Test drive Volkswagen Golf – “One more Golf Variant (Golf Variant (2007))”.
The Golf family has a new addition – in the summer the Variant, as Volkswagen station wagons are traditionally called, enters the market. The first acquaintance with this version of the VW Golf took place on the roads of Germany.
The luggage in a large volume.
WHILE WHOLESOME wheelbase with a hatchback of the same model the debutant exceeds it in length by more than 35 cm. In dimensions it is the double of sedan “Jetta”, made on the basis of “Golf”. It seems that purely marketing considerations prevented the new modification from being called the “Jetta Variant” instead of the “Golf Variant” – the name “Golf” is more popular with the public.
Whatever you call it, the appearance of all modern representatives of this breed is similar in its kindred way, and increase in sizes was mainly spent on increase of a luggage compartment. Nevertheless, the automobile looks proportionally stacked. So much so, that at a glance from aside it is not clear where that solid cargo space is hiding, which is spoken about in technical characteristics. We open back door and put my traveling suitcase and colleague’s voluminous sports bag. The luggage compartment, let’s just say, doesn’t look at all cluttered with luggage. We add a case with a camera and two jackets. There’s still more than enough room. It takes quite a lot of stuff to fill the volume of 690 l. Especially 745 l – if you load the car up to the ceiling panelling. And with the folded back sofa the luggage compartment increases to 1,495 liters. By the way, it is 80 liters more than the previous generation Golf wagon, which in Europe was often bought for commercial purposes.
Rear seats can be easily (in a few movements) folded down separately or together – this creates a flat floor with the length of 1.7 m up to the back of the driver’s seat. Front passenger seat can also be folded (option), and then the area for luggage becomes even larger. And if it is necessary to place some long object with all seats, for example skis, the central armrest of a back sofa can be folded, opening the hatch.
It is not all possibilities for luggage transportation. There is a grid, which fences off the luggage compartment – it is installed behind the rear seats or, when they are retracted, behind the front seats. There’s a recess under the trunk floor where small items can be stowed so they don’t “fly” from side to side on the journey. There are hooks for bags (in the side panels) and sockets 12 V – in case you need to connect a fridge or other equipment in the luggage compartment… In general, new “Golf Variant” can be reproached in anything, but not in absence of practicality.
You’ll need a lot of stuff to fill the Golf Variant’s 690-litre luggage compartment. And if you fold down the rear seats, its volume increases to 1,495 liters.
Power in a small space
There are five engines available for the “VARIANT”, including two diesel engines (all technical specifications are given in the table). My partner and I, having decided to play big, demanded a key from the most powerful modification – under the hood there is a 170 hp “TSI” engine. Thanks to direct fuel injection and double turbocharging, this power is achieved at 1.4 liters of displacement. For comparison, the basic 1.6-liter engine produces 68 “horses” less.
What is good about German unlimited autobahns – on them, without breaking the traffic rules, you can make sure that the maximum speed of the car is really, as in our case, 220 km/h. It was even more on the speedometer, but speedometers always flatter the car owner a little bit.
While I’m exercising in pressing the accelerator pedal to the floor, my colleague and I are discussing the impact of toughening of European ecological standards on the development of engineering. In fact, exactly the strict norms of maximum toxicity of exhaust make automakers to go to different technical tricks, so that a small volume of the engine produces worthy power and torque. In particular, our 1,4L engine reminds the usual two-liter or even a little bit bigger in all its habits. Maximum torque it gives out in the range of 1,500-4,750 rpm, up to 100 km/h the car “shoots out” for 8,5 seconds. As for “maximum speed”, once tried, I no longer accelerated the station wagon to the top bar. However, the speed over 200 km/h in not so big car is well felt. Although it is certainly a matter of taste, but I have set reasonable limits within the limits of 150-160 km/h for myself…
We also recommend our test-drives of the competing cars
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (hatchback 5-double)
Infiniti Q30 (5-door hatchback)
Volvo C30 (3-door hatchback).
