Fleet News

Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI Sport DSG

Volkswagen

Review

VOLKSWAGEN has a well-established reputation for build quality. We’ve been running our Golf 1.9 TDI Sport with the DSG clutchless manual gearbox for nearly five months and it hasn’t missed a beat.

However, a visit to the dealer is on the cards thanks to a loose piece of trim. It’s not a major problem, but the rubber strip at the bottom of the door surround has come loose and no matter how many times I reattach it, it works away again.

Once it is loose, it gently taps the side of the door as you drive along, creating an incessant and annoying noise.

Luckily the stereo fitted to our car, along with the optional six-CD changer (£395) mounted in the centre armrest to save space in the glovebox, drowns out the tapping noise.

Elsewhere, the Golf is showing why it is such a popular choice for fleet managers and drivers alike.

It is one of those cars, like the MINI, which is driven by a wide variety of people, from sales reps to managing directors. There are several reasons for this – it looks stylish and solid, is well built and has the badge on the bonnet to appeal.

Although driving excitement is not at the top of the agenda, the Golf is still a more premium choice in the sector for covering big mileages.

And if you don’t believe me, simply count the number of Mark V Golfs you see ploughing up and down motorways on your next journey – you’ll be amazed how many there are.

However, there is one element of the driving experience which is exceptional – and that’s the DSG gearbox.

This ’box really is something else. As well as having no fuel economy or emissions penalties over a standard manual gearbox, the DSG unit makes driving in built-up areas so much easier, thanks to the absence of a clutch.

And out on the open road you can change up a gear by pushing the gearstick forwards without lifting off the accelerator. There’s no loss of power or torque as you climb through the gears, with each change as smooth and effortless as the previous one.

But this isn’t a feature I tend to use very often as it seems a bit unnecessary when you can let the car do the work for you.

However, there’s one more bit of bad news, and that concerns fuel economy.

I’ve only achieved an average of 39.1mpg, well short of Volkswagen’s combined figure of 48.7mpg and also of former road tester John Maslen’s frugal 46.1mpg. In my defence, he does have a reputation as having a light right foot, as already mentioned in previous road tests.

But we’ll keep an eye on the fuel figure and let you know how it changes during the car’s time with us.

Model: Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI Sport DSG 5dr
Price (OTR): £17,630 (£19,910 as tested)
Mileage: 7,030
CO2 emissions (g/km): 157
Company car tax bill (2005) 22% tax-payer: £58 a month
Insurance group: 6
Combined mpg: 48.7
Test mpg: 39.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,300/36%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £338
Figures based on three-years/ 60,000-miles

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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