I’ll start by telling you I hate Golfs. Why, you ask? The would have to be one of the most boring cars ever made. They make even a Corolla look exciting. Yet since 1974 it's been a bestseller across the globe. Not much has changed since the Mk1; all Golfs look the same, only come in white and are always at least a couple of grand dearer than a Corolla. But still people buy them in droves. I never understood until I bought one. Firstly, despite each model being an ‘evolutionary’ design of the last, they have always been one of the better looking hatches. This isn't hard when the competition includes the Honda Civic which has more angles than a protractor. Then there is the interior. Nothing short of a Rolls Royce has a layout so practical. Combined with soft plastics and a touchscreen that is almost somewhat usable, it's best in class.
Perhaps then the reason for my dislike towards the Golf are the engines. While Mazda has its smooth and powerful 2.5-litre SkyActive engines powering the 3, VW decided to stick a 1.4-litre turbo engine in the Golf. And to make matters worse it makes just 90kW. My old ‘92 Civic made more killer wasps than the CXSA engine does. But the difference is that while in a Honda you have to rev the ("life" - Ed) out of the engine if you want to go anywhere today, the Golf makes peak torque at just 1400rpm thanks to the turbo. And there is a fair bit as well, with 200Nm right up to 5000rpm. The engine really did take me by surprise at how much punch it packed.
By now you probably think this is just another 11 out of 10 star review for the Golf, that it’s simply the best car, that everyone should drive one and why would you buy anything else...? Well, no car is perfect. The gearbox is a fair way from Subaru-smooth, the ride is a tad too soft (inducing quite a bit of body roll) and the indicators are on the wrong side (damn you, Germany)!
I think it's fair to say the Golf is the best hatchback for sale today, and while it might be at the pricier end it definitely delivers in terms of comfort and quality. The only reason this isn’t a 10-star car is because the Golf GTI exists.