Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion 5dr

February 2010

picture of car from the front

Only subtle hints that this is the BlueMotion model

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 10Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 9Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Bodykit improves looks still further
  • Exceptional economy and emissions performance
  • Sharp handling better than standard car
  • Little compromise required for improved economy

Gripes

  • Stiffer ride may not suit all buyers
  • Further choice of trim would be welcome
  • Minimal weight saving from removal of spare wheel
  • Long gear ratios require careful selection to maintain progress

Following the successful introduction of the sixth generation of Golf, Volkswagen is broadening the range by adding several variants, one of the most important being the BlueMotion. Using numerous fuel saving technologies, the BlueMotion brings even greater savings than the outgoing model and also substantially reduces its carbon footprint.

Now something of an established sub-brand, the BlueMotion tag has been applied to most of the cars in the Volkswagen range, but the sixth generation Golf is the first car to be designed from the outset with a BlueMotion model in mind. As with other BlueMotion models, the Golf is based on the existing 'S' specification car, with a number of technical and equipment additions.

The BlueMotion uses a 1.6-litre TDI unit used elsewhere in the Golf range, and makes efficiency gains through changes elsewhere. Longer gear ratios, lowered sports suspension, low rolling resistance tyres and improved aerodynamics (thanks to an attractive bodykit) all play their part, as does a weight saving by fitting a tyre repair kit instead of a spare wheel.

Under the bonnet the BlueMotion has a stop/start function, stopping the engine automatically when the car is stationary, the gearlever is in neutral and the clutch is released. Pressing the clutch restarts the engine immediately, requiring no extra effort on the part of the driver but improving fuel consumption significantly in city traffic. Regenerative braking also helps to reduce drag on the engine when under power, while a gearshift indicator keeps the driver informed about when to change up or down for maximum efficiency.

Although the Golf BlueMotion commands a reasonable premium over the standard model, this is easily recovered through road tax savings and with reduced fuel consumption. It is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge, which can represent a substantial saving, especially as the Golf BlueMotion is the first Golf to slip under the required 100g/km threshold.

Our verdict on the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion 5dr

The Golf BlueMotion is a perfect example of how fuel saving technology can be implemented without impacting on the car's practicality, driveablity or fun factor. The BlueMotion is really gaining an image of its own and, thanks to the sportier suspension, it's arguably more fun to drive than the regular car. All this also comes at a modest price premium.

Costs
Costs rating 10

The financial advantages of buying into the Golf BlueMotion soon outweigh the small premium price over standard models. Driving as instructed by the gearshift indicator, or even in a hurried style, will still give hundreds of miles on the same tank before having to stop for fuel. Running costs are low, residual values good, insurance costs average and there are significant savings to be had both now and regarding future motoring taxes.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

Despite its green credentials, the family sized hatch remains just that - family sized. There's plenty of room in the front, with front seat occupants benefiting from generous leg, head and shoulder room, while there's ample space in the rear for two adults or three children. The boot has reasonable capacity, but its usefulness is compromised as the 60/40 split rear seats don't fold completely flat.

picture of car from the rear

Red lenses and badge are the only clues from the rear

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 9

The dashboard is extremely user-friendly. The various buttons are of a decent size, with other controls straightforward to understand and logically laid out. Most of the displays are clear and easy to read at a glance. The exception to this is the gearshift indicator situated at the bottom of the trip computer screen and so small in comparison to the rest of the information displayed that the driver has to look hard to read it.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

The height and reach adjustable steering column and height adjustable driver's seat allow for a comfortable driving position no matter the shape or size of the driver. The seats are well cushioned and supportive and the high level of equipment inside the cabin should meet, if not surpass, most passengers' requirements and expectations of comfort.

Car security
Security Rating 7

Remote control central locking and an electronic engine immobilizer help to protect against theft. Anti-theft wheel bolts are also standard to help guard against theft of the BlueMotion Match's alloy wheels. The automatic coming and leaving home lighting functions are a reassuring touch also.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

All Golfs boast a comprehensive list of standard safety equipment, including six airbags, ESP, anti-lock brakes with hydraulic brake assist and ASR traction control. Active front head restraints help to minimise whiplash in the event of a rear-end shunt and the hazard lights are automatically activated under emergency braking.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

The Golf BlueMotion scores highly offering plenty of driving appeal for cost and planet conscious motorists. The car drives sharply, is stable at speed and controlled when cornering. The ride is a little firm over urban potholes but not uncomfortable plus there's good traction and grip available. Delivering a solid and comfortable ride with a frugal engine, there's very little to complain about.

picture of car interior

Excellent cabin is a pleasure to use

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

Families in the market for a hatchback that's economical to own and run should consider the Golf BlueMotion. There are few other cars that can deliver the same well-rounded package and, although the VW badge carries a premium, owners are prepared to pay a little extra for the peace of mind in terms of reliability and quality that comes with it.

First car appeal
First car Rating 6

Most new drivers who wish to buy into the Volkswagen range opt for smaller models like the Fox or Polo which offer decent running costs and low insurance prices. However, if the budget allows, there's no reason not to opt for the Golf, which is solid and stable yet versatile enough to meet an owner's needs and finances over the coming years.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 7

Build quality is excellent, with arguably the best materials in the class. The cabin feels solid and all the various controls work with a well-engineered precision. The Golf has always boasted an image of being young and sporty with excellent driving characteristics and, with the BlueMotion badge, it's now environmentally friendly too.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

Sitting lower than the standard Golf, the BlueMotion variant allows for even easier access into the cabin. The doors open wide both at the front and rear, while the 'suitcase' door handles are convenient to use. The tailgate opens into a decent sized aperture, with the option of under-floor storage too.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The Golf comes with a radio/MP3 compatible CD player with four speakers and sound quality is good. An armrest-mounted iPod preparation system is also available and, if selected, is easily controlled via the car's multifunction steering wheel. A DVD-based touch screen, Europe-wide satellite navigation/radio system with a clear screen is optional and also works well.

picture of car in detail

Frugal nature is maximised by improvements elsewhere

Colours and trim

There's a good range of exterior colours to choose from but most are shades of grey, silver or blue with no option of bright or vivid hues. That said, the Golf's subtle but attractive styling looks good in each shade. The cabin is also relatively sober, but all the better for it thanks to the understated design.

Parking

Parking sensors, plus a dipping passenger mirror are optional on all models but, given the Golf's easy to drive nature, there is little real need to use parking sensors other than for driver confidence. The car's pillars allow for good visibility all round, and the electric power steering is light with plenty of feel at low speeds.

Spare wheel

Emergency tyre repair kit as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (80bhp); 1.4-litre (120); 1.4-litre (157bhp); 1.6-litre (100bhp), 2.0-litre (197bhp)2.0-litre (267bhp). Diesel engine options - 2.0-litre (108bhp); 2.0-litre (138bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed manual gearbox, six-speed DSG twin clutch automatic gearbox with switchable sequential manual mode, seven-speed DSG twin clutch automatic gearbox with switchable sequential manual mode. Trim levels: S, BlueMotion, SE, GT, GTI, R.

 

Alternative cars

Toyota Prius Lower overall emissions but more expensive

Renault Megane Smooth and comfortable but no special economy model

Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex Astra is efficient, economical and good to drive

Ford Focus Econetic Excellent dynamics, comfortable and safe



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February 2010