VW Golf 6 combines good performance with fuel efficiency

What you need to know:

Whether your journey takes you on the smooth highway or on a winding rough road, the Golf Mk 6 feels steady and pleasant to drive.

Ivan Omoding drives a 2003 Volvo XC-90. He previously owned a smaller Volvo but it could not accommodate his entire family. He also looked out for a car that guaranteed driving safety. As such, the Volvo XC-90 was the suitable replacement.

Safety features

The sixth generation Volkswagen Golf (code named A6, Type 5K) was unveiled in 2008 at the Paris Motor Show. According to wikipedia.org, the car’s design raised a lot of comments as Volkswagen opted for a more aerodynamic approach, bound to increase fuel efficiency. They also paid more attention to the interior, as the cabin was greatly improved compared to the Golf Mk 5. This model is slowly becoming common on the Ugandan market.

Drive

According to Ivan Musaala, a Golf enthusiast who owns a Golf 6, when it comes to the petrol version, which he drives, the sixth-generation Golf comes with a 1.4-litre engine (80 Horsepower (HP), a 1.6-litre unit (102 HP) which was carried over from the previous golf but improved. According to Volkswagen.co.uk, there is also the 1.4-litre TSI mill offered in two versions; 120 and 160 HP.

In the diesel camp, the entry-level choice is a 1.6-litre engine with 90 and 105 HP, which can be mated to the brand’s DSG automatic transmission. You can also have the 1.6-litre diesel in BlueMotion guise, for better overall fuel economy, with either a manual or a semi-automatic direct shift gearbox.

Handling

We are still talking about a Golf here, so the main features of the car’s handling have a lot to do with a strong feeling of safety and comfort.

Again, the compromise is made between low-body roll and a suspension setup capable of absorbing every bump in the road without sending unwanted noise to the cabin.

Whether your journey takes you on the smooth highway or on a winding rough road, the Golf Mk 6 feels steady and pleasant to drive.

Safety

According to Volkswagen.co.uk, just like the fifth-generation VW Golf, the Mk 6 was awarded five stars for adult occupant safety after being put through its paces at the Euro NCAP crash tests. Musaala says such results do not come as a surprise, since Volkswagen fitted every Golf with seven airbags and electronic stability programme. He adds that after researching about the Golf 6’s child occupant safety, it was rated at four stars, despite the fact that the safety-boosting suite offers faster sensors for the airbags, brake assist and ABS, all wrapped in a stronger cell and chassis.

Interior and comfort

The cabin shows excellent soundproofing work, better than the previous Golf. Musaala says he never really worries about wind and road noise. The seats are comfortable and offer good support in addition to the suspension’s cushion-like effect. Air conditioning is available as standard and space-wise, there is plenty of room for two adults in the back.

Quality

The entire Golf family does a lot of things by the book, and quality is one of them, starting with the build and finishing with the interior and the materials used inside the cabin. Musaala, however, says this proven reliability means a heftier acquisition price for used vehicles. The Golf 6 goes for not less than Shs50m.

According to Volkswagen.co.uk, the Golf 6 is on par with its predecessor as far as practicality is concerned. For example, All VW Golfs (except the eHybrid and the plug-in hybrid VW Golf GTE) have a height-adjustable boot floor. This lets you create two separate compartments and, when raised, irons out the step that is otherwise created when the rear seats are folded down. With the floor on its highest setting, there is barely any lip to negotiate when you are lifting heavy items in and out.  Musaala says you will only unlock the full amenities of the infotainment system by opting for higher-specification models. Therefore, you will get a CD player, a Multi Device Interface with USB and iPod connectors and a tactile display for managing the DAB digital radio, eight speakers and Bluetooth.

Efficiency

Of course, the most frugal choice is the BlueMotion model, which returns 69 mpg, a slightly better average than the one displayed by the regular 1.6-litre TDI, namely 63 mpg - the same offered by the 2.0-litre TDI mill. In the petrol department, the range-topping 1.4-litre unit is good for 45 mpg - a good value considering the engine’s power output - while the 1.2-litre TSI returns between 49 and 51 mpg.

Acquisition

The Mk 6 is a Golf in the word’s true meaning, which means there is a certain pattern that applies to it. First of all, expect a higher price, especially on diesel models, despite the fact that the new Golf Mk 7 has been around for some time now.

However, you get a lot of bang for the buck in terms of fuel economy, comfort, driving experience and practicality, to a certain degree.

Known problems, recalls

Some particulate filters on the Blue Motion diesel version get blocked, which makes maintenance a bit costly. Also, some clutches built between September 2008 and August 2009 are known to open suddenly, although a recall campaign was started. Then, a few electrical and engine problems have also been reported.

Equipment

Musaala says VW offers three trim levels for the Golf Mk 6, namely; S, Match and GT. Up the ladder lie the performance-oriented GTD, GTi and R variants. For the average Golf, standard equipment includes air con, electric front windows, CD player, remote central locking, 60/40 split-foldable rear seat and seven airbags, plus 15-inch steel wheels.

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