you like the car and want it, buy it, and if you don’t, don’t. Thats why there are multiple manufacturers out there supposedly vying for you dollar. 

  • F1orce

    I don’r trust German business practices 
    All they care about is selling as much as possible and that’s it. The concept of theirs is to just sell as much as possible and F**K what the customer thinks or any issues they have. 

    just like how customer service is terrible in germany 

    If Volkswagen are a bunch of men they would make the DSG available in USA. They know they can’t because the quality and reliability of DSG is rubbish and they would get sued..


    • Hanson_pete

      They do sell the DSG in the USA for certain models e.g. the Golf GTI, EOS, Jetta Wagon, CC and new Beetle. The main difference is that VW has extended the warranty for DSG to 10 years in the USA and China.

  • Just saying

    Why does VW feel the need to pinch Audi’s tail lights?
    Could there be a ‘One VAG’ strategy coming? That would be nice, the only time I’d ever drive a VW is if it had the Audi V8/10 strapped to it.

    • VAGHAG

      Well I have a Gti with DSG, had an R36 with DSG and have an A5 with “Sportronic” (DSG) never had the issues with the gearboxes on any of them. What I have had is sh*t service from most VW / Audi Dealers, especially in Brisbane.