The VW Golf GTD is becoming as ubiquitous as the GTi hot-hatch with which it shares many of its parts and styling.
Between the 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and GTi chassis tricks, it's really fun to drive yet affordable to run, so it deserves a reputation for offering all the kicks of the GTi hot hatch, with fewer costs.
Now you can get the GTD as an estate, which gets a boot capacity of 605 litres, up from 380 in the hatch, but with more weight thanks to the 32cm increased body length. So, is it as good to drive?
What’s the 2015 VW Golf Estate GTD like to drive?
The extra size and weight hasn’t made much difference at all. The steering is well weighted and feels precise and responsive enough to make this front-wheel-drive Golf Estate feel appropriately chuckable in fast corners, while body lean is kept to a minimum and there’s masses of grip.
Even with the £850 adaptive dampers fitted to our test car, ride comfort is a little harsh over cracked surfaces or sharp-edged potholes, but it settles quickly and is composed enough to be an easy daily driver. It's certainly a lot more comfortable than the much-cheaper Skoda Octavia Estate vRS.
We'd advise most people to go for the manual gearbox. It’s a light, positive shift and gives you a better sense of control and involvement than the £1415 six-speed dual-clutch automatic, which can be a bit hesitant and unpredictable.
The manual version is more efficient, too, and allows you to make the most of the potent engine, which is the real star of the GTD. After all, despite the worthy-sounding economy and emissions, this diesel motor serves up pretty exciting performance.
Our only criticism is that it can feel a bit lethargic at really low revs, but it doesn’t feel strained so you can still stick to higher gears around town if you want. Go for a more enthusiastic driving style on some open roads, and the power builds progressively so it’s really easy to make the most of the hefty acceleration on offer across a broad mid rev-range.
Although the engine is quite noisy under acceleration, it's easily ignored the rest of the time, and refinement is generally good by estate standards.
What’s the 2015 VW Golf Estate GTD like inside?
For a start, it gets the best boot in its class. A low load lip, huge, square load bay complete with variable-height boot floor, and rear seats that can be dropped simply by pulling a lever in the boot will all help to make life easy. With the floor raised and the seats dropped, you get a flat load bay that's just over 1.8 metres long, too.
There’s loads of space in the back seats for two adults, although a Skoda Octavia Estate vRS does offer substantially more legroom. The GTD also has chunky sports seats that keep you firmly in place and have adjustable lumbar support as standard to make long journeys comfortable.
The standard tartan upholstery is a nod to the GTi, although in the GTD you get monochrome finish; it’s the only upholstery you can have unless you spend a whopping £1720 on leather.
Equipment includes everything you could want apart from satellite-navigation, which is a £750 addition that seems a tad cheeky given that the much-cheaper GT model (which isn’t available with this engine) gets the system as standard.
Still, you do get rafts of desirable styling addenda that make the GTD look distinctly more aggressive than the standard Golf Estate.
Should I buy one?
Even in estate form, the Golf Estate GTD’s styling stands out, and the sharp driving experience lives up to those looks.
However, there’s £4470 difference in price between the Golf Estate GTD and the excellent Seat Leon ST 2.0 TDI 184 FR, which uses the same chassis and engine and has similar standard equipment and lower company car costs.
So, while excellent resale values on the VW will go some way to making up for the high price, it's still an expensive option in this class.
What Car? says...
VW Golf Estate GTD
Engine size 2.0 diesel
Price from £28,285
Torque 280lb ft
0-62mph 7.9 seconds
Top speed 143mph
Fuel economy 64.2mpg