Owner Review

2013 Volkswagen Golf 90TSI Comfortline review

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Now into my fifth year of ownership with 60,000km showing on the odo’, which only reveals itself when I open the driver's door, this updates the report I wrote when the car was only a few months old.

I call it 'the Golf'. It was going to be named Golf Inge at one point, mostly because it was exceedingly clever and witty of me, but I realised the Golf is a boy car, not a girl car.

I snapped it up at the beginning of 2014 when VW was running a $24,990 drive-away campaign on the manual 90TSI Comfortlines. Desperate for an exit strategy on a BA Falcon I was really too tall for, this little Pacific Blue number found me just in time.

Comparison is warranted with a Golf Mk5 diesel that preceded the Falcon. Both Golfs have proven to be the perfect car for me. They're mature-feeling cars that fit like a comfortable and familiar jacket.

The doors continue to thunk, the feel throughout is solid with no rattles, and the multi-link suspension gives it the ride of a bigger car. Mostly. Travelling intrastate with four occupants and luggage does reveal slight underdamping at speed – something that wouldn't have troubled the Falcon.

Handling can be fun. The Golf can be hooked around fast wet suburban sweepers with the boot in, and the stability electronics intervene just sufficiently to keep the smile up and the pants dry.

The cabin is a class act. VW nails ergonomics from one generation to the next, with great vision outward and perfectly equidistant foot rests for both feet. A cracking sound system makes music in the car enjoyable again – something that couldn't be said of the Falcon's joyless speaker set-up.

One really positive advance over the cabin of the Mks 4 and 5 is that VW has designed the door furniture in such a way that rings and long fingernails no longer destroy the rubberised finishes on the door pulls. They're still there, but are now concealed inward, meaning the cabin looks as good as new.

The 1.4-litre engine is an anodyne unit. It whirrs and zings away in a business-like manner, giving no particular joy and causing no particular offence, although the turbo pleases on a cool night if I bury the foot past the economy detente. Much the same can be said of the gearbox, whose shift action is faultless but less satisfying than in earlier cars.

Consumption-wise, it needs a single top-up of 500–700ml of oil between services. Fuel economy only gets better. With replacement iridium spark plugs installed at the last service, it's bettering its previous figures by about 0.2L/100km in all driving. The maker's combined figure of 5.7L/100km is achievable, and even occasionally bettered from one computer auto reset to another.

That service cost though! Iridium plugs scooted the Ultratune bill to $525. They did the Golf's 45,000km service too, as there were no warranty issues to make a dealer visit necessary.

Tyres and brakes are all holding up well at the 60,000km mark.

I don't want the next model to get bigger. I do want lots of lovely things in it, and I want to see a return of some of the clever and considerate interior features that were sacrificed at the altar of classiness.