A starting price of £20,365 for the 128bhp 1.5 TSI engine means its barely any more expensive than the outgoing 1.4 TSI 125, yet it is cleaner and more fuel-efficient. Starting from £23,455, the 148bhp model is also significantly cheaper than the 1.4-litre model it replaces and is quite a bit less than an equivalent A3.
True, the Golf is still one of the more expensive family hatchbacks, but it only takes a brief stint behind the wheel to understand why it commands a premium; from the high-class interior to the polished driving experience, it offers a feel usually only found in more expensive machinery.
It’s just the fact that the 1.0-litre petrol Golf is also hugely impressive and available for less than £19,000 that makes us pause before heartily recommending the two new 1.5 units.
What Car? says...
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Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Evo 150 R Line 5dr
Price from £25,095
Engine 4cyl, 1495cc, turbo, petrol
Power 148bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 184lb ft @ 1500rpm
Top speed 134mph
Economy 55.4mpg (official average)
CO2, tax band 116g/km, 22%
Looking for a great family car? Here's our full run-down of the best models around right now, and the ones to avoid.
The best family cars
10. BMW i3
The BMW i3 is an electric family car that uses super-light carbonfibre and aluminium to offset the weight of the battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, while a smart interior and great handling add further to its appeal. In addition to the fully electric model, BMW offers a range-extender version with a two-cylinder petrol engine that acts as a generator to prevent the car's batteries from running flat.
9. BMW 1 Series
A more conventional option from BMW is the 1 Series, which offers a strong combination of performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions. It’s still a little unusual in that it sends its power to the rear wheels rather than the fronts, but this makes it entertaining to drive, and ride comfort is also good.
Pick of the range: 118i SE
8. Honda Civic
The latest Honda Civic is good to drive and has plenty of space inside for your family and their luggage. Add to that an impressive array of standard safety equipment and it's easy to recommend as an all-rounder. Team the frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine with mid-range SR trim for the best results.
Pick of the range: 1.0 VTEC SR