Volkswagen Golf 1.5 eTSI Life 5dr DSG

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 5 door estate
  • 120 g/km CO2
  • 120 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 10.3 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 115 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

Volkswagen's current emphasis on SUVs hasn't stopped the brand from also bringing us an improved version of this eight generation Golf Estate. It's smarter, more sophisticated and offers plenty of electrified engine tech. Plus it can still offer a far larger load area than any comparably priced compact crossover. If you're not particularly enamoured with SUVs and want a family model of this size, you might really like it.

Background

Given that estates are designed to haul a hefty amount of gear around, the concept of a compact estate at first seems one destined to crash and burn. And so it has proved. No matter which hugely successful product line you choose - Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra or Renault Megane - its estate variant has added but a nominal amount to the overall sales figures. Accept that this is the way it is - and is destined to stay - and it's easier to get to grips with this latest Golf Estate. Sold alongside the Golf five door hatch, the Golf Estate offers another alternative for those wanting a family Volkswagen of this size but not quite prepared to step up to a Tiguan compact SUV or a Touran MPV. And the car itself? Well, after eight model generations, it would perhaps be a little surprising if Volkswagen didn't have the hang of building Golfs by now.

Driving Experience

In the compact station wagon segment, there's nothing quite like the solid, reasuring feel of a Golf Estate - though of course its drivetrain engineering is almost identical to what you'd find in the two other VW Group products in this sector, estate versions of the SEAT Leon and the Skoda Octavia. Not much of that has changed with this update, particularly at the affordable end of the range, which as before offers 115PS and 150PS version of three engine formats: conventional 1.5-litre petrol, 1.5-litre petrol eTSI mild hybrid and 2.0 TDI diesel (the latter lightly updated). Only the 115PS unelectrified petrol and diesel units can be had with manual transmission. Otherwise, you'll be looking at the usual 7-speed DSG automatic. An even faster revised version of the top Golf R Estate is planned to slot in above these models. The 2.0 TSI turbo unit powering this uber-fast flagship variant is also used in a lesser 204PS state of tune with 4MOTION 4WD in the crossover-themed Golf Alltrack estate. Otherwise, things are much as before. As usual, across the range there's the option of Volkswagen's 'DCC' 'Dynamic Chassis Control' adaptive damping system which works with a 'Driver Profile' driving modes system offering 'Eco', 'Comfort', 'Sport' and 'Individual' settings. And of course there's plenty of camera-driven tech, including an optional 'Travel Assist' system which combines Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane assist to allow 'hands-free' driving at speeds of 130mph. Which sounds vaguely alarming but which Volkswagen assures us is a significant safety aid.

Design and Build

The changes to this facelifted eighth generation Golf estate are extremely subtle. There are fresh illuminating signatures in the new-look angular LED headlamps and revised bumpers front and rear, plus an illuminated VW badge on the nose, new sills beneath the doors and smarter LED tail lamps. Otherwise, it's as you were. With this MK8 design, Volkswagen tried to make the exterior design of this station wagon variant a little more clear-cut and dynamic. The front end is obviously the same as that of the hatch but further back, the Estate features a roof section that becomes flatter towards the rear as well as a coupe-type, angled rear window. The headlights and tail light clusters feature LED technology. This eighth generation design is 4,633mm long and boasts a wheelbase of 2,686mm. Volkswagen has used virtually all of that wheelbase length to benefit cabin space - especially in the rear where couple of adults will fit reasonably well on the back seat. The 611-litre boot remains one of the largest in the class. With the seats folded and the car loaded up to the roof liner, the volume increases to 1,642-litres. The main mid-life changes to this eighth generation model though, lie inside. The original design's widely-criticised infotainment system has been thoroughly updated to what VW calls' MIB4' status, which means it gets quicker processing times, smarter menus and slicker graphics. The centre screen's updated too, 10.4-inches in size as standard, with a bigger 12.9-litre monitor being optional. Talking of screens, there are a few minor updates to the 10.2-inch 'Digital Cockpit Pro' instrument display, which can be customised to model via different layouts. And there's a better head-up display available. The steering wheel's different too, now restored with proper buttons, instead of the pre-facelift model's fiddly touch-sensitive ones. The awful touch slider below the infotainment screen has been retained, but it's now more responsive and (at last) is back-lit for easier night use. The voice control set-up's better too, thanks to ChatGPT tech, which can be used to control navigation, 'phone and climate functions. The advantage here is that if Volkswagen's own voice activation set-up doesn't know the answer to a question you might be asking the car, it'll be relayed to the ChatGPT AI system - though the same VW voice will still give you the answer.

