European Car of the year – Volkswagen Golf

Knowing the quality and performance of the Volkswagen, this won’t surprise you a bit, the Volkswagen’s latest version Golf hatchback MK VII has been named 2013 European Car of the Year. Picked from an original field of 35 contenders, the winner was announced at a special event preceding the 2013 Geneva Motor Show (2013).

Volkswagen beat its rivals by taking home 414 points. Second place went to Toyota GT 86/ Subaru BR2 twins – 202 points and third place went to Volvo V40 – 189 points. Back in the year 1992, the third generation picked the prestigious title and now again in 2013 the title goes to Volkswagen, making it the only car (along with the Renault Clio) to have won the title twice.

Its brilliant MQB platform gave the car overall balance plus its achievement in safety, fuel efficiency, dynamic and comfort that bagged the title. The premium and classy-styled interior as well as the smooth ride also won the hearts of the Jury. The Jury panel consists of 59 Jury members that represent 23 countries who are journalists or hold other posts in the Auto Industry.

Volkswagen Golf
To be a contender, the vehicle has to be newly available in the market. Either now or before year-end in five or more European markets with at least 5,000 yearly sales, this is the reason the exotic supercars of the European countries are renowned for.

For Golf fans in the US, you will have to wait only till the first half of 2014 to test-drive one at your local Volkswagen dealer.

As Hakan Matson, Jury President and auto professional of the Swedish biz paper Dagens Industry, explicated of the verdict, “The Volkswagen Golf VII pocketed astounding outcomes in our rigorous test drives.”

Volkswagen Golf voted 2013 European Car of the Year

The Car of the Year champion has to illustrate superiority in several categories — with unique attention to the requirements of customers. All the affiliates of our judges are specialists and put the finalists via a series of thorough examinations to offer considerable purchasing condition for consumers.”

Maruti Alto comes ahead of Volkswagen Golf for the second time in a row

In India, the company that has always reigned supreme when it came to the car manufacturing is Maruti. The company has a range of compact cars custom made to suit India’s lack of parking space and twisted lanes and deep curves. The car company has emerged on top after years of fulfilling India’s needs. With its wide variety of models, the company caters to diverse needs, from compact cars to luxury drives, to other heavy duty vehicles.  Now the company has gone on to claim another title, that too once again making it the only one of its kind to ever do so in India. Maruti Alto bustled its way ahead of the race, claiming the title ‘Worlds highest selling small car‘ this year as well. The car has fought off other giants from other countries that tried a hand at clinching the title. But this isn’t the only thing that makes Maruti Alto special. This is its second win on the trot, laying claim for the second time in a row and retaining the title of the Highest Selling Small Car in the World. Indians have always banked on this car company to deliver, and they have delivered Maruti, with its best servicing and maintenance facilities all across India, has raced ahead in the completion against the world.

Maruti Alto comes ahead of Volkswagen Golf for the second time in a row

Coming second to the ‘highest selling small car’ was the Volkswagen Golf. The third spot has been claimed by Fiat Uno.  The Indian car manufacturer has sold a whopping 310,000 units of the Maruti Alto in the last one year, which steers clear of any completion from the runners up. Fiat sold a total of 273,537 units in Brazil while the Volkswagen sold a staggering 258,059 units of its car Golf back in their home country of Germany. The third runner- up trailing behind the others in the race for the highest selling small car in a country was the Suzuki WagonR, which sold 160,439 units. Coming in next is the Chinese car company manufacturing the Chery QQ and selling an appreciable number of 150,769 units back home in China.

There hasn’t been much of a change in the tally compared to last year, but there have been certain change in trends that suggests how the next years tally might shape up. The car that came in second, the Volkswagen Golf is sure feeling the heat, with the Fiat Uno trailing close behind having bridged quite a bit of gap in terms of sales within a span of one year. These changes in figures indicate that Fiat Uno has become the fastest growing in terms of units sold compared to last year in 2011. Another interesting trend is indicated through Brazil, which has fast become a thriving market for cars and bikes. Car companies are doing admirably well in the Brazilian terrain and this favorable market conditions is drawing in a lot of attention from car manufacturers.

Volkswagen Golf in India
Now the car with the highest sales in the small car category may be Maruti Alto, but the respect of being the highest number of units sold for any vehicle on the roads goes to the Ford F-150 truck selling a total of 584,917 units.

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.