But perhaps the more pertinent question is whether there’s really any reason why you shouldn’t.
Volkswagen’s modern era ‘Peoples’ Car’, the Golf family hatchback, has been bought by an awful lot of people. Launched back in 1974 to replace the iconic Beetle, it was the car that saved the company through 29 million sales and six generations that have brought us to this MK7 model.
In reality, this is the first truly new Golf we’ve seen since just after the turn of the century, the previous sixth generation version having been merely a light re-skin of the old MK5 model. And it arrives at a time when the marque needs to step up its game.
Effortlessly rapid. That’s sums up this Golf to drive. Often, you don’t actually think you’re going that fast when you’re out on the road with it, but such is its combination of stability, poise and control that you find journey times shrinking rapidly.
Even the humblest diesel variant, the 105PS 1. 6 TDI which will be the British best selling Golf variant, is far quieter than its direct predecessor. Otherwise, the engine’s not much different – the main development work on it went into creating an eco-conscious 110PS BlueMotion variant. Still, in either form, it’s a unit that’s acceptably rapid for its modest station in life, with 62mph from rest in the ordinary version, occupying 10. 7s on the way to 109mph, with 250Nm of torque to zip you through the five-speed gearbox.
All of this represents the most affordable segment of a Golf model line-up that has effectively been split into two halves by the engineering decision to adopt two quite different rear suspension set-ups across the range. MK5 and MK6 generation Golfs were always distinguished by their sophisticated multi-link rear suspension set-up that provided such an exemplary ride and handling balance. With this MK7 model, the Wolfsburg bean counters have decreed that only variants with more than 120PS can have it. The perfectionists may be disappointed by this, but the pragmatist can understand their point of view: will the largely undemanding drivers who choose lower-order Golfs really notice that their cars must ride on unsophisticated torsion beam suspension? Almost certainly not.
On this seventh generation Golf, you’ll see the same thick rear C-pillar and near vertical tail. The same sharp crease line above the flanks. The same horizontally-barred grille. Look more closely though and important differences begin to emerge. In MK7 guise, this car is 56mm longer and 13mm wider to give more interior space. And lower to create a more dynamic stance. The front wheels have been moved further forward too, reducing the front overhang, visually lengthening the V-shaped bonnet and apparently moving the passenger compartment a little towards the rear. The result is a gym-toned look that’s particularly nice at the side, with this C-pillar design supposed to resemble the drawn string of a bow, giving the Golf a look of acceleration even when it’s standing still. Overall then, a confident, assertive piece of design.
But it’s under the skin where the biggest changes have taken place with the adoption of all-new MQB (or ‘Modular Transverse Matrix’) underpinnings that help shave 100kgs off the weight of this car. And make it possible for the longer wheelbase that facilitates the larger cabin that Volkswagen was determined this 7th generation Golf should have. At the back rear legroom has risen by 15mm, despite the front seats being moved further back to better suit taller drivers. Shoulder and elbow-room are both improved too and headroom’s quite adequate too, despite the reduction in exterior roof height. As usual in this class, three adults would be a little squashed here but a trio of kids will be quite happy.
For Golf regulars, the biggest change will be the adoption of the centrally-placed 5. 8-inch colour infotainment touch screen that’s standard across the range and which you can control by swiping your finger across its surface as you do on a smart ‘phone
In the words of a previous Volkswagen Group Chairman, the only mistake a Golf can really make is to stop being a Golf, a failing you could never level at this seventh generation model. All the reasons you might want to buy one are satisfied here. It looks like a Golf and functions with all the quality you’d expect from the Western hemisphere’s most recognised and most desired family hatch. This is what happens when all the resources of Europe’s leading auto maker are focused n creating the definitive expression of conventional family motoring.
True, it could be more exciting in its more affordable forms and you certainly wouldn’t call it inexpensive in comparison with mainstream models in this segment. But then, this isn’t a mainstream model any more, as good in every meaningful respect as the premium compact hatch models from the fancy brands that are much pricier. It is, in short, a Golf made good. Which, if you’re shopping in this sector, makes it very desirable indeed.