VW Golf GTI VII – Do I like it?

Simple and refined.

I’ve never really been a Golf person. I’ve always thought it to be too dull, boring and refined for a hot hatch. My opinion however, has been swayed somewhat after driving the latest Mark VII as a rental during my race weekend at the Nürburgring. I was really impressed with this car and began to understand why so many people buy one.

In terms of looks it’s still nothing exciting to me but dynamically I think its brilliant. The interior is a nice place to be. It has a touch-screen entertainment center console, suede and leather seats and also some shiny (but surprisingly not cheap looking) plastic pieces scattered around. It actually feels pretty much the same if not better than your average BMW, Mercedes or Audi.

This particular one I had was the DSG version. I’ve never been a fan of automatic gearboxes but for the German autobahns it was great. When it came to the tight and twisty stuff on the backroads near the Nürburgring, the paddle shift was definitely more enjoyable. The engine was solid but nothing to shout about and I don’t want to be too critical for a car that costs half of an Audi RS3. It was pretty economic on petrol when using automatic mode and I was able to get just over 500km on one tank which I think is pretty good.

The Golf also has a decent exhaust note and when leaving the underground car park, it was quite ‘loud’ which for a car these days is pretty rare. Having said that, when on the road you can’t really hear the exhaust note all that much which is a shame. I had the three-door version and I was able to fit all my bags in the boot, just about. I had two moderately sized bags and my racing helmet bag so a decent amount of luggage.

Overall then, I’ve really grown to like this car and understand why it’s so popular. It’s well-priced compared to rivals, well-built, fairly quick, pretty practical and at the end of the day it’s a Volkswagen so reliability won’t be an issue.

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