The VW Golf has been carefully honed and refined over the past forty years resulting in a model that leads all others in the family hatchback stakes. Buying a new Golf makes a lot of sense, buying a used one, perhaps even more so.

These days, the Golf has perhaps more good quality competition in its field than ever before. Volkswagen’s response to this has been to push the popular model into the vacancy between other volume motors such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, and premium rivals such as the Audi A3. The Golf is such a good all rounder; it remains possibly the best option when choosing a tried and tested family hatch.

There are many reasons the Golf has stood head and shoulders above the rest of the competition for so long. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Excellent driving position. Both the seats and the steering wheel have excellent degrees of adjustability ensuring the driver’s position is prime for viewing the road and surrounding area.
  2. Cabin noise insulation. Cabin design offers excellent blanketing of outside and engine noise.
  3. It’s fast. Don’t forget, the Golf is the car that invented the GTI. Today, the Golf R is one of the hottest hatchbacks around.
  4. Handling. The Golf’s excellent handling easily makes it one of the most enjoyable hatchbacks to drive.
  5. The safety kit is great across the range, and it can be upgraded easily. In Match trim, the Golf has additional rear parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking.
  6. Suspension. Beyond the basic engines, the Golf profits from a more sophisticated suspension arrangement. This results in the ride quality being much better. The 1.4 TSI petrol unit provides a superb mixture of strength, refinement and fuel efficiency.

Obviously, this is the new Golf we’re talking about here. If you’re looking for a decent used model however, the previous incarnation makes for a good bet. The 2009 to 2013 run made for an excellent all-rounder with top notch refinement and interior quality. The 2.0 TDI 140 and 1.4 TSI 122 are your best bets (diesel and petrol respectively). The Match trim level strikes the best balance between price and kit – it wasn’t available on 2009 models however.

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