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Old 1st January 2006, 11:59   #1
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Default 1900kms: VolksWagen Golf TDi

There are legends in every field. I am sure everyone of us here will agree that the VolksWagen Golf is truely a legend when it comes to cars. Any car that has been the largest selling car in Europe for years has be a legend. 22 million units of the car from MK I to MK IV have been sold all over the world and I got to sample this legend for a few months.

Pros: strong build quality, Looks, Fantastic TDi engine, well sorted out chassis, lovely balance between ride and handling, Space.

Cons: Automatic Transmission, Space, position of cup holders.

Looks



I got the car on November 26. A sparkling silver Golf GLS TDi with sunroof and alloy wheels. The MK IV Golf was launched in 1999 and 6 years later it looks refreshing and new. The Golf still has the head turning ability especially from certain angles. The beautiful thing about the car is that it's a very well balanced design. The front has a very friendly look to it and the rear looks rounded and stout. In short, it's very German in it's looks and thats a good thing!. The reason why space is both a pro and a con is because on one hand the slightly low on space cabin feels very cosy. Everything wraps around the driver and you feel in total control. The visiblity is superb all round. Space becomes a con when some unfortunate soul has to squeeze into the back seats. The front really has no issues of space but the back does get a little tight especially if there are 3 people in there.






Engine




Looks famaliar Skoda owners? 1.9 Ltr 4 cylinder TDi with Pumpe Duse displaces 100bhp@4000rpm but more importantly a very healthy 177lb.ft of torque@1800-2400rpm and thats what makes all the difference. The healthy torque makes the car extremely tractable, you could be in any gear but just tap on the accelarator and the car moves ahead smoothly and this is where the gearing goes all wrong. The problem with the 5 speed Automatic is the irritating shift points. 2nd gear at 10kmph, 3rd at a very late 30kmph, 4th at a very fast 45kmph and then 5th comes in only at 65kmph. It's the gaps between 2nd and 3rd and 4th and 5th that are irritating. I can feel the car revving, the Tdi getting boomy but the shift even in tiptronic refuses to upshift till the pre-determined rpm. I, personally, feel VW could have used the torque in the engine to allow the shifts to happen at slightly lower rpm's. Most of the city roads here have a speed limit of 60kmph and the car could have easily been tuned to do this in 5th gear but irritatingly it keeps going in 4th. Another problem arises when the transmission downshift automatically even if the car is in tiptronic mode. Again the car downshift when the torque could have easily carried the car ahead. All this makes you realise how good the traditional manual is. Seriously, these North Americans dont know what they are missing! The diesel doesn't disappoint on the highway either. Far from it, the zest and ease with which it picks up speed is pretty amazing. Of course, it doesn't have the flambouyant pick up of the Palio but for a diesel the car is damn good and could seriously shock a few sleepy V6's.



Interior



If you are a fan of black interiors, you will love the cabin of the Golf. Step inside and it's typical VolksWagen. Clean, clearly and logically laid out with every knob, button and control falling easily into my hand. The quality of plastics in the dashboard are top notch and the entire interior has a very built to last European look and feel about it. VolksWagen is a master in back lighting and it shows. Even the fuel filler and trunk release buttons are back lit. The blue and red mood lighting makes this car that one would want to drive in the night! The driving position is excellent thanks to various adjustments of the seats and steering. The seats even adjust for height and steering has tilt-telescopic adjustablity. Add to that speed sensitive wipers and driving even in heavy rain or snow is made fairly easy. not everything is perfect though. The cup holders are placed really weirdly. They are put under the arm rest between the front seats so if you have cup's the center armrest has to be pushed back and it's not easy to put the hand down towards the hand brake to lift your cup for a sip. Doesn't affect me anyway because I never have any cups to sip tea/coffee/pop in my car. The car comes with a dead pedal for those long drives. In short the golf tries to give total comfort and conviniance despite it being a small family hatchback. Good job on the interiors VW!



