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VW Golf SE 1.4 TSI Estate (2010) review

Published:06 April 2010

VW Golf Estate (2010): the CAR Magazine road test review
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
Volkswagen hasn’t bothered to wreak the same transformation with the new Golf Estate as it did with the Golf hatchback, in the progression from Mk5 to Mk6. There are new engines, a new facia and a new nose, but the chassis and structure are pretty much left alone. So, should we feel cheated, or is a revamped old-shaped Golf estate satisfying enough?

Sounds like VW’s been a bit lazy with the new Golf Estate. True?

Well, you could say that, but then the estate is hardly a volume seller. In fact, the estate was never really a Golf at all: check out the old one’s grille, and the doors (which continue unchanged). They’re from the Jetta. So this is an estate version of the booted Golf, really.

Confused? You should be. Especially when you remember this is the firm that once brought us the Bora Estate...

Could they afford to leave the Golf Estate alone?

The Mk5 Golf wasn’t exactly a bad car now, was it? In fact, the majority of the changes made to the Mk6 Golf hatch were done to make it cheaper to build. VW builds fewer estates, so the changes didn’t need to be as extensive, but the old car was hardly a looker and its interior was always a bit of a letdown after the plush Mk4’s.

So in comes the Mk6 dash (but not its new doortrims), plus a Mk6 nose and more extensive body colour treatment. No, it’s still no looker, but at least the Golf Estate is a bit classier now, inside and out. It's the automotive equivalent of a bit of posh with a horsey face and a fat rump.

How does the new 2010 VW Golf Estate drive?

Very nicely indeed, but if you crave excitement, get back to your GTI. The TSI estate gets about its work with minimal fuss and fantastic ease. The light-pressure-turbo 1.4 has just enough oomph to get you about smartly and, while it’s a bit more audible at low revs here than it is in the hatch, it’s still an agreeably refined companion.

Decently economical too: I managed bang-on 40mpg during a week book-ended by motorway cruising fully loaded (very fully loaded) with days in-between days spent nipping from town to town.

VW Golf Estate: the road testing bit

The new Golf wagon's steering is a bit numb, but tackle corners with spirit and you’ll smile rather than snarl because the Golf Estate is keen to change direction and feels good while it does it.

The six-speed gearbox is light and smooth in action, the brakes strong if a bit grabby at low speeds and the ride is comfortable enough, though it’s denied the extra layer of velvet the hatchback lays down, and there’s a bit more road noise too.

Is the Golf wagon any good inside?

That new dashboard is a lot prettier than the old one, and it marries well with the old-style doortrims. We shouldn’t be too surprised about that latter fact, because the Mk6 Golf hatch is itself merely a very thorough facelift.

There’s plenty of space front and rear and noise levels, while no lower than before, are still lower than most of the competition. The boot’s big and boxy too, so your money buys an extremely practical family car without the sheer dimensional extravagance of, say, a Mondeo or Passat estate. My wife was happy parking this in a multi-storey; those bigger cars discomfort her.

Verdict

We could pillory the new Golf estate for being a bit of a con but, fact is, it’s a really likeable car and extremely good at what it does.

Yep, a Ford Focus Estate is more fun to steer, and a Skoda Octavia estate is even bigger and more practical inside, but the Golf Estate is the class act of the group, equally at home ferrying your brood to the local comprehensive or fetching chattels back to the country pile.

Specs

Price when new: £18,980
On sale in the UK:
Engine: 1390cc 16v 4cyl turbo, 120bhp @ 5000rpm, 148lb ft @ 1500-4000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 9.9sec 0-62mph, 125mph, 44.8mpg, 146g/km
Weight / material: 1394kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4534/1781/1504

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Photo Gallery

  • The different bit is at the back: there's a handy sized boot back there
  • The new Mk VW Golf Estate is a bit of a hybrid. Not battery powered, but a mix of new Golf Mk6 and old Mk5
  • The interior of the new VW Golf Estate (Mk6)  – new dashboard included
  • Smarter than a Focus wagon, smaller than an Octavia Estate...
  • The boot of the new VW Golf Estate (Mk6). In various forms of undress
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