NOTE: CarAdvice Editorial photos have been used as none were provided by the writer.
The sun has set on one of my best partnerships of all time. Our Little Buddy never let us down, never complained, always said, "Yes" to a dance, and was always able to run alongside the grown-ups.
How brilliant these cars are was to become evident over the next seven years, as my ownership ran virtually concurrently with the seventh Gen Golf itself. In the march of time, the ghosts of unhappy Mk6 owner stories became increasingly distant and the solid foundations of the basic Mk7 has cemented its ranking as one of Golfing's greats.
The manually-geared Comfortline spec was a necessarily humble choice for me back in 2014. The gearshift, as I've noted in the pros and cons, is inoffensive, but not up to the "Oooh yeah" quality I enjoyed in my diesel Mk5 or New Beetle. It's almost as though Volkswagen would have preferred I buy an automatic or a GTI.
In previous Owner Reviews here, I've gloated of achieving the maker's 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres fuel economy claim. Back then, it was true. Toward the finish, I was averaging more like 6.4L to 6.8L/100km.
What happened? Well, I returned to Perth, bidding adios to my easy Melbourne freeway commute. My drive to work became one of only about 7 minutes. That's one thing.
The other thing is that the car was losing its new-car Teflon sheen. It was becoming a more mechanical thing. I started to care less about economy and more about feeding plenty of revs in to overcome Volkswagen's occasionally juddery clutches. Who could guess that I started to enjoy it more and more? And those 90kW were plenty of fun.
Ride, road-holding, handling and steering were all perfectly judged for runabout and touring status, although it might pogo a little at speed when fully laden. Not quite Falcon or Commodore standard. In all other respects, it was a small car with a big car confidence.
For its time, the interior tech was a standout, its nameless HiFi so good after the Falcon's pathetic 3.6 watt speakers, that I started to enjoy music in my car again. Comfort and practicality are all Golf strengths. We picked up a brand new dishwasher from The Good Guys once, and it fitted straight into the back with the seats folded.
Heading into the eighth year of ownership, I was clearly having choices and decisions thrown at me. I'd never kept a car anywhere this long. With only 90,000 kilometres on board, it had only ever required servicing, a new battery and new tyres. The original Continentals went for 84,000 kilometres. All the remaining consumables were in place from when it left the assembly line.
I might have wanted to do something about the peeling, razor-sharp satin chrome around the gearshift lever. That problem's Googleable. It can draw blood. I rather fancied it with a Stage 1 tune, new black multispoke alloys and a 53 stripe over the roof and bonnet to contrast nicely with the Pacific Blue.
It all very nearly happened. A very wise friend noted with bubbling enthusiasm that my Golf has, in fact, reached a stage in life where it has become what cars are meant to become: transport. I was owed nothing, it had many good years of motoring left in it and I could afford to let my hair down and have a bit of fun with it.
Something else happened instead, and that will be another story for another time.
The engines haven't been put in the back for 50 years now, but these are still, in the truest sense of the word, a wagen for the volks. People's Car. Classless.