This motor works well together with the company gearbox DSG with two clutches (in short, when the first of them switches on one gear, the second holds on the pickup the next one – due to it the “manual” clearness of speed changes is reached). It is possible to complain only on hardly perceptible hesitation at takeoff: some fraction of a second the transmission as if comprehends a command. Advanced gearbox (by the way, a selector of it is the same as an usual automatic device) is available at extra charge, and as a standard the “Variant” is equipped with a six-speed “manual”.
The colleagues who have driven less powerful modifications also have not been disappointed. Even with the weakest engine and five-speed automatic transmission the station wagon is quite enough to satisfy the needs of a calm driver, a stranger to racing ambitions.
For journalists could be convinced of versatile driving talents of the newcomer, we were given a chance to drive it both on the autobahn, and along the serpentine in the Harz mountains, and in the narrow winding streets of the ancient town Goslar, paved with cobblestones. We made sure: this “Golf” drives like… “Golf”. Well adjusted suspension (in front – McPherson, behind – multilever); stability, allowing to pass bends at decent speed; electromechanical power steering, changing momentum with acceleration of speed, and at the same time improving directional stability on straights; electronic system ESP and assistant of emergency braking… In general – everything like at any modern Golf. Including generosity of kitting – perhaps, even superfluous by the limits of this class. Six airbags in the initial version, an air conditioner in the following level of equipment, a panoramic sunroof and an onboard computer in “Sportline” variant – all it is standard equipment.
Let’s get acquainted with the Volkswagen Golf Variant station wagon
The station wagon Golf Variant is 307 mm longer than the hatchback. The shape of the rear pillar and the dash down the fender from the headlight repeat the signature lines of the “seventh” Golf.
Is the Golf Variant more of a Golf than a hatchback? That is the right family car. Let’s start with the blitz-test of the diesel 1.6 TDI BlueMotion (110 hp, 250 Nm) with a six-speed “manual”. Smooth draught of the diesel engine in the middle gears allows picking up the pace very briskly. The passport data says nine seconds from 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear – it seems to be true.
Golf TDI BlueMotion is equipped with lightweight semi-independent beam, while Variant is equipped with more advanced, but heavier multilever.
With the rated consumption of 3,2 l/100 km in the combined cycle everything is not so unequivocal. We drive 70-80 km/h on a highway, 40-60 in populated places, but by the end of 40 km route the onboard computer shows 4 liters per one hundred. A couple of red lights – and already 4.1 liters/100 km, although the system is activated start / stop. We have fired up on country roads – it has reached 6 liters.
Unlike the majority of diesels the clutch of Golf BlueMotion is cotton. The mechanism doesn’t allow itself any harshness; it is as if the pedal doesn’t manage to catch up with your foot on the course of switching on.
At low revs you can feel vibrations of the power unit. The sixth gear is specially stretched. For acceleration you need to switch down, as simply to move gas pedal the car responds with even greater vibration with no visible result. Dynamics is poorly combined with readiness of Golf 7 to react without hesitation to a deviation of a rudder and to take a new trajectory without any hesitation. It is a good chassis!
Some of meticulous foreign colleagues have got three and a half liters per 100 km from a hatch TDI BlueMotion with apathetic driving. Good for them. The Russian office of Volkswagen has not yet decided whether we need such pleasure.
The station wagon wins over the hatchback in practicality. And to reveal nuances in the behavior of the “shed”, it is necessary to listen well to the vestibular apparatus. After sharp realignment the car wiggles the stern more than it would be desirable. But in usual modes you will hardly feel the increase of 74 kg and increased moment of inertia around vertical axis. Choosing a station wagon, you will not lose the feeling of a car, which Golf is famous for, but you’ll win in practicality.
The seventh generation station wagon is 28 mm longer than its predecessor and 18 mm wider. The wheelbase has increased by 57 mm and the height has reduced by 23 mm.
However, assessing Variant, you involuntarily ask yourself one more uncomfortable question for Volkswagen: won’t the related Skoda Octavia Combi be the best variant? Do you remember the transformable floor so effectively working in the Czech station wagon? Volkswagen has a similar system, but not analogue.
In comparison with a hatchback its curb weight is 60-80 kilograms more (depending on modification and equipment). Stamping under the door handles is on the rear wing – for the sake of visual lightness.
