The Volkswagen Golf Mk7 TSI is a hot hatch with good amount of torque, fun as a daily run-about and a rather good fuel efficient car but then again, not all cars are perfect. For example, you won’t be able to place your full 12-clubs golf set in the boot without folding down the 60:40 split rear seats or without removing your favorite driver. So golfers be warned. By the way, this seventh generation Volkswagen Golf has recently been crowned Car of the Year for 2013.
The first ever Volkswagen Golf to roll out from Volkswagen’s production line in Wolfsburg, Germany was in 1974, from the legendary Mk1, MkII to the current Mk7. There has been a total of staggering 29 million Golfs built by 2012. The Golf has won the World Car of The Year in 2009 with the Golf MK6, in 2013 with the Golf Mk7 and many other awards throughout its lifetime. Here in Malaysia, there has been a boom in demand, ever since the Golf Mk5 GTI was first introduced. The Golf Mk7 debut launch was at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. Five month after its launch, it reached our shores in March 2013 and finally it’s in our hands.
Volkswagen’s entry level Golf MK7 is the seventh generation of the world’s best selling hatch, but you might be mistaken it with the previous Mk6 model as the exterior changes are rather subtle, but for VAG fans (Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaf) or Golf fans, you definitely can tell the subtle changes. The Golf Mk7 uses the same light-weight MQB platform as the third-generation Audi A3, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia, part of Volkswagen Group company’s strategy for shared modular construction for a majority of it’s front wheel drive automobiles.
|Name||Volkswagen Golf TSI|
|Engine||1390 CC 140ps|
The Golf MK7 is nearly 100kg lighter than the old Mk6, but its dimensions are actually wider and longer, which means more room in the boot and backseat. It also has a lower stance than its predecessor, it looks and feels that little bit sportier too. Design wise, the entire shape of the car is almost the same as the older MK6 just some sharper curves on the headlights and rear lamps and a stronger horizontal lines along and across.
According to Volkswagen, much of the Golf’s success “lies in its continuity”. People liked what they saw in the past, and they like this Golf now as well. So if you were to ‘de-badge’ the MK7 Golf TSI, your busybody neighbor would know it’s the new Golf you’re driving.
The Golf Mk7 TSI rim has been changed to a 5-spoke design called “Dover” 16-inch wheels. It would be a lot nicer if they had chosen the Detroit design rims from the previous MK6 Golf Gti.
There are a few things to like and dislike about the minimalist Golf Mk7 TSI interior. Let’s talk about the positive things first. Driving position is rather good, a good view of the front and surroundings. The A pillar now has a small little window to see through, which makes visibility much better.
Steering design is very tidy and neat, all within the reach of your fingers. The paddle shift feel and position, is just right. The paddle shift feels solid, and not some plastic click paddle shift. In cabin storage space for driver and front passenger seat are located underneath the seats, to store personal items. Middle storage area, underneath the arm rest – a decent average size.
The parking display now shows on the entertainment center display, this gives you extra help by showing exactly how close any obstacles are. It also shows the position of your steering angle. Good for newbie drivers and drivers with the lack of parking abilities.
The entertainment system has a 5.8 inch display which includes ala iPhone-style swipe feature and a system that senses your fingers’ proximity and allows it to move seamlessly between the multi function pages. The entertainment system now comes with Bluetooth connectivity as standard and A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) to play music off your phone. There are a lot more functions in the entertainment system such as music playback from MP3, WMA, AAC files with title display from SD and AUX IN, 4×20 watt output (front and rear speakers), you can also connect, charge and control your iPod, phone and other devices while you’re on the move and vehicle status information is also shown on the display.
The rear legroom has grown by 15mm and the front seats have been moved 20mm back to help accommodate taller drivers. The rear seat has the 60:40 split arrangement. You can’t go wrong with this arrangement.
Now to the not so happening side of things.
The driver and front passenger seats is not that comfortable for long journey rides. It lacks the back lumber support. The “Zoom/Merlin” fabric material on the seats is rather harsh too.
The Entertainment system CD insert is located in the front passenger glove box, few of us were looking for it, which was hilarious. So, please do not try to change your that favorite MP3 disc while driving. The radio reception can be rather irritating, the signal comes and goes, or probably the test car we had, had some radio reception issues. The radio also sounded like a mono speaker system instead of an 4 speaker system but after I connected my phone to the Bluetooth, everything sounded ok.
