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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 10th 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010 Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au ---15 VW makes way for wagon EXTRA: Potential hatch buyers may well walk way with Golf's new wagon. Volkswagen s latest Golf fits the bill when lifestyle needs call for the convenience of a wagon over the handiness of a hatch. Neil McDonald reports BUOYED by the success of the CarsGuide Car of the Year Award, Volkswagen Australia has taken a big punt with the Golf and added a wagon to the lineup. Although playing in a segment with few direct rivals, Volkswagen Aust- ralia managing director Anke Koeck- ler believes the Golf wagon will find a following. However, she is naturally cautious about sales numbers. ''It is a taste it and see type of car,'' she says, ''but we're confident it will do well.'' Koeckler is mindful too that smaller families might visit a showroom to look at a Golf hatch and walk out with a wagon. Small wagons have never been big sellers locally but Koeckler believes this could change. ''In Europe they are very popular,'' she says. With the Toyota Corolla no longer competing in the small wagon seg- ment, the Golf wagon can count its direct prestige rival as the Peugeot 308, with the lower cost Hyundai i30 CW nipping around the edges. Just like the Golf hatch, the wagon approaches its duties with that Ger- man thoroughness in design detail and engineering with a handy pre- mium of just $2000 over the hatch. The chrome-ringed flip-out shop- ping bag holders reek quality and the nifty secret hideaway under the luggage cover has enough room for a laptop and other valuables. The regular shape of the luggage area and fold-flat floor can swallow a fair amount of gear. The wagon is built on the same platform and engines and has the same 2574mm wheelbase. Both share their 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo-diesels and high-tech 1.4-litre TSI petrol engines. In the wagon a seven-speed DSG gearbox is standard on the 118 TSI Comfortline with a six-speed DSG on the 103 TDI Comfortline. The Trendline models make do with five- and six-speed manuals and optional seven-speed DSG gearboxes. In keeping with its extra duties though, the wagon is 432mm longer than the hatch --- most of it at the back --- and 45mm higher. This translates into a respectable load area with plenty of room for small families. With the rear seats up there is 505 litres of space under the luggage cover. Folded flat this expands to 1495 litres. By comparison, the Peugeot 308 wagon has 674 litres with the seats up and 2149 litres with the seats down. For added safety there is a sturdy cargo net. A red indicator pops up on the seatbacks if they are not properly secured. Our wagon came with some tasty extras like the $3000 satellite navi- gation system, $270 media device interface, $3300 leather seats, $400 foglights, $2000 panoramic glass sun- roof and $1400 park assist. But you do not need to load this car up with creature comforts to appreci- ate the German engineering. driving THE Golf 118 TSI wagon combines a solid reputation with sparkling performance. It might also be small in stature but it is practical where it counts --- out back. It was pressed into service to carry irregularly shaped Ikea flat-pack furniture and even a few bags of mulch. Everything was swallowed easily with the cargo net and luggage tie- downs keeping things snug. If you have driven the 1.4-litre hatch the wagon will be no surprise. As we've said before the Golf's diminutive four-cylinder has a big heart. VW has wisely not put any ''1.4'' badges on the car because in reality, this 1.4 behaves like a spirited 2.0-litre. The wagon is quick off the line. The sweet revving engine spins eagerly and the seven-speed DSG, standard on the Comfortline, is well matched to the engine. Although dual-clutch gearboxes have come a long way, the Golf's still has some lag when moving away from the traffic lights. It was a little hesitant but much better than past DSGs. But once it decides to engage, the perky engine performs. Beyond 1700 revs the car slingshots forward, perhaps a little too eagerly, chirping the tyres even with modest pressure on the accelerator. At highway speeds the 1.4 is very efficient, getting 5.5 litres/100km. There is a surprising amount of urge from 80km/h upwards for overtaking. The peppy performance is not at the expense of ride or handling. The wagon behaves like the hatch and that's a good thing. However, there is some road noise over harsher bitumen but it is noticeably free of the drumming associated with big-boxy wagons. VW has added an acoustic windscreen to help subdue wind and engine noise up front but even back seat passengers will appreciate the rustle-free cabin. Its Euro credibility will not be lost on inner city buyers who value function over form. It may not have the seating versatility of the Peugeot wagon but the build quality and superior dynamics push it past the post. small torque Volkswagen Golf 118 TSI wagon Price: $33,990 Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Power: 118kW at 5900 revs Torque: 240Nm from 1750 revs Transmission: Seven-speed DSG automatic Fuel consumption: 6.3/100km combined CO2 emissions: 148g/km Score 82/100 how it compares Peugeot 308 1.6 HDI Touring: 81/100 (from $35,447) Hyundai i30 2.0 Sportwagon: 78/100 (from $29,990) Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI DSG wagon: 80/100 ($35,290) Subaru Liberty 2.5i CVT wagon: 83/100 ($37,990) The bottom line: A more practical Golf with room for more. For ANCAP vehicle safety ratings, go to howsafeisyourcar. com.au 281 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Hans Kerkvliet 0411 174 411 Robert Heuke 0438 289 277 Hobart Great Wall $23,990. Drive away. The V240 4x2 Ute -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio, ABS/EBD, air conditioning, electric windows, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. 4x4 $3,000 extra. Metallic paint $350 extra. The Great Cars of China are here! $23,990. Drive away. The X240 4WD -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio/mp3, ABS, climate control, electric windows/mirrors/driver s seat, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. Metallic paint $350 extra.
March 27th 2010
April 17th 2010