Ride & Handling



Europeans are masters in chassis and suspension tuning. I saw that in the Palio and I have seen it again in the Golf. In my short stay here, I have driven a number of cars but none have even come close to the Golf's perfect balance between ride and handling. The suspension works brilliantly to smooth over the distortions on the roads. The ride is supple and soft, I barely feel any bumps filtering into the cabin. Even with a nice supple ride the handling is well sorted too. Body roll is minimal thanks to a rigid chassis. All this results in the car taking sharp curves pretty well and there are a number of twisty expressway ramps all over Toronto to test all this. Sure it's no S10 but it's way ahead of it's competition over here for sure.



Fuel Efficiecy

This is really the main reason why anyone buys a diesel. VW claims it's diesel variants will give at least 1000kms to a full tank of diesel and going by what the car gave me for the short time I had it, it sure seems like a do able thing. The car was new with about 80kms when I got it and it had done 1900kms till it was sold. So I really didn't have too much of time testing it fuel efficiency. The last tank full gave me 16.77kmpl. My driving is about 30kms minimum per day 25kms of which is done on the highway. The A/c was never switched on till date. I say the mileage was damn good. Mind you, the engine had not yet run in, the car was a automatic and temperatures were way under -5C for the time I had the car.

My short honeymoon with the Golf maybe over but in just a month and about 1800kms, the Golf showed why it was and still remains Europe's favourite car. The size is perfect for city driving, the TDi is a marvel of driveablity and fuel economy and the suspension is so good that it can easily shame more costly cars. It feels great to have had the chance to own the legend.

Last edited by amit : 1st January 2006 at 12:16.
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Old 3rd January 2006, 05:00   #2
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Awesome review,amit.Its really gr8 to have Team-bhpians test driving cars abroad. I must take ur example and give a review of my cars.
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Old 3rd January 2006, 07:20   #3
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how much did it cost?
What was the insurance you paid?
And why did you sell it so fast?
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Old 3rd January 2006, 07:41   #4
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hey filcord...to answer your questions:

Quote:
how much did it cost?
CAD $0. I work for a VW dealership and get a company car as part of my job. It's called a demo or demonstrator. I get a brand new car, drive it upto 10,000kms and we put it on the used car lot for sale as a demo. I, then, get another brand new car to drive. Demo's are priced lower then new cars but higher then pre-owned because officially the car was never sold, hence never registered in anybody's name. If you buy a demo, you still are the first owner. The car I get is a taxable benefit though. I think 2% of the cost of the car is taxable benefit.

Quote:
What was the insurance you paid?
All employees are covered under fleet insurance and thats why the insurance I pay on these cars is peanuts. It's less then $50 a month!

Quote:
And why did you sell it so fast?
Cars driven by the dealership staff are always up for Sale. If a customer wants to buy the demo, we will sell it off even if it hasn't completed 10,000kms. Someone came in wanting to buy a demo Golf A/T TDi. Therefore, even though the car had done only 1900kms we sold it off.

This week I will get my new demo.
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Old 3rd January 2006, 10:13   #5
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Nice. But is it a PD? The US market Golf Mk4s are Tdis just like the Indian Octavias. Canadians seem to like diesels. I knew 2 guys in Detroit who used to come to work from Windsor and one of them had a Jetta TDI manual.

Last edited by Mpower : 3rd January 2006 at 10:14.
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Old 3rd January 2006, 10:38   #6
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Quote:
The US market Golf Mk4s are Tdis just like the Indian Octavias.
Hey MPower, even in the US, VW has the PD TDi's. Just checked the VW USA website and it clearly says TDi with PD for the Golf.

Quote:
Canadians seem to like diesels.
Not only diesels, Canadians buy more hatchbacks then Americans. Toyota didn't launch the Echo hatch in US at all, it was Canadian specific. Even the new Yaris hatch is currently avaliable only in Canada. As for VW, I believe, they sell more Golf's here then in USA.
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Old 3rd January 2006, 10:57   #7
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Hmmm...you are right, dunno when the switchover happened ....must be last year. They have always been the 90bhp TDis. Its interesting how VW still sells the old Mk4 Golf but the Mk5 based Jettas. Last year I drove a special import Euro Golf GTi 2 dr(Mk5) with the 140 horse diesel and a 6 speed. Man what a car....thats what I call a sports diesel.
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Old 3rd January 2006, 11:04   #8
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Nice review.
So what's the new demo? A Phaeton?
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