- We like...Economy, smoothness, class
- We don't...'Nagging' gearchange indicator
For a car that makes such a statement, the latest Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion looks pretty ‘quiet’. There are just a couple of discreet ‘Bluemotion’ badges front and rear plus a few subtle body add-ons to mark it out from other mid-range diesel Golfs. So if you were hoping for a car that shouts its 'green-ness loud and proud, this Golf probably isn't for you.
But a car that promises to cover up to 74mpg overall and to return 60 miles per gallon even in city driving has got to make you sit up and take notice. Add in its emissions output of just 99g/km of CO2 and agree you must that this is an amazing machine. And that’s even before mentioning that such a low figure puts this car in the frame for ‘free’ road tax. You apply for the disc as usual, but there’s no fee to pay. It’s a full 20g/km lower than the previous (Mk5) Golf Bluemotion and promises a full 12mpg more,too.
Just two years ago, Volkswagen announced a version of its Polo (the Golf’s little brother) that posted near-identical figures to this latest car. At the time, that was a revelation. Now that the Golf has matched such a performance shows how busy VW’s technical team have been of late.
And all this is achieved using a regular, four-cylinder, 1.6-litre diesel engine. It’s ‘mapped’ to run lean and the top three gears of its five-speed manual gearbox (there’s no auto option) are high to keep engine revs low at speed. It also turns it off whenever you’re stopped in traffic and the gears are put to neutral. Aside from that, it has body add-ons and easy-rolling tyres to help it move using less effort.
But none of this is any good if the result is a gutless car that’s a chore to drive. This Bluemotion, though, feels lively. It’s no firecracker but it will row along speedily in town and keep pace quietly and easily at the motorway maximum. The instruments include a little panel that ‘nags’ you to change up a gear but it’s over-keen: obey it strictly and it’ll ‘grumble’ along using too-few revs. Otherwise, this new engine is quiet and smooth – there’s a little clatter as it picks up but it is refined.
And, engine aside, it’s very much standard Golf: nicely weighted and slick main controls and notably supple riding. There’s not the softness that you’ll find, say, in some Renaults and Citroens, but it soothes over scarred surfaces beautifully.
The Bluemotion is its own model in the line-up but is closest to ‘S’ trim so you get a fairly plain but high-quality cabin. Inserts across the dash and doors relieve a sea of black, as does chrome finishing on the air vents and switches. The plastics, meanwhile, are nicely squishy on the upper dash and the panels fit together tightly. No rival of its size and price looks or feels as classy.
Should you buy one? If you want a greener car, that'll be a big, fat, yes. Being hard-headed, though, you'll pay a ‘modest, premium for this car over the ‘regular’ turbodiesel Golf. Tot up the savings the Bluemotion promises in fuel bills and road tax and you’ll have years to wait until you recoup the extra it costs. Balanced against this is the Bluemotion’s future as a very popular used buy – which promises that yours will command a good price whenever you need to sell it. We like it – a lot.
To see our exclusive road-test verdicts on other Volkswagen Golfs, click here
To view and buy thousands of new and second-hand Volkswagen Golfs on motors.co.uk, click here
* Note that the rating given below is using the new 1-50 insurance groupings
- Engines1.6 diesel
- 0-60 mph11.3secs
- Insurance groups18E*
Motors.co.uk value verdict: