Volkswagen Golf Estate full 9 point review
Every engine is turbocharged, and the range starts with 1.2-litre petrols with either 84 or 103bhp. The 1.4-litre petrols deliver 121bhp or 138bhp, and both feel responsive. The 103bhp 1.6 diesel will be flexible enough for most buyers, while the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is smooth and punchy.
Ride & Handling
The Golf Estate’s suspension manages to combine a soft, pliant ride with good body control. The steering is well weighted, too. Both 1.2 petrols and 1.6 diesels get less sophisticated rear suspension, but they still offer a good mix of comfort, stability and agility.
This is one of the Golf Estate’s biggest strengths. There's very little suspension noise, and wind noise is kept down, even at motorway speeds. While the diesel engines rev smoothly and are generally hushed, they do cause a few vibrations to come through the pedals and steering wheel. There’s also a touch more tyre noise than in the hatchback, but it’s rarely annoying.
Buying & Owning
The Estate commands a reasonable three-figure premium over the hatchback, but even so, no Golf is cheap; in fact, some versions, such as the 138bhp 1.4 petrol with cylinder shut-off, look downright expensive. You can get a decent discount, though, and all the engines are impressively efficient and economical. Add strong resale values and the Golf Estate is an affordable long-term prospect.
Quality & Reliability
The Golf’s interior is a cut above those of most rivals. The switchgear is nicely damped and there are lots of tactile, soft-touch materials. Volkswagen also finished fairly well in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey, although its scores in the latest reliability survey were less impressive.
Safety & Security
Every model comes with stability control, a driver’s knee airbag and twin front, side and curtain ’bags. SE-spec cars and above get a City Emergency Braking system that automatically applies the brakes if it detects an imminent collision at speeds below 19mph. Deadlocks, locking wheel nuts and marked mechanical parts are all fitted as standard to make life harder for thieves, although entry-level S models don’t get an alarm.
Behind The Wheel
A huge range of seat and steering wheel adjustment means drivers of all sizes should be able to find a comfortable driving position. All-round vision is excellent, too. The dashboard is clear and simple to use thanks to conventional rotary heating controls and a standard touch-screen infotainment system that features logical menus and handy shortcut buttons.
Space & Practicality
The Golf can seat four six-footers in comfort, or five with some elbowing in the back seats. Some rivals have larger boots, but the Golf’s is still vast. You also get an adjustable boot floor, bag hooks and underfloor storage, plus spring-loaded rear seats that fold almost flat with the pull of a lever in the boot. Even the loadbay cover is clever, retracting halfway with one touch, and it can be stowed in a dedicated slot under the floor.
Every model comes with a DAB radio, Bluetooth and some form of air-conditioning, but mid-level SE trim is the pick of the range because it brings alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, smarter interior trim and extra storage cubbies. Avoid the S and Bluemotion trims if you can, because they don’t get some key equipment. GT versions have a generous spec, including sat-nav and front and rear parking sensors, but they’re expensive.