Fleet News

Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI Sport DSG 5dr



AFTER several weeks with our long-term Golf, I’m racking my brains to think of something to write here.

So far, all journeys have been unremarkable. No real problems, but nothing wildly exciting to write home about. For the company car buyer, this is undoubtedly a plus. No problems mean nothing to worry about and nothing to upset the budget.

The Golf is extremely comfortable, with seats that hug you into place while nipping about B-roads but let you cruise in comfort for hours on the motorway.

Other road testers have highlighted the joy of the optional twin-clutch DSG gearbox. I agree – it’s fantastic around town and in traffic. Out of town and off the main roads, I’ve enjoyed flicking the lever left and using the ’box manually.

A push up or down shifts the gears sequentially, with the new-fangled techno-trickery ensuring that there are no jolts or shifts of the car’s balance as the revs change up and down.

As well as a smooth ride, the DSG ’box is also doing wonders for the fuel economy. In past diesels of a similar size I’ve rarely done better than 35mpg, but the DSG’s shift pattern ensures the lowest possible revs unless the go pedal is rammed into the carpet. As a result, I’m average about 40mpg.

Things might have been even better, but I have been right-foot heavy in my quest to get the car to accelerate faster. The torque in first and second gears is admirable, but after that the 110bhp engine struggles, especially with more than one person on board.

Overtaking on B-roads is much trickier than it used to be. I yearn for a bit of extra power to zip past dawdling traffic, but it’s not there.

However, the steering wheel is fantastic. It’s very ergonomic and adjustable for reach and rake, but I do miss the stereo controls that are found on some rival cars. Reaching for the centre console suddenly seems distracting.

My colleague Trevor Gelken said he would happily ditch the Xenon headlights (£725), but I disagree.

I recently spent a weekend with a car sans Xenons and really missed them. The considerable increase in light thrown on the road ahead at night can only be a good thing, especially in rural areas where streetlights are scarce.

On the downside, the weather has meant I’ve almost spent more on washer fluid than on diesel. The flipside to the Xenons’ great spread of light is the legal obligations – all cars fitted with such lights have to have headlight washers which activate with the windscreen jets. All very well, but a five-litre bottle of washer fluid lasted only a couple of weeks.

Our Golf doesn’t have satellite navigation: a scary prospect for people who rely on such technology (like me), but I’ve been saved by the new Indago unit from Snooper (£599), which also integrates a camera detector.

The problem with a loose door trim, mentioned last month, has been quickly sorted thanks to Cooks in Peterborough, who also gave the car a good clean before returning it

Model: Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI Sport DSG 5dr
Price (OTR): £17,630 (£19,910 as tested)
Mileage: 9,647
CO2 emissions (g/km): 157
Company car tax bill (2006) 22% tax-payer: £66 a month
Insurance group: 6
Combined mpg: 48.7
Test mpg: 40.7
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,475/37%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £344

  • 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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