Skoda has simply amazed on the test by simplicity of transformation and a number of layouts. All manipulations with the raised floor were carried out with one hand. Golf Variant also offers a choice of two levels of installation of a raised floor: you can put it as a house for differentiation of space or fold a shelf near the back seat. But there’s more fuss with it.
The trunk volume is increased to 1620 liters (the sixth generation model had 1495 liters), and in five-seat configuration to 605 liters (505 liters). The indicator of the hatchback is 1270/380 liters.
The Octavia Combi beats the Variant in terms of the convenience of the luggage compartment. According to the passport volume of cargo compartment it is also ahead (plus five liters in five-seater variant and plus 120 liters with lowered backs of the rear row). If to believe the factory data, Octavia is more loyal to longhauls: the limit is 2,92 m against 2,67 m. It is with folded front passenger seat which is not possible in all configurations of Golf. Moreover, a doorway of the fifth door of the Combi is a little bit wider than the Variant’s one. Besides, having lifted the intermediate floor, one can see at once a niche for a spare wheel cart in Golf, and in Octavia “multilevel” trunk of the Combi one more polycrack is hidden under the transformer floor, and the organizer is already hidden only under it.
The Golf has three removable plastic supports under the raised floor (on the sides of the luggage compartment and closer to the back of the rear seat). To lower the entire raised floor, you must first remove it from the trunk and remove the supports. They retract into the recess for the spare.
Germans assert that Golf has its trump card. They say, the floor-transformer in the Variant withstands more extreme weight than Skoda’s raised floor. That said, in tests of the Golf-de critical load is applied point by point, while the Czechs distribute it over the area of the raised floor. For transportation of something compact and heavy Golf is preferable. That is you can carry potatoes in a bucket in Golf, but in Skoda it is necessary to scatter them on the floor?
The drawer under the front passenger seat is small and not wide. The wheel replacement kit is hidden in the left rear fender, under the removable part of the upholstery. To remove the dock, you have to remove the subwoofer. The emergency triangle is hidden in the trunk door trim. The roll-up curtain with automatic roll-up has a fixed intermediate position in addition to the fully retracted position.
The whole range of engines available for Variant in Russia has not been defined yet. But it definitely includes a supercharged 1.4 TSI four (122 hp, 200 N-m), as on the test car. Such Variant is pleasant in handling in many respects thanks to the same “mechanics”. It is moderately dynamic and thrifty. On country roads with usual driving the average consumption according to the board computer is kept in the area of seven liters per 100 km.
Lighting, hooks for bags (two hinged and two stationary), 12 V socket (depending on configuration), luggage curtain and cross partition hiding in the basement – everything like in Skoda. And just like there, the backrests of the rear seats are folded in one touch using the handles in the trunk.
The more powerful version 1.4 TSI (140 hp and 250 Nm) with the seven-speed DSG “robot” is more eager to accelerate, but subjectively it is duller. Fair manual gearbox with easy and accurate shifting is too good! But the more expensive car allows you to play with the mechatronic chassis. Electronically controlled shock absorbers are capable to change a course of the automobile from phlegmatic, with soft step of house slippers, appropriate on a frequent paving stone, up to sensitive and rigid. But I would not tell that it changes steerability of Golf somehow fundamentally.
The Golf Variant enters the European market as early as August, but it won’t reach Russia until the first quarter of 2014.
Despite the slightly less precise handling, in my opinion, the station wagon is the most correct Golf. As the quintessential family car. For example, with one of Volkswagen’s new diesels (though it’s not yet clear whether it will be the 1.6 TDI or the 2.0 TDI in Russia). For good cargo capacity it can be quite forgiven for extra fat. But it will not be able to eclipse the Octavia Combi.
