Fleet News

Volkswagen Bora 1.9 TDI PD 100 SE

Volkswagen

Review

Volkswagen's Bora is the latest addition to our long-term test fleet. Often overlooked in relation to its more popular Golf brother, the Bora offers all of its hatchback sibling's attributes but with a different set of clothes.

We are testing the £15,870 SE model, fitted with the 100bhp version of its TDI pumpe duse engine which, despite its relatively few miles, is almost matching the claimed 53mpg combined economy figure.

Despite a leisurely 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds, the 228lb/ft of torque at 1,900rpm make it much more lively while on the move - leave it in third and it is almost an automatic.

With CO2 emissions of just 143g/km, a company car driver will be taxed on 18% of the car's £15,735 P11D price (the OTR price minus vehicle excise duty of £100 and £25 first registration fee) for the first three years of the new emissions-based benefit-in-kind tax system, or £623 a year for a 22% tax-payer.

Standard equipment includes anti-lock brakes, remote central locking, immobiliser, front and side airbags, front and rear electric windows, rain sensing wipers and automatic dimming rear view mirror.

But the kind folks at Volkswagen have also bolted on more than £1,000 of extras, including a £595 upgrade to the air conditioning, a £430 curtain airbag, cruise control (£325), CD upgrade (£395) and headlight washers (£285), pushing the price up to £17,950, moving into Audi A3 and BMW 3-series Compact territory.

You could also take your pick of cars such as the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra, Citroen C5 and a wide range of other larger rivals for the same money, including a Jeep Wrangler Sport 4.0-litre.

The Easter bank holiday weekend gave me a chance to really put the Bora through its paces, with an 800-mile round-trip to Cornwall. From a quality point of view, it makes an excellent first impression, from the solid 'thunk' of the doors to the switches and trademark blue back-lit dashboard.

I have never been a big fan of saloons as they seem to be a triumph of form over function compared to the more versatile hatchback.

Although this is true when lugging something bulky, the Bora managed to swallow enough for a week away, including pram, several hefty bags and walking boots, without fuss.

However, I felt the seat base was too short to support my legs fully, while the footrest was thoughtful, but too high up to allow a comfortable stretched left leg while cruising.

Despite this, the refined performance of the diesel, low wind noise and firm handling made for a pleasant driving environment.

I would have also relaxed the mood a little more with some music, but the optional CD autochanger has seemingly eaten two of the three CDs I put into it and refuses to give them back.

I will report on the performance of the dealership in sorting out this problem in the next long-term test.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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