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Volkswagen Golf engines, driving and performance

How does the Volkswagen Golf drive?

The Golf is comfy and surprisingly fun – there’s simply nothing about the way the Golf drives that’ll annoy you. In town, you’ll be thankful for the light clutch and easy gearshift on the manual models, while the dual-clutch automatic gearbox fitted to most of the range is smooth-shifting and doesn’t hesitate when pulling away from a standstill.

It’s surprisingly enjoyable on twisty country roads, too, where it turns into corners eagerly and encourages you to drive perhaps a bit more sportily than you would in, say, a Peugeot 308. The only time you’d criticise the Golf’s handling is if you’d just stepped out of a Ford Focus, which is a little more fun to drive… but not such a practical overall package as the Volkswagen.

Is the Volkswagen Golf comfortable?

By and large, all Golf models iron out bumps really rather well. Life and Style models with their 16-inch alloy wheels are comfiest, while the larger 17-inch wheels on R-Line cars do send a few more bumps into your backside. From new, you can order the Golf with adaptive dampers, which unlocks a comfort mode that softens the ride even further.

Comfort on the motorway is decent for a hatchback as well – you won’t be annoyed by wind and tyre noise at 70mph, and the seats in all models are comfy for long stints.

What’s the best Volkswagen Golf engine to get?

The 1.5-litre TSI Evo petrol engine gives you a decent mix of performance and fuel economy – so that’d be our pick. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is also a good – and more affordable – option if you don’t mind trading a bit of performance over the 1.5.

If you prefer diesel, the 2.0-litre TDI diesel can return more than 60mpg when driven with care, making it a good pick if you do lots of motorway miles.

Some of the Golf’s engines are labelled as ‘eTSI’ – this doesn’t mean they’re sold on a popular crafts website, but rather that they include mild-hybrid technology. This provides a small increase in fuel economy and a little extra shove from a standstill, thanks to a small electric motor and battery. They can’t drive on electric power alone, however, and the difference in economy and performance is so negligible you might want to give them a miss considering their higher purchase price.

Volkswagen Golf Performance

Whichever Golf you pick, performance will be more than adequate for everyday driving in the UK. The entry-level 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine will get from 0-62mph in just over 10 seconds, while the 150hp version of the 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine will do the same sprint in 8.1 seconds.

Want the fastest accelerating Golf on the market? That’d be the R – 320hp and a clever four-wheel-drive system combine to get to 62mph from a standstill in 4.7 seconds using the built-in launch control.

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