VWâ€™s new 1.5-litre four-cylinder goes into the Golf. Is it a good fit?
So letâ€™s talk about engines. Remember when everyone talked about diesels, sometimes with threats about what would happen to you and the polar bears if you didnâ€™t buy one. Now they donâ€™t want to talk about them. So now weâ€™re talking about petrol engines, specifically this new 1.5-litre unit from VW, who apparently still make some diesels, and very clean the new ones are too.
This new turbocharged four-cylinder unit can be had with either 128bhp or 148bhp, and is basically the new version of the old 1.4-litre engine. Even though it has the same power output as the 1.4-litre, the 148bhp version is a fraction slower to 62mph, but overall it feels the more powerful as thereâ€™s really good power and torque across a wide range.
Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Evo 150 R Line 5dr
Price: FromÂ Â£25,095
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo, petrol
Torque: 184lb ft
Top speed: 134mph
CO2, tax band: 116g/km, 22%
The 128bhp version does feel a touch slower, particularly if youâ€™re fully loaded, but youâ€™d be hard pushed to call it underpowered. And since it uses less fuel and costs less, itâ€™s probably the one weâ€™d recommend for most buyers. Whichever version, itâ€™s a quiet and smooth engine, particularly when cruising, and we were impressed to record a real-world 52mpg even in the 148bhp version.
The Golf has the very latest visual tweaks which sharpen it up a touch, and thereâ€™s that great Golf feeling of confidence and comfort you get from barreling down any sort of road. It handles and rides really well, with great everything, from tyre grip to steering weight.
The driver has plenty of adjustment to get comfy, and will appreciate the new 9.2in touchscreen infotainment that fills up the dashboard. It looks trick but actually you need to take your eyes off the important stuff too much to find where you need your finger to go. Weâ€™d try to find the money for the Active Info Display, since that gives you a configurable digital screen ahead of the driver and seems worth the Â£495 extra.
Otherwise, itâ€™s a Golf, so itâ€™s decently spacious for people and their luggage, and it all just works in a tremendously practical way. It feels like a really quality car, one that you can have confidence in day in, year out. Which is why we wouldnâ€™t balk at the prices which at first glance seem slightly higher than some.
And itâ€™s worth bearing in mind that this better engine is actually about the same price as the 1.4-litre unit, yet it emits less and uses less fuel. Thatâ€™s with the 128bhp version, and if you move up to the 148bhp engine then youâ€™re getting a better engine that is definitely cheaper than the 148bhp 1.4-litre unit.
That presents a hugely sensible proposition to a wide range of drivers, and this new 1.5-litre variant makes a really good addition to the Golf range. With prices starting at Â£20,365 for the 128bhp or Â£23,455 for the 148bhp model thereâ€™s a lot to like. But then, we really like the 1.0-litre engine, and that costs less than Â£19,000. Weâ€™re being spoilt for Golfs.