|Model||Volkswagen Golf Variant 1.4 TSI BMT 90 kW||Volkswagen Golf Variant 1.4 TSI BMT 103 kW DSG||Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion|
|Number of doors/seats||5/5||5/5||3/5|
|Length of track, front/rear, mm||1549/1520||1549/1520||1549/1520|
|Curb weight*, kg||1329||1368||1280|
|Gross weight, kg||1860||1900||1740|
|Cargo area, l||605||605||380|
|Type||petrol with direct injection and turbocharging||petrol with direct injection and turbocharging||turbodiesel|
|Location||front, transversely||front, transversely||front, transversely|
|Number and arrangement of cylinders||4, in line||4, in line||4, in line|
|Number of valves||16||16||16|
|Working volume, cm³||1395||1395||1598|
|Max. power, hp/rpm||122/5000||140/4500-6000||110/3200-4000|
|Max. torque, Nm/rpm||200/1500-4000||250/1500-3500||250/1500-3000|
|Gearbox||six speed manual||robotized seven-speed||six speed manual|
|Front suspension||independent, spring-mounted, McPherson||independent, spring-mounted, McPherson||independent, spring-mounted, McPherson|
|Rear suspension||independent, spring, multilever||independent, spring, multilever||half-independent, spring|
|Front brakes||ventilated discs||ventilated discs||ventilated discs|
|Tires||225/45 R17||225/45 R17||s.f.|
|Ground clearance, mm||s.f.||s.f.||s.f.|
|Top speed, km/h||204||213||200|
|Acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h**, s||9,7||8,9||10,5|
|Fuel consumption, l/100 km|
|– city cycle||s.f.||s.f.||s.f.|
|– country cycle||s.f.||s.f.||s.f.|
|– combined cycle||5,3||5,0||3,2|
|Fuel tank capacity, l||50||50||50|
|* Including driver’s weight 75 kg.|
|** At curb weight plus 200 kg.|
The Golf Variant has the same MQB platform as the hatchback. The same for models with engines up to 122 hp, there is semi-dependent beam in the back, and with 122 hp and above – the multilever suspension. There is a McPherson in front. For the first time in Golf wagons, electronic imitation of interwheel differential locking XDS+ is included in basic equipment. It is integrated into the system of directional stability, and not only helps to realize traction better on slippery cover, but also contributes to passing turns, slightly braking on the curve inside wheels.
High-strength steels and details of variable thickness have allowed getting gain in weight up to 105 kg on Golf in station wagon body during change of generation. This was one of the factors that reduced the average fuel consumption of the model by 15%.
The Golf TDI BlueMotion models differ from the conventional hatchbacks by a number of aerodynamic improvements: a modified rear spoiler, a nearly covered radiator grille and a partly blocked air intake in the front bumper, an optimized cooling system air channel, aerodynamic underbody shields and a 15mm lowered suspension. All this allowed to get a 0.27 airflow coefficient. Oil with low viscosity in gearbox and tires with extra-low rolling resistance complete the picture of eco-design. The result is a theoretical range of 1562 km.
The 1.6 TDI direct injection engine belongs to the new EA288 series. Its peak torque is already reached at 1,500 rpm, so the engine is designed for long running at low crankshaft speeds. To further improve fuel economy, it features low-tension piston rings, low-friction roller bearings on the camshaft, thermal management system (separate cooling circuits on the cylinder block and head, coolant pump that shuts off), exhaust gas recirculation, cylinder pressure sensors, two-stage oil pump, liquid intercooler built into the intake manifold.
Behind the scenes
Neither the station wagon itself, nor the 30-million-dollar Golf looming in the background as a wedding general could, of course, completely distract us from exploring Amsterdam and its surroundings. Here in a small space amazingly combines carefully preserved antiquity with modern buildings, here were surprisingly popular Amperes, well, and about the present dominance of cyclists can not be said. I can only add that the bicycle lane, which was marked and equipped, was crossing a small automobile road. Canals in the city center are not equipped with parapets and motorists easily park their cars near the edge of the embankment. Well, at the end of the trip my partner and I dropped by the circuit Zandford, where they were training GT3 class cars.
Holland gave us a variety of driving conditions. During the test, we tested the Lane Assist (optional). It monitors the lane markings and corrects the car by engaging the steering wheel. The electronics really fulfils smooth bends of the highway – the steering wheel comes to life. Add active cruise control – and there is almost nothing to do. One should not yawn. A little more abrupt turn – and automatics gives up, not keeping up with a bend. It’s frightful, because it makes you sleepy in such mode. It’s good, that the car counts on the indefatigable attention of the driver: a warning signal beeps in a few seconds after the palms of your hands will rise above the steering wheel rim even a little.