What is it?
This is the new Volkswagen Golf estate, the latest, not to mention lengthened and larger-booted, incarnation of the seventh-generation hatchback.
From the rear door handles forward you’ll be struggling to split the estate and the hatchback as they’re all but identical — save for the estate’s as-standard roof rails. The two share an MQB platform and wheelbase but the estate has been stretched by 307mm over the hatch to 4562mm.
All that extra length is aft of the rear wheelarch, giving the estate both a sizeable rear overhang and a usefully larger boot — 605 litres with the rear seats upright, expanding to a full 1620 litres with them folded (the hatch offers 380/1270 litres). Interestingly, the larger Passat estate has two litres less boot space than the Golf estate with its seats in their upright position, but its boot expands to 1731 litres with them folded.
Choice of engines will be a surprise to no one. Petrols consist of 83 and 104bhp 1.2-litre and 120 and 138bhp 1.4-litre TSIs, while the diesel line-up consists of 89 and 104bhp 1.6-litre and 148bhp 2.0-litre TDIs.
The least powerful 1.2 TSI gets a five-speed manual gearbox and the 104bhp 1.2 and all the 1.4 TSIs can be had with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Diesels get a similar but not the same gearbox choice, with the lowest-power TDIs available with a five-speed manual gearbox in S trim or the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch ’box in SE spec, while the 2.0 TDIs have either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto ’box.
We drove the 148bhp 2.0 TDI SE with a six-speed manual gearbox, which retails at £22,990 – £765 more than the 2.0 TDI SE five-door Golf hatch.
What’s it like?
Like a Golf, but with a bigger boot. In truth, from behind the wheel you’d be hard pushed to know you’re not driving the hatchback (unless you look in the rear view mirror at the extra length behind you).
The estate, then, carries all of the Mk7 Golf hatchback’s positive attributes of functional refinement and slick, cosseting quality with aplomb, but lets you carry more stuff in the back should the need arise.
Inside, VW’s fit, finish and build quality are mood-lifters, while the added practicality of that larger boot inject extra usefulness into the package without compromising the near-premium aesthetic.
The large boot is thoughtfully well appointed with a low load lip, a wide, flat floor and handy underfloor storage compartments, including a place to stow the bulky luggage cover when not needed. The split rear seats can be folded down via a pair of switches in the boot, although the seats don’t fold completely flat.
One added bonus of the bigger boot is a feeling of increased space in the rear cabin. The extended, higher roofline and extra glass area between the C and D-pillars make for a significantly airier ambience.
Were you to load the estate’s boot to its maximum payload there would doubtless be an effect on the car’s ride and handling, but unladen it’s comfortable, hushed, well damped and controlled.
The estate carries an 82kg kerb weight penalty over the hatchback thanks to the larger body, which affects the combined economy and CO2 figures by only a fraction. The estate returns a claimed 67.3mpg while emitting 108g/km of CO2 to the comparable hatchback’s 68.9mpg/106g/km.
The extra mass also knocks the 2.0 TDI’s 0-62mph time down from the hatch’s 8.6sec to 8.9sec. As it is, though, the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is a potent enough engine and offers reasonably effortless punch throughout the range.
Should I buy one?
Possibly. If you regularly need more loadspace than a five-door hatchback can offer, then an estate makes sense, and the Golf estate is particularly appealing.
It’s not cheap, though, and certainly not in SE trim with this higher-powered diesel engine. By way of comparison, a similarly specced and powered Ford Focus estate costs a fiver short of £2000 less, although its boot is 118 litres smaller at its maximum.
However, entry point for the Golf estate range starts well below £20,000 (£17,915 for a 1.2 TSI in S trim, in fact), so don’t write off the Golf estate on cost grounds alone.
Volkswagen Golf estate 2.0 TDI SE 150
Price £22,990; 0-62mph 8.9sec; Top speed 135mph; Economy 67.3mpg; CO2 108g/km; Kerb weight 1436kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 3500-4000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
What is it?