Volkswagen’s new Golf has been presented with another top UK award – this time from the best-selling motoring weekly, Auto Express, during its annual New Car Honours. The latest version of Europe’s most popular car charged ahead in the hotly contested Compact Family Car category to beat the previous winner, the Ford Focus, as well as the new Vauxhall Astra.
The award joins the accolade of ‘Best Hatch’ from the BBC Top Gear Awards 2004, as presented by Jeremy Clarkson at an exclusive event in London earlier this year. And it doesn’t stop there: the fifth generation of Volkswagen’s iconic hatchback forged ahead of tough competition in January to win outright the most important award in the UK motor industry: the prestigious What Car? Car of the Year title.
Oliver Marriage, road test editor at Auto Express, summed up the reasons for the Golf’s success: ‘With the Mk V, Volkswagen has taken all the strengths of the old car and wrapped them up in an even more desirable package. The new car isn’t just a great ownership prospect, but good to drive and practical too.’
The latest Golf is a completely new vehicle compared with its predecessor, with a new chassis, new engines and exciting new technology such as FSI (direct injection petrol) engines and DSG (direct shift gearbox). The expert Auto Express judging panel was particularly impressed with the new generation’s dynamic behaviour: ‘The new car’s chassis is superb – it absorbs bumps well at speeds, yet corners with real confidence. There’s a compliance and maturity to this car not seen elsewhere in the class. Coupled with direct steering, it allows you to have fun but cruise in comfort.’
The magazine also praised the Golf’s spacious interior, commenting that ‘build quality is as good as ever and the cabin is still classically appointed, with a superbly laid out centre console’.
Since its launch on 30 January, the new Golf has surpassed sales expectations in the UK, and is on course for one of its best years of sales to date – even without the highly anticipated GTI model, which is set to go on sale in January next year. The Golf’s popularity has grown steadily since the first generation hit the showrooms in 1975, when 19,069 examples were sold. Ten years later, the figure was 31,145, which increased to 44,111 in 1995 and 72,362 in 2002. Even in 2003 – the previous generation’s final year on sale – the Golf enjoyed its second best year so far.Published 30 July 2004