I asked them which car they would choose out of the following four – Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Toyota Corolla or Volkswagen Golf.
And do you know what? Eighteen out of 20 of those drivers chose the Golf. It’s an example that proves just how strong the Golf’s reputation has become over the years and how a manufacturer can raise its game to good advantage.
Since I’ve been driving this car, every other vehicle on the road seems to be a Golf – predominantly black and almost always a diesel of some description. There are two Golf diesels to choose from – the all-singing 138bhp 2.0 TDI or our test car, the 1.9 TDI with 103bhp.
Bearing a ‘Sport’ moniker, it has suspension just that little bit more buttoned down than the ordinary versions and a pair of bucket seats in the front which are firm, comfortable and supportive all at the same time.
Since our first report last month, the Golf has put well over 1,000 miles on the clock so we’ve been able to carry out our first official fuel consumption analysis.
The good news is that our fuel figure so far is a creditable 46.1mpg – a tad under Volkswagen’s claimed average of 48.7mpg, but impressive nonetheless.
The bad news is that this figure was achieved by editor John Maslen, who probably has the lightest right foot in the business.
I’ve got a slightly heavier right foot than the boss, so it will be interesting to see how my driving style impacts on the Golf’s frugality.
So far, I’m enjoying my time with the Golf immensely and whereas we testers usually find something small to moan about, I’m struggling to think of a single minus point.
One thing I especially like about the Golf is its simplicity. With some cars you almost need a degree in engineering to work out how to use the heating system or change channels on the stereo, but the Volkswagen is a lesson in how to make cars easy to use. The only time I had to consult the manual was to work out how to use the CD player.
But other than that, everything is where you would expect it to be.
Our car is fitted with the twin clutch DSG semi-automatic gearbox and it is proving a real pleasure to use, especially in stop-start town traffic.
You can push the gearlever to the left and nudge it up and down to change gear, but why anyone would want to bother with that is a mystery to me. I just select Drive and relax. Trevor Gelken
Model: VW Golf 1.9 TDI Sport DSG
Price (OTR): £17,630 (£19,910 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 157
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £58 a month
Insurance group: 6
Combined mpg: 48.7
Test mpg: 46.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,425/37%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £338
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles