Volkswagen Golf – Preview

Volkswagen have been trying to gain an upper hand in India. Though their attempts have been met with moderate success, the car buying public have always appreciated the Volkswagen group’s attention to detail and quality mindedness. Even though sister concern Skoda are more popular in India, Volkswagen instead of learning a thing or two from them, are in direct competition with them. They first launched the Jetta in comparison with the Laura, then the Passat to compete with the Skoda Superb and now they are launching the world acclaimed Volkswagen Golf in India to go head on with the Skoda’s revamped 1.6 liter Fabia{which has the Polo’s engine shoe-horned into it}. Seems interesting, eh?

Looks

The face of the Golf is similar to the one found on the old generation Jetta. Actually the Jetta is based on the Golf platform. A slight head lamp design differentiates both. The Jetta has a more mature design. The high and low beam lamps are separated by different circular housings. The grille is the corporate one worn by all the cars in the Volkswagen family. The air dam is a wider affair and houses the crystal effect diamond shaped fog lamps.

The side profile sports Polo type looks and you wouldn’t be able to tell a Polo and Golf from the side profile. The wheels are the understated 17 inch alloy wheels and the alloy wheel design is borrowed from the 2011 US Jetta model. The rear is different from the Polo and has a wide rear screen wiper and has elliptical tail lamps. It has a chrome strip inside the tail lamp cluster. There is a prominent wedge for the boot. The exhaust system is of the twin type- a segment first.

Interiors

The Golf has revolutionary interiors. It will make you go wow the moment you step into the cabin. It uses dark color expansively but that somehow enhances the richness of the materials used. The Skoda Fabia’s interiors pale in comparison to those on the Golf. Its 3 spoke steering wheel is a revolution in itself. It has got the cruise controls and audio controls on it. Driver and the front seat passengers get all the power goodies upfront. The seats themselves are adjustable to reach, height and even lumbar support. Its multi function display shows you instant average, the range of the fuel tank, average speed over the trip and gear change indicator for optimized fuel economy on the manual versions.

The dashboard has titanium inserts put into it. It also sports ambient lighting near the footwells, 4 reading lamps, heated and tinted insulated glass. The good news is that many of these are standard and the bad news is that there are not many customizable options.

Handling and ride quality

The Golf is renowned world over for its renowned ride and handling package however for India, it would be leaning more so towards the ride quality. The usual car buying public buy a car for their daily commute and not for taking it to a race track. The ride should be more pliant than its European and North American counterparts. Considering that Europe and US have far more razor smooth roads whereas in India, it is a rarity, the ride height would be jacked up.

As regards handling, expect it to handle like the Skoda Fabia but not anything less than it. The suspension would be the sophisticated McPherson Strut type with helical springs and telescopic dampers upfront while the rear suspension is of the multi-link type.

The car comfortably seats 5 however three at the rear would seem like a crowd but not so as in the Fabia. The seats completely flip over revealing about 700 liters of space whereas with the seats up, the Golf has 300 liters of usable boot space. Only the middle passenger seat can also flip down to make way for long objects. There is an individual AC vent at the rear to keep the rear occupants cool.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

As of now, the only engine option available in the Golf is said to be the the stonking 2.0 litre, 1968cc, common rail diesel engine producing a whooping 170 hp at 4200 rpm and with a peak torque of 350 Nm produced between 1700-2500 rpm. This would be India’s hottest hatchback till now. The transmission is a 6 speed manual while a 6 speed automatic is also on the options list.

This same engine in Europe is the cleanest in its class plus also is the most fuel efficient in its class and delivers quite a punch in everyday driving. Even though it is only a four cylinder unit, it packs in power similar to that of straight six from BMW. The dual clutch used helps in lightning fast shifts in the manual and triptronic function in the automatics.

Expect 0-100 lap times in 8.3 seconds. This should make it one of the fastest diesels in India. The fuel economy is pegged at 14 kmpl in the city and 21 kmpl on the highway. This are stellar figures for a hot hatch. The top speed is an electronically limited 220 kmph.

Braking is handled by vented discs brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear. Aiding them is a whole plethora of driver aids like advanced 4 channel ABS, Stability control program, traction control etc.

The safety aspect is covered by 4 airbags which come in as standard, three point seat belts with pre-tensioner, anti-whiplash restraining head rests, ample crumple zones, collapsible steering wheel and so on.

Verdict

The Volkswagen Golf is what India always wanted. A high performance diesel coupled to a hatch body with enough of space for 5 and their luggage. A tight turning circle and diesel economy make living easier. Plus good ratings across the world for its safety features and also reputation for reliability make it a winner. If only Volkswagen India price it within the 6 lakhs range, it has a win-win situation at hand. It is expected to be launched in January 2011.

The Volkswagen Golf price is expected from Rs.6,53000- Rs.7,80000.

Technical Specifications of the Golf GTD
Volkswagen Golf specifications:

Engine: 2.0 litre, common rail diesel engine
Displacement: 1968cc
Maximum Power: 170 hp @ 4200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 1700-2500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual/6 speed automatic with manual override
Top speed: 220 kmph
Acceleration, 0-100kmph: 8.3 seconds

Special Features:
  • Body coloured electrically adjustable side mirrors including turning indicators.
  • Fog lamps
  • Body coloured door handles.
  • Halogen headlights with daytime running lights.
  • Rain sensors.
  • Parking sensors with rear view camera.
  • Tilt and telescopic steering column.
  • Twin exhaust tailpipe.
  • Climatic semi-automatic air conditioning system.
  • Multi function steering wheel.
  • Leather wrapped electro- mechanical steering wheel.
  • Titan black upholstery.
  • Radio/mp3 compatible CD player with 6 speakers.
  • Electric power windows with front one touch up/down control.
  • 17” multi spoke alloy wheels
  • Multifunction computer.
  • Rear spoiler.
  • Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) including Electronic differential lock (EDL), Traction control and Countersteer support.
  • Tinted glass.
  • Anti-lock braking system with Electronic brake-pressure distribution.
  • Front suspension through coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers.
  • Rear suspension with gas pressure shock absorbers and separate springs.
  • Front and rear anti-roll bar.
  • Electronic engine immobiliser.
  • Dual clutch gearbox.

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