The Golf is a cornerstone of the Volkswagen range, and offers a large number of variants to suit all buyers. The Estate version brings increased practicality to the range and puts the Golf in contention for a number of buyers who need the increased space.
Although the Golf is a best seller in hatchback form the estate body style is an important part of the range, bringing a wider range of buyers to the Volkswagen brand. With the majority of the design and mechanicals shared directly with its sibling, the Golf Estate aims to offer the same qualities that make the hatchback such as success.
The biggest changes affect the exterior. An increase in length of 352mm gives the room for the large boot area and near-vertical tailgate without harming interior space for passengers. The exterior changes are blended seamlessly into the existing Golf shape, and it remains a tidily-styled and attractive car. The SE version benefits from handsome alloy wheels and also the chromed grille used on higher specification models elsewhere in the Golf range.
Mechanically the Estate is broadly similar to the Golf hatchback, although with a slightly reduced model range. All models are front-wheel drive, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, although it is likely that most buyers would only consider a diesel due to its superior torque output and economy.
Inside the Golf Estate is largely identical to the standard car, bar the increased space in the rear. The cabin layout is simple and attractive, with good quality materials throughout. Extra useful touches in the Estate include chromed lashing eyes on the boot floor to allow the securing of heavier or fragile items.
Our verdict on the Volkswagen Golf Estate 1.9 TDI SE
Anyone choosing the Golf Estate will be satisfied as it meets all the expectations anyone could reasonably have. Alongside the usual Golf qualities of sound design, high quality, refinement and driving enjoyment comes an extra and significant amount of space and practicality. With the right engine choice the Golf Estate makes for an excellent load carrier
The initial purchase price of the Golf Estate is comparatively modest for a vehicle that is based on a family hatchback, but the amount of standard equipment and the high specification justifies the price. Running costs will be reasonable, with good fuel economy and reasonable insurance costs.
Space and practicality
The Golf Estate has a useful extra dose of practicality over the regular Golf, with good levels of head, leg and elbowroom for front and rear passengers. There are also useful storage areas throughout the cabin, and thoughtful touches like a bottle opener and lined coin tray add to the convenience. The boot itself is large and well shaped, with lashing eyes to secure large loads.
Controls and display
The layout of the Golf's cabin is clear and simple, with well-marked buttons and switches. It also uses the attractively illuminated dials seen elsewhere in the Golf range, giving it a classy feel as well as being easy to read. Where fitted, the sat-nav system is placed centrally on the dashboard, making it easy to see. Route instructions are also repeated in a dot matrix display between the main instruments, which is a very useful feature.
Excellent seats give a high level of support and comfort, and although road noise is unlikely to disturb passengers, there is a little wind noise at higher speeds. The well damped suspension means that the ride quality on broken roads is impressive, and never becomes a major discomfort.
As the Golf Estate may attract the attention of thieves, it is fitted as standard with remote central locking and an alarm system, which should deter the most determined thieves.
A considerable safety equipment list including front, side and curtain airbags gives the Golf Estate a high level of passive safety, while the addition of ESP helps to control the substantial power output of the various engines.
In diesel form the Golf Estate offers impressive acceleration thanks to the high torque output, and it is very easy to make rapid progress. This also makes urban driving pleasurable, as very little effort is required to sail along on the engine torque. The well-tuned suspension benefits the handling and ride, with little body roll through the corners and few bumps entering the cabin.
Family car appeal
A key strength of the Golf Estate is its ability to combine driving enjoyment and practicality, and it could easily provide excellent family transport. There is sufficient passenger and luggage room, and it has the ability to cover distances with ease and in comfort. Indeed, the Golf's strength is that it can perform the family role while still being an entertaining drive when the conditions are appropriate.
First car appeal
Although not a challenging or intimidating car to drive, the Golf Estate may be a little larger and more expensive that the ideal machine for most new drivers. The insurance group and running costs are unlikely to be prohibitive however.
Quality and image
VW's reputation for quality is maintained in the Golf Estate, with high standards of fit and finish throughout. A strong sense of good design is also evident, giving the Golf Estate an aura of high quality. The Golf's image benefits from that of the GTI version, and it is noted as a car that is enjoyable to drive.
The Golf Estate is a simple vehicle to enter and exit from, for both front and rear passengers. Wide door openings and 'suitcase' door handles are a big help, as is the relatively high roofline.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
A standard radio/CD is fitted to the Golf Estate, which is simple to operate and provides clear reception and good CD playback, with strong bass and a powerful output. Higher specification models benefit from controls on the steering wheel and a display between the instruments to make the unit easy to operate on the move.
Colours and trim
Although much of the interior is identical to that of a regular Golf, it remains an excellent place to spend time. The fabrics and plastics used within are of a high quality and a robustly constructed.
The Golf Estate is no more difficult to park than a regular Golf, with thinner rear pillars than the hatchback. Rear parking sensors are also available as an option.
Space saver fitted beneath the boot floor.
Engine options: Petrol: 1.4-litre (74bhp), 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged (168bhp), 1.6-litre (113bhp), 2.0-litre (145bhp) 2.0-litre turbocharged (197bhp) 3.2-litre (247bhp) Diesel: 1.9-litre (89bhp, 104bhp), 2.0-litre (138bhp and 168bhp). Five-speed manual transmission standard on 1.4-litre petrol and 1.9-litre diesel, six-speed manual standard on 1.6-litre, 2.0-litre, 2.0-litre turbocharged, 3.2-litre petrols and 2.0-litre diesel. Automatic available on 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrols, six-speed DSG available on 1.9-litre diesel, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and 3.2-litre petrol. Trim levels: S, SE, Sport, GT, GTI and R32. GTI has 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol as standard, R32 has 3.2-litre petrol as standard.