If variety is the spice of life, then the Volkswagen Golf range is certainly an interesting composition. There really is something for everyone with the base car providing a strong platform for more practical, faster and greener variants. It’s a bit like the Porsche 911 for the everyday individual.
The latest eighth generation Volkswagen Golf is a commendable car in many respects, but which one is right for you?
You know the value of buying a good quality car, and you’re keen for something a bit more premium than the run of the mill offerings – a new Golf hatchback is likely perfect for you. It’s not too flashy, but the latest design language is modern and clean. This is a car that knows the power of the under statement.
There’s a wide choice of petrol or diesel engine, each offered with manual or automatic transmissions - it’s your choice. There’s also an eHybrid drivetrain option for those waning a plug-in hybrid. Entry-level ‘Life’ trim comes very well equipped as standard, but there’s also sportier looking R-Line.
While the Golf hatch provides good boot space, although not class leading, it’s not going to be enough for a couple of dogs or ambitious trips to Ikea. What you need is a Golf Estate, a car that retains all of the excellent traits of the regular car, but with even more practicality.
Just like the hatchback, this Golf can be had with a range of engines and transmissions. More importantly it can accommodate 611-litres of whatever you like. That’s a larger space than what you’ll find in Ford’s Focus Estate, an area that can further expand to 1,642 litres with the rear seats folded.
The new Volkswagen Golf GTE blends the more sporting nature of the coveted GTI with the greener credentials of a plug-in hybrid. This is very much a car for those who want a hot hatchback, but reduced environmental guilt. Used as designed, it should also yield cheaper running costs than the aforementioned ‘go faster’ icon.
A 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine is supplemented by a 94bhp electric motor for a total output of 242bhp – identical to the GTI. Its 0-62mph sprint takes 6.7 seconds, and the 13kWh battery onboard can grant over 38 miles of pure electric driving.
Diesel might have a bad name these days, but the truth is that some modern engines are actually cleaner than petrol equivalents. If you are clocking regular motorway miles diesel is still one of the most efficient means of covering distance. The Golf GTD promises strong economy with a side order of performance to enjoy.
The styling isn’t the only sporty thing about the GTD, as it generates 197bhp and a muscular 400Nm of torque. A 0-62mph sprint of 7.1 seconds certainly isn’t bad, and economy of 51.4-54.3mpg strikes a great balance.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is celebrating its 45th birthday in 2021, highlighting what a popular choice the front-wheel drive hot hatchback is. In many respects the original is still the best, providing all of the practical of the regular Golf while delivering on a greater performance.
Today’s Mk8 GTI has a more playful chassis than ever before, being much keener to move around when pushed hard. A full 242bhp is available to the driver in what has to be the default choice when it comes to fast Golfs. If you want a little more punch, we fully expect a new GTI Performanceto join the party very soon.
If you like your hot hatchbacks with the traditional front-wheel drive layout, but are eager for an even sharper drive, the Clubsport is for you. An additional 54bhp and 30Nm of torque, bigger brakes, reworked suspension and a bespoke ‘Nurburgring’ setting if you go for adaptive dampers.
If you thought that the regular GTI was a bit too safe, the Clubsport is here to inject some more fun into the hatch. Looking to rival your friend’s Honda Civic Type R? This is the car to do it.
As quick as a Golf GTI is, the daddy of this range is the R. Equipped with all-wheel drive and a 316bhp engine, this hot hatchback is seriously fast. Making the most of sending power to all wheels, it will rocket from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds.
The starting price for this new Golf R is a not so bargain friendly £40k, but this is meant to be the ultimate performance incarnation. It’s capable of sending power to each rear wheel independently to best manage traction, features tighter suspension and if you tick the ‘Performance’ box a top speed of 168mph is achievable.
We’re also expecting an estate variant of the Golf R in the near future for those who want to feel the need for speed en route to the tip.