New Golf delivers on enviable petrol power

by Michael Moroney
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Petrol power is creeping its way back to driver consciousness once again and with good reason as petrol engines have become more efficient and cleaner.
Diesel power made such a bounce into the market more than 10 years ago, that for many of us, we now consider diesel power to be something we take for granted.
That was not the case 25 years ago and we now seem set to revert to a more even petrol/diesel market balance.
Volkswagen has been in the eye of the diesel issue storm and that’s probably why their new ranges of petrol engines are attracting attention.
For many car buyers, Golf and diesel power were synonymous – now that could be about to change.
Volkswagen has developed some very impressive petrol engines under the TFSi range that strongly evoke a fuel-choice re-think.
After some days behind the wheel of the new Golf, this time powered by a 999cc, three-cylinder petrol engine, I’ve quickly become a petrol convert.
It’s impressive in its own right and the new turbo-petrol engine is the icing on the cake in terms of performance and smooth driving.
It’s so easy to forget that the car is powered by a three-cylinder engine, because its 115bhp power output is smooth and effortless.
This is a car that becomes a challenge for the diesel options, initially for reasons economy, and when you drive it you’ll find other reasons to remember the value of petrol power.
The new level of economy is the key to the growing acceptance and success of petrol power.
I took the Golf over some lengthy runs mixed with city driving and found that the 50 litre capacity tank gave me a range of almost 850km. That’s impressive and not far off the rated economy figure of 21m/litre (4.8/100km or 59mpg).
That becomes the early reason why I got to like the new Golf power. The smoothness of the power delivery also started to grow on me. The car’s six-speed manual gearbox was easy and effortless and for many car buyers that’s their clear desire.
The six-speed gearbox option allows the car to cruise at 120km/hr on the motorway at 2500rpm on the engine.
That level of performance always assures economy and at times I was achieving an economy figure of 5.1l/100km (20km/litre), which is traditionally what we consider to be diesel-engine economy territory.
Other than the impressive petrol engine performance, the new Golf design is mildly changed from the past with new bumpers, radiator grille, full-LED tail lights and hidden exhaust pipes.
There are new glass headlight covers that extend further up the wing of the car to give a sportier look.
The big changes, however, are to the inside with improved controls and more use of electronics to give an impressive set of dials and easier overall control of much of the car’s non-driving creature comforts.
This car is probably the most impressive Golf that I’ve driven for some years.
I had almost forgotten how much a smooth and quieter petrol engine can enhance the overall driving experience of what is a very good mid-range new Volkswagen Golf.
Entry prices start at €23,670 for the five-door 110bhp version, while a lower priced 85bhp version is also available at €22,670.
This is a Volkswagen Golf that you need to drive to re-live a petrol experience that will convert you.

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