I’ve only come across true perfection once in my life, thanks to three men, one woman and a band from Hollywoodland - Edward Norton, David Fincher, Chuck Palahniuk, Helena Bonham Carter and the Pixies. Those of you as besotted with the film as I am will know that I’m referring to a movie called Fight Club.
Fight Club is my favourite movie of all time for many reasons, but the last 30 seconds of that film can only be described as absolute perfection. In half a minute, everyone involved in this epic tale show you everything you need to know about life. It’s a sensational scene that proves what can be done if you have a bunch of brilliant people all working towards and believing in the same
You see, you can’t do something properly unless you believe in it and believe it can be done. That’s why I’d like to meet the team responsible for the new Volkswagen Golf 7, because they must be an incredible group of people.
I don’t envy the Golf 7 team, as the Golf 6 had set the bar pretty high. At the end of its life cycle, the Golf 6 was still widely regarded as the leader of the pack, the default car for anyone who wanted four wheels and enough space for the wife and two kids. The Golf could do everything (except maybe complete a tough off-road course), and do it well.
The Golf 7 has a lot to live up to and it’s facing stiffer competition than ever. The new Auris looks spectacular, not to mention the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. A couple of weeks ago I even went as far as stating that the A-Class might be the Golf’s only realistic competitor for next year’s Car of the Year crown.
Present me would like to retract that statement on behalf of past me. After living with the new Golf for a week, I’m 100% sure that it’s still the best car in its segment. More importantly, it’s still all the car you could possibly need if you have a wife and two kids.
It seems strange to write that, because from the outside the new Golf doesn’t have any major defining characteristics that would motivate you to choose it over its competitors. If I’m honest, it’s a bit dull to look at.
To really understand what the Golf is about, you need to live with it. Not going in search of its adhesion limits or recording 0-100km/h figures - I mean really live with it. That’s why I did my best to expose it to mundane situations average motorists are faced with every day. At the end of the week I realised that there were no circumstances under which the Golf didn’t exceed expectation.It’s truly brilliant at everything you need it to do.
I was lucky enough to get the 1.4 TSI with 90kW and 200Nm of torque on test. It does a marvellous job of powering the Golf’s mundane body around. In fact, it feels much faster than the figures would have you believe. The optional DSG gearbox was fitted to our test car and I can tell you that it’s definitely worth the extra cash.
I was also impressed at how frugal the engine was with zero hypermiling effort from my side. Volkswagen claims an impressive 5.0 litres/100km and I bet you could get very close to that with a bit of effort and a dainty right foot. A Co2 rating of 116g/km means you won’t have to pay the eco-taxman to own a Golf 7.
In terms of overall quality and comfort, the Golf currently has no equal. The materials used on the cabin’s exposed surfaces are superb and Volkswagen must have been feeling particularly generous when it decided what to fit as standard. The list is quite extensive, so I’ll just say that there’s no need to resort to the options list. A standard Golf has all the toys you could ever need.
The cabin is also eerily quiet for a car in this segment, which goes rather nicely with how smoothly it rides. My commute to the office includes every possible road hazard you can imagine (as is the case with everyone else’s) and the Golf took it all within its stride.
All of the above adds up to a car that doesn’t look like much, but betters its competitors on every front. The Golf, in my opinion, is one of the best, if not the best car on currently one sale in South Africa.
Is it perfect? It’s very close to it, but I’m going to keep my perfection comment in reserve for two reasons: the side mirrors are a bit too small (lame, I know, but it’s the only criticism I could come up with) and I wish it had a bit more flair.
The Golf 7 can proudly climb back on its throne and get comfortable. It’s going to take something seriously special to overthrow it.