Our cars: VW Golf 1.6 TDI - July

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  • The 12V socket in the boot proved useful for our videographer

    The 12V socket in the boot proved useful for our videographer

  • Our three-year test car feels as supremely competent as the VW Golfs that have gone before it

    Our three-year test car feels as supremely competent as the VW Golfs that have gone before it

  • Our Golf will cost £21.50 to enter the London Congestion Zone, if Boris's plans are implemented

    Our Golf will cost £21.50 to enter the London Congestion Zone, if Boris's plans are implemented

  • The sat-nav software needs an update, which should improve its response

    The sat-nav software needs an update, which should improve its response

  • The paint beneath the bonnet isn't as lustrous as that on the rest of the body

    The paint beneath the bonnet isn't as lustrous as that on the rest of the body

  • The Golf R's DSG is terrific, and our Golf's manual ’box isn't bad either

    The Golf R's DSG is terrific, and our Golf's manual ’box isn't bad either

  • We wonder if most Golf buyers know which make of tyre their car is wearing

    We wonder if most Golf buyers know which make of tyre their car is wearing

  • Rob's attempt to boost fuel economy by pumping up the Golf's tyres was a success

    Rob's attempt to boost fuel economy by pumping up the Golf's tyres was a success

  • Golf sensors no longer switch on automatically - bliss!

    Golf sensors no longer switch on automatically - bliss!

  • USB socket is deeply set and therefore hard to reach

    USB socket is deeply set and therefore hard to reach

  • Driverless cars might be the future, but adaptive cruise control is here already

    Driverless cars might be the future, but adaptive cruise control is here already

  • Old Accord was smoother and quieter than our Golf

    Old Accord was smoother and quieter than our Golf

  • Every Golf comes with an electronic parking brake instead of a conventional handbrake

    Every Golf comes with an electronic parking brake instead of a conventional handbrake

  • Fuel economy is disappointing so far - Rob's struggling to break the 50mpg barrier

    Fuel economy is disappointing so far - Rob's struggling to break the 50mpg barrier

  • The Golf S's plastic steering wheel doesn't get audio controls and there's no cruise control

    The Golf S's plastic steering wheel doesn't get audio controls and there's no cruise control

  • A terrific hatchback opening means the Golf's boot can swallow all manner of odd loads

    A terrific hatchback opening means the Golf's boot can swallow all manner of odd loads

  • We're more than happy with our Golf's halogen daytime running lights

    We're more than happy with our Golf's halogen daytime running lights

  • Mum-of-two Michele thinks our Golf has the same solid, sturdy feel of her old Mk3 version

    Mum-of-two Michele thinks our Golf has the same solid, sturdy feel of her old Mk3 version

  • Sat-nav offers to find you a petrol station when fuel levels are low

    Sat-nav offers to find you a petrol station when fuel levels are low

  • Fuel economy has taken a hit since the running-in period

    Fuel economy has taken a hit since the running-in period

  • The traffic congestion warnings have to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt

    The traffic congestion warnings have to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt

  • Boot space with the seats up is a healthy 380 litres

    Boot space with the seats up is a healthy 380 litres

  • Brushed aluminium? No, just very convincing plastic

    Brushed aluminium? No, just very convincing plastic

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Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion Tech SE

Read the full VW Golf review

Week ending July 30
Mileage 9175
Miles this week 170

Apparently, Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants to introduce a £10 charge – on top of the current £11.50 fee – for drivers of ‘dirty’ diesel cars (and older petrol cars) to enter the Congestion Zone.

When I say ‘dirty’, I mean engines that don’t meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standard. Surprise, surprise, my Golf’s engine meets the Euro 5 standard.

To be honest, this doesn’t really affect me, because our office is way outside the zone, in the ’burbs, and I live down the M3 motorway. The only time I occasionally drive into London is after 6pm, when charging finishes for the day.

However, I'm sure the proposed changes will affect many thousands of motorists. A fee of £21.50 per day is a lot to pay. Will you be affected and, if so, will you switch to a cleaner car or public transport?

By Rob Keenan
Rob.Keenan@whatcar.com

Week ending July 23
Mileage 9005
Miles this week 285

I’ve been driving colleague Steve Hopkins’ Audi A3 Saloon for the past three weeks and have only just reclaimed ownership of the Golf.

I took the A3 to see how it would compare over longer distances (I had to make some motorway trips to airports before I flew off for a couple of overseas car reviews). As expected, the Audi’s larger engine and six-speed manual gearbox made life a fair bit easier at higher speeds, but its firm Sport suspension couldn’t hold a candle to the Golf’s ‘magic-carpet’ ride.

Incidentally, while I was in Germany to drive the face-lifted Scirocco, I was informed that my Golf’s SE trim level is about to be superseded by Match trim. It’s the same price but front and rear parking sensors and electrically folding door mirrors come as standard (mine cost £550), together with foglights. Excellent news if you’re thinking about splashing out on a new Golf.

By Rob Keenan
Rob.Keenan@whatcar.com

Week ending July 17
Mileage 8720
Miles this week 400

When I was handed the keys to our scarlet-coloured long-termer, I felt like I had lucked in before the weekend had started.

With university commitments in Coventry, a family member’s christening in the west country and What Car? Towers based in Teddington, it meant I had to complete a triangle of England. And the more time I spent in our Golf, the more it got under my skin.

Gruff engine note aside, the Volkswagen proved to be a pleasant commuting tool during the 400 miles and confirmed to me why it remains one of the best cars in the small family segment.

By Aaron Smith
whatcarpicturedesk@haymarket.com

Week ending July 2

Mileage 8320
Miles this week 105

All this fiddling about with tyre pressures has had me wondering what Golf owners, or rather 1.6 TDI Golf owners, would make of their car’s brand of tyres, assuming it’s still on the set fitted in the factory.

You see, in my experience those who run a VW Golf tend to be a little sniffy about car brands and models. Tell them you drive a Ford Focus and they’re likely to give you the same look they express when they step in something nasty on the pavement.

So I can only imagine their faces when they discover their pride and joy is wearing not Pirellis or Michelins but Hankooks.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this South Korean make. Hankook is the seventh largest tyre company in the world, and it seems to know what it’s doing if the way my Golf performs on the road is anything to go by.

By Rob Keenan
Rob.Keenan@whatcar.com

Our cars: VW Golf 1.6 TDI - June

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