Market and Model

The Golf Estate requires a £1,365 premium over the hatch body style, which from the launch of this updated model meant a starting price of £28,400. In reality though, most Golf Estates will continue to be sold in the £30,000-£35,000 bracket. The core trim levels are 'Life', 'Match', 'Style' and' R-Line'. Even 'Life' spec offers LED headlights, navigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, all-round parking sensors and 16-inch wheels, plus a 'Digital Cockpit Pro' instrument screen and a 12.9-inch infotainment system. 'Match'-spec adds 17-inch wheels, a rear view camera, High Beam Assist and rear privacy glass. And with the 'Style' versions, you get body-coloured bumpers, 'intelligent' 'LED Plus' headlamps, exterior ambient lighting, 'sports comfort' front seats, 'ArtVelours' microfleece upholstery and multi-colour cabin lighting. 'R-Line'-spec has a sportier look, 17-inch 'Coventry' alloy wheels and the optoion of a contrast-coloured roof. Manoeuvring can be simplified by the latest assist systems including the enhanced 'Park Assist Plus' and 'Park Assist Pro' systems, which are available for the first time for the Golf and enable you to stand outside the car and part it with your smartphone. The 360-degree Area View is another new and useful feature. Five fresh alloy wheel designs and four new metallic paint finishes have also been added to this updated range. And as before, there's quite a portfolio of optional semi-autonomous driving tech, including a 'Travel Assist' feature that allows the car to accelerate, steer and brake on motorways at speeds of up to 130mph.

Cost of Ownership

Let's get to the WLTP-rated efficiency stats. The base 1.5 TSI 115PS petrol unit manages up to 52.3mpg on the combined cycle and up to 123g/km of CO2. The mild hybrid 48-volt electrical system boosts the returns only very slightly - to 53.4mpg and 120g/km in 1.5 eTSI 115PS guise or 53.0mpg and 121g/km in 1.5 eTSI 150PS form. And warranties? Well the standard package is still three years and 60,000 miles. We can't see why Volkswagen couldn't extend that mileage limit to 100,000 miles, since that what you get on its mechanically very similar Caddy model. Doing that though, wouldn't give Volkswagen dealers so much of an opportunity to sell extended warranty packages. There's one for four years and 75,000 miles or, if you plan to see a bit more of the world in your Golf Estate, there's a five year / 90,000 mile package. As for servicing, well as usual with Volkswagen models, there's a choice of either 'Fixed' or 'Flexible' maintenance packages. You'll choose the 'Fixed' approach if you cover less than 10,000 miles a year and with this, the car will typically be looked at every twelve months. If your daily commute is more than 25 miles and your Golf Estate will regularly be driven on longer distance journeys, you'll be able to work with a 'Flexible' regime that in the first two years of ownership could see you travelling up to 20,000 miles or waiting up to 24 months before a garage visit. A single inspection service every year or 20,000 miles will be required thereafter, whichever comes sooner.

Summary

The Golf Estate has never been one of the brighter stars in the Volkswagen firmament. It was always too small, too overshadowed by the hatch or too dowdy to really appeal. While this latest version of the MK8 model isn't about to outshine the hatchback version, it at least addresses these other two issues reasonably well. The styling updates are well judged and the cabin tech is now far more user-friendly than before. The main reasons you'll want a Golf station wagon though, remain rooted in quality and cabin space. Both remain class-leading - which is just as well given the prices being asked. Small estates will never be big sellers but, as Volkswagen has demonstrated, if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

  • 12.9" infotainment display
  • Comfort telephony + wireless charging, without wireless aerial connection
  • DAB radio
  • Diversity antenna for FM reception
  • Body colour door handles
  • Body colour rear roof spoiler
  • Chrome plated radiator grille inserts and light switch surrounds
  • Rear exhaust tailpipe
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Standard bumpers
  • 12V socket in front centre console
  • 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • 2 USB C ports in front, 2 USB charging sockets on the centre console in the rear charging capacity upto 45W
  • Front centre armrest with storage compartment
  • Front cupholders x 2
  • Glovebox
  • Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Plastic gear knob
  • Rear cupholder and loadthough
  • Removable luggage compartment cover
  • Standard pedal cluster
  • Storm black instrument panel
  • Storm grey roof lining
  • 3 point height adj front seatbelts + pretensioners
  • 3 rear three point seatbelts
  • Child locks on rear doors
  • Driver and front passenger airbag with front passenger airbag deactivation
  • Drivers and front passengers safety optimised head restraints
  • Extended pedestrian protection measures
  • Front centre airbag
  • Front side airbags with curtain airbags
  • Two tone horn
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Alarm with interior protection
  • Anti theft wheel bolts
  • Electronic engine immobiliser
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 120
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 130
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 120
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1498
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 74.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 85.9
  • Engine Code: DXDE
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 7 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 5.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 5.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - TEH: 5.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - TEL: 5.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - TEH: 4.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - TEL: 4.5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - TEH: 7.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - TEL: 6.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - TEH: 5.5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - TEL: 5
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 54.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - TEH: 47.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - TEL: 52.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High - TEH: 57.6
  • WLTP - MPG - High - TEL: 62.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - TEH: 38.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - TEL: 40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - TEH: 51.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - TEL: 56.5
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.5
  • Badge Power: 115
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: eTSI
  • Coin Series: Life
  • Generation Mark: 8
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 17E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Service Interval Mileage: 9300
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 10.3
  • Engine Power - BHP: 115
  • Engine Power - KW: 85
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 162
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 22.4
  • Engine Torque - NM: 220
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1500
  • Top Speed: 126
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 205/55 R16
  • Tyre Size Rear: 205/55 R16
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: NORFOLK
  • Wheel Type: 16" ALLOY
  • Height (including roof rails): 1487
  • Length: 4631
  • Wheelbase: 2669
  • Width: 1789
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 45
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1940
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 611
  • Max. Loading Weight: 612
  • Max. Roof Load: 75
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1300
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 700
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1328
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.3