Launch stock is about 1,000 cars, and initially only five-door 1.6 S and SE, TDi (90bhp) S and SE and the TDi GT (110bhp) go on sale, with delivery in about nine weeks. Phased introductions over the summer bring in the 1.4 (75bhp), 1.8 (125bhp), V5 (150bhp) and 1.8 Turbo (150bhp) models later this year, with the three-door arriving in mid-summer. By Motor Show time in October, all derivatives except the VR6 are expected to be on sale.
The new Golf brings with it residual value predictions that outstrip any competitor in the lower medium sector with a three-year/ 60,000-mile figure of ú6625/44% being placed on it by CAP Monitor. The downside is pricing that places a premium on equivalently specified rivals: an air-conditioned Golf 1.6 SE five-door (as tested) costs ú15,220 on the road compared with ú13,725 for the Citroen Xsara 1.6 SX and ú14,545 for a Peugeot 306 GLX.
Most importantly, the new Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CD costs just ú14,145, prices which question the validity of the new Golf in fleet. Against this, however, is Volkswagen's exceptional wholelife cost proposal, the result of considerable work by Volkswagen in reducing service costs and improving perceived value for money. That RV gives the Golf total running costs of 23.27ppm - within a fraction of a penny per mile of the class-leading Astra, despite the higher front-end price.