Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion 1.6 TDI

July 2013

picture of car from the front

Slim grille distinguishes BlueMotion from rest of the range

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 10Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 9Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Bodykit improves looks still further
  • Exceptional economy and emissions performance
  • Drives with the same assurance and control as the standard car
  • Demands little effort from the driver to deliver impressive economy

Gripes

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

The latest generation of Volkswagen's evergreen Golf aims to be the most refined, comfortable and capable version ever. But in keeping with these eco-conscious times the popular BlueMotion version is one of the most keenly-anticipated models in the range, promising even better fuel consumption and emissions performance than before.

Having appeared on numerous Volkswagens for a number of years the BlueMotion tag is one that has become popular in its own right, promising above average fuel consumption performance compared to its siblings and with a modest increase in cost. Volkswagen has succeeded in improving this third generation Gold BlueMotion in this respect, and it now claims consumption figures way in excess of the original model.

The BlueMotion uses a new 1.6-litre TDI unit that also appears in other Golf models, although here it benefits from a number of enhancements to maximise its economy. Longer gear ratios, lowered sports suspension, low rolling resistance tyres and improved aerodynamics all play their part, as does a number of weight saving measures.

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 would be recovered over a number of driven miles through road tax savings and with reduced fuel consumption. Under current regulations the Golf BlueMotion is exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty, although the standard 1.6-litre diesel Golf also achieves this.

Our verdict on the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion 1.6 TDI

For a relatively modest additional outlay the Golf BlueMotion offers a better specification, arguably improved appearance and even better fuel consumption and emissions. The true achievement of the Golf BlueMotion is that it is capable of such thrift without any compromise in terms of driving dynamics or comfort, and as such it is an excellent all-rounder.

Costs
Costs rating 10

With impressive economy from the entire range of engines the Golf represents a cost effective car to run, but the BlueMotion offers exceptional frugality by any measure. Insurance groupings are low thanks to good security and safety measures.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

There's no compromise compared to a standard Golf hatchback, so there is good space for passengers front and rear plus a useful boot. There's decent space for oddments too.

picture of car from the rear

Discreet bodykit helps to cut aerodynamic drag

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 9

The Golf's cabin is a first-class example of a user-friendly and high quality cabin. The displays are clear and a pleasure to look at, the controls easy to understand and the operation of the switches and buttons is excellent. The large touchscreen works well too, with a clever sensor that only displays all the options when it detects your hand moving toward it.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 8

Once again an excellent level of comfort comes as standard with the Golf. Refinement is better than ever, with excellent insulation from wind and road noise as well as quiet engines. The seats are supportive too even over long journeys, although the stiffer suspension does reduce ride quality by a fraction - this is unlikely to upset anyone other than the most sensitive of passengers however.

Car security
Security Rating 8

An immobiliser is standard equipment, as is an automatic speed sensitive door locking system that can be deactivated if required. Naturally, all models feature remote central locking and the lockable glovebox is an additional benefit. The load area can also be shielded from view with the parcel shelf.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

A five-star safety rating comes as no surprise considering the impressive array of standard passive and active safety systems incorporated into the new Golf. A raft of airbags including one for the driver's knee, a whiplash restraint system and seatbelt fastening detection for the rear seats are all included. ABS with brake assist, an advanced ESP system with a differential lock and traction control and automatic hazard light activation are all important elements to avoid an accident in the first place.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

There's very little to distinguish the Golf BlueMotion from the standard version; the same very high levels of grip, balance and control are in evidence although the BlueMotion does have lower and stiffer suspension, which marginally improves its responses. All the controls are beautifully weighted and make it a pleasure to drive whatever your mood.

picture of car interior

Superb cabin is comfortable and exceptionally well-finished

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

An excellent family vehicle, the Golf BlueMotion is prepared for pretty much any eventuality. Spacious, practical, safe and easy to drive it's the ideal choice for families of five or fewer.

First car appeal
First car Rating 6

The Golf would be an extremely good choice for a first car if it wasn't for the excellent range of even smaller vehicles in the Volkswagen stable. However, if a larger vehicle is required, the Golf's easy nature makes it a sensible choice.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

The Golf has one of the finest reputations in the family hatchback market, built on successful previous generations that have shared the same strengths. Quality has taken another big stride forward with refinement and road manners improved still further. The Golf's popularity means drivers won't particularly stand out from the crowd, but the Golf badge still has cache.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

Nothing less than easy access through all the doors and to the boot would do. Generous doors front and rear present no problems, while the tailgate gives a good opening for easy loading.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

All Golfs get a big touchscreen display with a variety of inputs and controls on the steering wheel to match. With an info display between the instruments too and DAB across the range is a welcome addition.

picture of car in detail

Super-frugal 1.6-litre diesel unit is new

Colours and trim

There's a wide choice of bright and more subdued colours available for the Golf BlueMotion and unlike many cars it wears both options very well. On the inside the default dark colours can leave the cabin feeling a little sombre, but there are brighter options.

Parking

With sound visibility all round the Golf BlueMotion does not offer any particular challenges when parking. Light steering and accurate controls are a help, the only demerit being that parking sensors are a cost-option on all but the top models. Additionally the automated parking system doesn't come cheap but works exceptionally well.

Spare wheel

Emergency inflation kit mounted beneath the boot floor.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.2-litre (84bhp, 104bhp); 1.4-litre (120bhp); 1.4-litre ACT (138bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (104bhp); 2.0-litre (148bhp, 168bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox, seven-speed DSG twin clutch automatic gearbox with switchable sequential manual mode. Trim levels: S, SE, GT.

 

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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July 2013