Great driving experience and solid cabin belie the Golf’s ultra-low costs
Forget electric cars and hybrids – there’s only one place to look if you want a cost-effective family hatch. The Volkswagen Golf proves there’s life in the internal combustion engine yet, as it makes the most of every gallon.
Its fuel-sipping thirst is the result of years of development – with the finely honed aerodynamics helping to reduce drag, and the carefully chosen gear ratios and low-rolling-resistance tyres improving efficiency.
Lowered suspension helps the Golf BlueMotion to glide through the air more smoothly than regular models, energy normally lost during braking is used to keep the battery topped up and there’s a smooth stop-start system to ensure you’re not burning unnecessary fuel at traffic lights. All this technology results in CO2 emissions of only 99g/km and astonishing official fuel economy of 74.3mpg.
These impressive figures come with the added attraction of a very competitive price tag, uncompromised packaging and sharp dynamics, so choosing the Golf doesn’t mean you have to wear your eco credentials on your sleeve. And saving the planet also helps you to save money, so the BlueMotion makes sense on both counts.
Are there any downsides? Well, equipment could be more generous and the sports suspension results in a firm ride. But you get keen responses and no hybrid rival can match the VW for driver appeal. If family motorists want to dodge the cost of road tax, this is the car for them.
WHY: Pence per mile: 45.8
* Price: £19,430
* Engine: 1.6-litre diesel, 104bhp
* Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* Economy/CO2: 74.3mpg/99g/km
* 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds
* Standard equipment: Air-con, trip computer, 15-inch alloys, stop-start, hill-hold function, seven airbags, stability control