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Volkswagen Golf GTD review


Better Value Than Ever.

Lighter Than Before Despite Extra Equipment.
Classless, Peerless Car And It Just Keeps Getting Better.

For: Careful styling evolution protects residual values. Luxury class levels of quality fit and finish. Dynamics better than ever.
Against: If they haven’t got it right after 39 years, they never will.

The secret of the VW Golf’s success is its classlessness and its gentle evolution ensuring that each successive development doesn’t make the previous one old fashioned.

This protects residual values and makes the Golf a very sensible purchase. If you parked the first Golf next to the latest you would immediately see the resemblance.

Volkswagen invented the hot hatch with the first Golf GTI in 1975 and has been carefully developing it ever since, adding a diesel version in 1999 with just 115 PS compared with 150 of the petrol version.

The latest GTD has a stonking 184 PS against the petrol GTI’s 220 (or 230 with a performance pack) but it’s not the power that counts as much as the torque and the GTD has 30 Nm more than the GTI.

Surprisingly high specification
One thing that has changed with the GTI and GTD over the years is the level of specification and the new car comes very well equipped indeed. As standard the car comes with 18” alloy wheels, sports suspension, stop/start, LED rear lights, leather trimmed, fully adjustable multi-function steering wheel, radar sensor-controlled cruise control, Front Assist, emergency braking system, Driver Alert System, dual-zone climate control. There are all round electric windows, electric mirrors, sports seats with height and lumbar adjustment, front armrest, automatic lights wipers and rear-view mirrors, front and rear parking sensors and split folding rear seat.

‘Infotainment’ is well covered with DAB radio, CD player and SD card reader, eight speakers, MP3 iPod connection and Bluetooth hands-free telephone connection.

Having been honed for 39 years the Golf is all but perfect with comfortable supportive seats and an ideal driving position. The steering is particularly well weighted. Considering the large wheels, low profile tyres and sports suspension the ride is very good.

Diesel now suitable for private buyers
Once upon a time nobody would have considered a diesel hot hatch but the smoothness and subtlety of the 184 PS engine is such that you are just not aware it is a diesel and even the turbo lag has been all but banished.

It is often said that it is not worth a private buyer choosing a diesel because of the higher price per litre of fuel but in this case the total running costs for the diesel at 32.81 pence per mile over 3 years and 60,000 miles is 15% lower than the petrol GTI. (Source CAP Monitor)  For the company car user it is a ‘no-brainer’ when you add in the reduced benefit-in-kind tax resulting from the diesel’s lower CO2 emissions a saving of around £700 per annum in tax. (40% tax payer)

Thanks to the new platform and superb build quality the car is remarkably refined the only disadvantage of which is that you are inevitably travelling 20 mph faster than realised.


Volkswagen Golf GTD 5-dr manual

On the Road UK Price



1,968cc,4-cylinder diesel


184 PS at 3,500 – 4,000  rpm


380 Nm at  1,750 – 3,250 revs


 6-speed manual




0-62 7.5 seconds

Top Speed:


Combined fuel consumption:

Claimed 67.3 MPG


109 g/km

Emissions class:

Euro 5


4,310 mm


1,785 mm without mirrors



Unladen weight:

1,310  kg


2,636 mm


Front: McPherson struts. Rear: four-link

Service Intervals:

10,000 miles or 1 year


3 years / 60,000 miles

Boot Capacity:

380 litres seats up, 1,220 seats folded


 BMW 1 Series, Audi A3, and Mercedes-Benz A-Class


Careful styling evolution protects residual values. Luxury class levels of quality fit and finish. Dynamics better than ever


If they haven’t got it right after 39 years, they never will.

 © Robert Couldwell
For publication on WintonsWorld

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