Feature

Used test – premium unleaded: BMW 1 Series vs Volkswagen Golf

These classy hatchbacks are plentiful in petrol form – but which one is the perfect antidote to the current diesel funk?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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BMW 1 series cornering

What will they cost?

You might expect the BMW 116i to be the pricier car of these two thanks to its more upmarket badge, but the real surprise is by just how much that’s the case. The gap is vast, which makes the Volkswagen Golf by far the better value option.

When both of these cars were new, however, the gap between their prices was much closer – and that means the BMW’s the car that’s held its value better. You might think that makes it a more sensible investment, but in fact, even though it’ll lose a lesser proportion of its value, it’ll actually lose more in cash terms than the Golf from this point onward, simply because it’s starting from a higher figure in the first place, and therefore has further to fall.

In other words, the BMW is not only the priciest to buy, but looks likely to lose you the most cash as it depreciates further. What’s more, the BMW will also set you back more to service, and according to both the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study and the What Car? Reliability Index, it has the poorer reputation for reliability.

However, there is a silver lining here if you’ve set your heart on the 1 Series, which is that it beats the Golf on fuel consumption with 49.6mpg to the VW’s 45.6. And as car tax is based on CO2 emissions, which are related to fuel consumption, the BMW also scores well here, costing Β£130 a year to the Golf’s Β£145.

But unless you’re going to be doing a stupendously high mileages, those figures aren’t enough to overcome the extra costs the BMW will incur, which makes the Golf look like the cheaper car of the pair to buy and own.

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