The decision to finally buy a Golf R Grid was a long process. I consider myself a car nutcase that loves reading and researching any car that sparks interest. After annoying the car dealers with all the test drives, along with endless watching and reading of car reviews from all over the world, I came to the conclusion the Golf R Grid was for me.
The problem I had was my budget – $47K was it, and when I started looking, the R Grid was around the $52K mark, so it wasn’t a consideration. I was focused on buying the WRX CVT, as I enjoyed the drive and it was in my budget. There were some demos for around the $47K mark. However, a few things delayed my decision to make a purchase of the WRX. Ultimately, I found the Golf more refined and quite a lot faster than the WRX.
Three months later and the end of financial year sales were on. I noticed the R Grid started appearing for under $50K, which got me very interested, because I knew I could find a dealer who would be willing to meet my budget.
My R Grid is the Lapiz Blue DSG and has just ticked over 2000km. Maybe too early to review, but I thought I'd do another one in 12 months' time.
Wow, what a little rocket I have. Unfortunately, 90 per cent of my driving is forced to flow with the traffic, while the other 10 is a little more my way...
I am not interested in track days. If I were, I would have gone for the Honda Type R or the i30 N. I test-drove both and thought they were fantastic, but not quite what I could live with daily.
So, after 2000km I have found my experience to be an 8.9 out of 10. I followed the running-in period as per the manufacturer's recommendations, and always wait for the oil temperature to get above 80 before I spank it a little.
There are just a couple of things I have found so far, which I knew about before the purchase, but become more obvious when driving each day and are just a little annoying.
The DSG at low speeds can be a bit lethargic, and I think this is due to the tuning. In normal drive mode, it is always shifting to a higher gear, probably to save fuel.
The front doors sometimes creak when going slow over uneven ground. Again, this seems to be a common issue. I have given my lowest score to the handling. I find it understeers just a little when pushing it at speed, which is why I don’t see it being much good for a track. Although, I do wonder if it had different tyres like the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4, it might make the high-speed turn-in better. Really not an issue for my style of driving.
I guess when rating a car, it’s all relative to its price. I gave mostly nines as I think it is almost faultless for $47K.
The AWD/DSG combination is fantastic. The 2.0-litre engine is extremely responsive throughout the rev range when driven in Sport or manual mode. I find the manual mode best as I have complete control of the transmission.
The cockpit experience is fantastic, with the buttons and dials easy to use and made from top-quality materials. The stereo and speakers have extremely good clarity for a stock system.
I am enjoying my R Grid more each day, as I am starting to appreciate its overall driving experience, and I plan to do another review in 12 months' time.