A Little Slice of Driver Heaven
Under the hood, the Golf’s 1.4 litre turbocharged engine delivers a familiar 125ps and 200Nm from an expansive 1,400rpm to 4,000rpm, and transfers power through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
We love how responsive the engine is, and how willing it is to spin up from idle. While its 9.1 second 0-100km/h century timing is upper-average, it is how the Golf delivers the drive which is satisfying.
Well the thing is, you have to remember that every generation of Volkswagen Golfs are developed with the intent of producing a GTi somewhere up the model spectrum, and the facelifted Mk 7 (unofficially the 7.5 for those within the owners circle) does not fail to impress.
The engine’s flexibility and quick gearshifts well complement a medium-weighted right foot, easily getting you in-front of the pack from the lights, while around the bends, you can feel that the sports suspension reacts readily, and attempts to keep the car upright. Turn-in feels very accurate, and you have a clear sense of where the car is going when chipping into a bend. Lift off the throttle into a hard bend, and you can feel that the car is balanced enough, and even offers up a little bit of pivoting, tightening your cornering line.
Floor down on the throttle and you may just catch a slight flat spot in the small 1.4 litre somewhere after 5,000rpms, but most of us will not push the car to that extent.
Road noise is very minimal, and for those who are sticklers for ride comfort, even with the larger 18” rims, the Highline model offers up a ride that is still not too firm. Also since run flats are not offered, there is more room for play between the rim and the actual road, meaning that you will not experience that characteristic jolt from the wheels when you hit a bumpy surface, all thanks to the added air in-between.
There are three drive modes, excluding the customisable “Individual” setting, where the steering gets a little more weighted, throttle response is more sensitive, and gears hold on for longer in “Sport”. On the other end, the “Eco” mode setting offers up a more relaxed response, while the gears choose to change up earlier. As a move to burn a little less fuel, the car is able to coast in this mode, meaning that in most gears, the engine is able to drop into idling speed, with the gearbox disengaging the drive, whenever you lift off the throttle. The system reengages the drive when you hit the brakes to offer up a little engine braking, or when you ease down again on the throttle.
Other driver goodies like the reverse camera, cleverly mounted within the boot opener handle, and the blind spot sensor with Rear Traffic Alert which warns you if there is a vehicle in your blind area as you are changing lanes makes for a safer drive
Overall, the Golf Highline offers up a refined smooth drive, with great handling to put a smile on your face; while it delivers most of the spoils a in a higher-up market segment offers, but perhaps without as much brand glam.
At $127,900*, the Highline does come across as a tad costly too (the Comfortline model goes for $112,900*), and might make a little less sense for those who are seeking a Continental upgrade; but for those who may find buying a premium brand car a tad unjustifiable due to price, and are less concerned about premium badging, the Highline is definitely a delightful car to own.
*prices correct at time of print