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New Golf is Master-class 


Practice, practice and then practice some more and your Golf will be perfect.

Well that seems to be the case for Volkswagen as I couldn’t find anything to fault during a drive in a seventh generation model.

I didn’t think there was a lot wrong with its predecessor but the new Golf is even more appealing.

At 56mm longer and 13mm wider there’s extra interior space, offering lots more head, elbow and legroom for driver, front passenger and two rear passengers while, depending on their sizes, three adults could sit in the rear.

There is more room for luggage as the boot is 30 litres larger, at 380 litres, with a low  sill for easy loading.

The new model has evolved since its launch in 1974 – refined tweaked and enhanced over the decades.

It’s the best selling car in Europe and the UK where it competes in the lower medium class.

Available in three trim levels – S, SE and GT – there is a choice of new stop/start 1.2, 1.4 petrol and 1.6, 2litre diesel engines.

Drive this model and you will discover features you would normally expect in a car sitting in a much higher class.

It has many qualities and top of the list for me was the handling and performance of the SE 2.0-litre TDI five-door test car.

The 148bhp turbo unit is perfectly suited to this model and there was always lots of power available when necessary going up and down a slick-changing six-speed manual gearbox.

Moving from standstill to 62mph in 8.6 seconds and with a top speed of 134mph, it was ideal for sharp acceleration when overtaking.

The suspension set-up is spot on with handling on some minor, winding roads excellent.

A road I travel on regularly has what I imagine must be some of the worst uneven and rutted stretches of motorway in the UK and I was amazed at how smoothly the Golf cruised over this part.

Sitting at motorway speeds there was little wind or engine noise coming through to the cabin with driving comfort also excellent and good overall visibility.

I wasn’t driving in a fuel-efficiency manner during my time with the car but still achieved an average 56mpg – pretty good I thought but a bit short of the official figures of 68.9mpg combined, 78.5mpg extra urban and 56.5mpg urban.

Prices range from £16,285 to £24,880 and models come with a higher spec than before.

All models now have touchscreen systems as standard, starting with a 5.8-inch colour display system, and rising to the range-topping satellite navigation system with eightinch colour display. Features include DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information.

The £22,015 SE was well kitted out and also included a high level of safety features such as automatic distance control, city emergency braking, driver alert system and a post-collision braking system that slows the car down automatically after a bad accident.

I reckon VW’s Golf is the top car in its sector and will rapidly add to its 29 million plus sales – 1.6 million of these in the UK.

Two recent awards showed just how good the Golf is regarded – and not just in its class.

Judges voted the Golf VII the World Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show – just weeks after it was voted Europe’s Car of the Year 2013 – I’m not going to argue with that.