The car also doubled up as an anti-theft device. I parked it so close to my up-and-over garage door that it prevented any miscreants breaking in and stealing my beloved Harley-Davidson.
After two weeks of driving a hired Kia Rio, I was pleased to get back behind the wheel of the Golf.
Back at the office I discovered a reader had written in (Fleet News, September 29), questioning my assertion in the last report that the Golf was just about the perfect fleet model.
He had apparently suffered a multitude of problems with his Golfs and had even taken Volkswagen off his choice list. All I can say is that our model has behaved perfectly so far during its stay with Fleet News and has shown no signs of misbehaving. Let’s hope it continues in that vein.
One of the items on our Golf that I was interested to check out was the DSG semi-automatic gearbox, which Volkswagen claims doesn’t have a fuel economy penalty like most autoboxes.
So far, after some 3,000 miles, our economy figure is a healthy 45.4 miles per gallon, not quite up to the 48.7mpg offical figure but pretty good nonetheless.
The downside is that this option adds £1,500 to the price of the car, making our test model pretty pricey at nearly 20 grand.
As benefit-in-kind tax is partly based on list price, it means a driver choosing the DSG box is going to have to pay for it in tax terms.
A quick bit of fingerwork on the Fleet News office calculator reveals that a 22% taxpayer with a manual box 1.9 TDI Golf will pay £44 a year less in tax.
On the subject of extras, I would do without the six-CD changer at £395 (there is a single slot variety in the dash which suits me fine) and certainly the bi-xenon headlights at £725. On the plus side, the rear parking sensor is a godsend and comes at a reasonable £295 while cruise control is a handy extra tool at £270.
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%
Typical contract hire rate: £338
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles