It’s probably accurate to describe the Golf as the most important car within Volkswagen’s sizable fleet – even above the iconic Beetle. The famous David Bailey, Paula Hamilton advert says it best, “Few things in life are as reliable as a Volkswagen”. That was certainly true of the car it advertised, the Golf Mark II. Things had taken a step back and then stalled with the subsequent two editions, the Marks III and IV. The Golf and Volkswagen themselves were dining out on past reputations.
For those who’ve never driven a Volkswagen Golf, and whose perception is a rock-solid piece of first-class German engineering and design, then the Mark V falls squarely into that category. It looks great, it feels good, and it drives brilliantly.
From the first moment you come into contact with the Golf, the build quality is immediately apparent. The doors are weighty and close with a satisfying ‘thunk’, all the controls function with a high level of precision. The Golf’s oozes sophistication and amongst other hatchbacks, it still remains the benchmark. The reasons for its enduring popularity are obvious. Looks wise, a safe option has been continued from the earlier designs, but what the Golf lacks in visual impact, it more than makes up for in quality.
The interior is conservative in design, but uses high quality materials with a user friendly interface. The construction is clearly high class, and storage room is ample.
A great range of engines were available for the Mark V, from the economical – but noisy – TDI diesels to advanced turbocharged TSI petrols.
The car certainly marked a return to form after the lacklustre Mark IV, but it wasn’t quite the beacon of reliability that buyers perception expected it to be.