The 2013 VW Golf Estate is the largest of its kind so far, with 100 litres more boot space than the outgoing model.
It’s available with a choice of three trim levels – S, SE and GT – and seven engines.
There are four petrols – an 84bhp 1.2-litre, a 104bhp 1.2-litre, a 120bhp 1.4-litre and a 138bhp 1.4-litre.
The diesel choices include a 104bhp 1.6-litre and a 148bhp 2.0-litre. A 109bhp 1.6-litre diesel Bluemotion version will join the range later in 2013.
What’s the 2013 Volkswagen Golf Estate like inside?
The 2013 Golf Estate has a boot that's almost as big as that in the class-leading Skoda Octavia Estate. There’s 605 litres of space with the rear seats in place, and the load bay is a usefully square shape.
The flat entry lip makes it easy when loading heavy items, and the standard height-adjustable floor allows you to divide the space in two, and means there's no step in the floor when the rear seats are folded.
Folding the rear seats is done by pulling a pair of handles in the boot, and the seatbacks are sprung-loaded so they drop in one easy movement to boost overall space to 1620 litres.
A folding front seat is also available as a £110 option, making it possible to carry seriously long items.
The rest of the car is much the same as the hatchback version, so there's room for two six-foot adults in the back with a decent amount of head and shoulder room.
Drivers of all shapes and sizes should be able to get comfortable; there's plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, while all-round visibility is also good.
The dashboard is angled towards the driver and is easy to use, thanks to the chunky and clearly labelled rotary controls and user-friendly infotainment system. There are also plenty of soft touch, high-quality materials throughout the cabin.
What's the 2013 Volkswagen Golf Estate like to drive?
Despite the extra carrying capacity, the Golf Estate drives much like the hatchback version, which means you get the same well-weighted steering and supple ride. True, you do notice a bit of body roll on winding roads, but it's still well controlled by estate standards.
First we tried the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. This engine is strong and flexible, pulling from low revs and staying relatively smooth above 3500rpm.
You need to work the 1.6 TDI harder to make decent progress, but if anything it’s even smoother, with less vibration
There's also very little in the way of engine or suspension noise, although there is some wind noise at higher speeds– mostly from around the door mirrors.
Should I buy one?
In hatchback form, the Octavia has a massive practicality advantage over the Golf, and that’s one of the main reasons we think the Skoda is the better buy.
As estates, though, the two cars offer virtually identical amounts of space, and in some ways the VW is actually the more practical car – even the cheapest versions get a height-adjustable boot floor and handles in the boot that allow you to drop the rear seats remotely. You have to trade up to more expensive versions of the Octavia Estate to get these useful features.
True, the Skoda is cheaper (by between £1500 and £2000), and its slightly lower CO2 emissions make it the more appealing car to company car drivers. However, if you're a private buyer, the Golf's stonger resale values mean you get more of your money back when you come to sell.
What Car? says...
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £20,540
Torque 129lb ft
0-62mph 11.9 sec
Top speed 115mph
Fuel economy 72.4mpg
CO2 g/km 102g/km
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from £22,990
Torque 236lb ft
0-62mph 8.9 sec
Top speed 135mph
Fuel economy 67.5mpg
CO2 g/km 108g/km