VW'S NEW GOLF IS A CLASS ACT
THE seventh generation Volkswagen Golf might just be at its best when fitted with the 140ps petrol engine with ACT cylinder cut technology.
You get the best of both worlds here; sprightly performance and handling with diesel-like economy and emissions.
The ACT bit of the name stands for VW's Active Cylinder Technology, which deactivates two of the cylinders to save fuel when the engine isn't under load. Cabin refinement has improved enormously, with very little road noise filtering back into the cabin. Tyre noise and engine sounds have also been muted to the sort of level you'd have expected from a Phaeton limousine not so long ago.
The steering is accurate if not exactly full of life. Neverthless, the front end of this car is brilliant and you'll really get something out of driving it in a spirited fashion.
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This Golf generation boasts massively improved safety features and more interior equipment. It's miles bigger inside too. The driving position is almost unfeasibly adjustable and unlike many family hatches, you can get properly hunkered down in the car if required. The sheer amount of steering wheel rake and reach means that both shorter and taller drivers will have little difficulty achieving a perfect seating position. The boot measures a hefty 380-litres, is well shaped and features a low loading height.
This 140ps ACT engine is only offered in GT trim, so you do get quite a lot of standard kit. GT-specific bits include 17-inch alloys, 10mm lowered sports suspension, cherry red tail light clusters and splashes of chrome around the front end.
Inside, there's sports seats, gloss black trim inserts, front and rear parking sensors and a 5.8-inch colour touch screen European sat nav system.
That's on top of seven airbags, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), semi-automatic air conditioning and ADC Automatic Distance Control.
It's bigger and far better finished than its predecessor and in GT trim it offers plenty of goodies. Tick a few boxes on the options list and you'll have to be comfortable with paying £25,000 for a 1.4-litre Volkswagen Golf. That takes a little adjusting to. A drive in the car will make it that much easier.