The entire interior of the Golf Mk7 TSI, is somehow less sportier compared to the Golf Mk6 TSI. The meter cluster design lost its sportiness due to the straighten horizontal feature at the bottom. Adding the flat bottom steering to the Golf Mk7 TSI does help to bring up the sportiness of the entire interior.
The 1.4 turbocharged engine offers punch, but the throttle response can be jerky in traffic. So a light right foot is needed. The MK7 Golf TSI has an all-new engine codename, ‘EA 211’ which has an output of 140 PS (138 hp) slightly less then the previous model engine EA 111 which was 160 PS, but that has the twin charger. However, maximum torque has increased by 10Nm to 250Nm. There’s also a clever cylinder deactivation, which is quiet and refined, although there was a slight hesitation when pulling away. It’s possible this was the cylinder deactivation. You don’t even notice when the more powerful 1.4 shuts off half its cylinders to save fuel.
There’s an Engine Start/Stop system with regenerative braking. The auto stop/start contributes to the excellent fuel figures: 5.4 litres/100km. Petrol Heads would find this function rather unpleasing actually but then again, majority of the automakers will be heading towards this direction of saving energy. So live with it! The Golf Mk7 TSI, is rather quick to detect a halt at the traffic lights or in the jam. A rather fast 2 seconds, when I came to a halt, the engine shuts off. The trick to cheat it is to step on the brakes as lightly as possible.
The brakes can also be quite aggressive, which is a good thing. Good brakes, responsive engine, a fast gearbox and a rather impressive suspension, sounds like a fun day in Sepang International Circuit.
The Golf Mk7 TSI, feels grown up, more mature compared to the Mk6 TSI and not forgetting 100 kg lighter. The Mk7 does feels lighter and punchier on the open roads. At as low as 1,500 – 2,000 rpm, all 250 Nm of torque is at your disposal. The steering is well weighted, while the suspension manages to provide a comfortable ride with good body control, just don’t try to take a corner to fast, the Golf MK7 TSI will still understeer.
While driving on paddle shift mode, the ECO TIP keeps popping up on the MFD (Multi Function Display) “Engage Gearshift to D mode” Reminding me to be a fuel efficient driver. I was trying to get that famous DSG “fart” sound from the exhaust but I couldn’t really hear it in the cabin.. It’s either the sound deadening of the Golf is way better or Volkswagen decided to have a much silent exhaust for the Golf Mk7 TSI. There is some road and wind noise on highway speeds but not unbearable.
IS IT FOR YOU?
The Golf MK7 TSI is quite possibly a great daily car. It won’t help you stand out, but it is stylish, efficient and practical. It is not cheap, but it holds its value well enough. On material quality, usability and functional simplicity, the Golf is above its competitors. So, if you’re looking for zippy, on the go, hot hatch, 5 star rated Euro NCAP, a fun day out in Sepang International Circuit or some nice country road drive but yet still being a very orientated family hatchback; this is for you.
The Volkswagen Golf MK7 TSI continues to raise the family hatchback bar, with rivals such as the all-new Citroen DS4 and Ford Focus Sport trying to match with it. In terms of drive feel, the Volkswagen Golf Mk7 TSI wins having a royal straight flush but don’t under estimate the Ford Focus, it quite a power pack too. When it comes to the design of the exterior,the Citroen DS4 was elected Most Beautiful Car of the Year at the International Automobile Festiva, which basically outbeats the Golf and the Ford Focus.
The best looking interior award for these 3 cars would have to go to the Citroen DS 4. Among these 3 cars, the Golf Mk7 TSI feels the least cramped. So if you’re looking for a driver’s car with a minimalist practical functional and spaciousness interior and a fun zippy hatchback, the Golf Mk7 TSI is your answer.
|Volkswagen Golf TSI||Ford Focus 2.0 Sport||Citroen DS4|
|Type||TSI turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder petrol engine||2.0L Petrol Direct Injection I-4 DOHC 16V,
Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing
|Inline 4 Cylinder DOHC|
|Max Power||hp/rpm||138||170 / 6,500rpm||120/6,000rpm|
|Max Torque||Nm/rpm||250||202 / 4450 rpm||240/1,400rpm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||L||50||55||60|
|Type||Electromechanical power steering||Electric Motor Driven Power Steering (EPAS)||Electronic hydraulic power steering|
|Transmission||7-speed direct shift gearbox DSG||Powershift® 6 Speed Dual Clutch Automatic||6 speed automatic|
|Type||MacPherson Strut / Multi-Link||MacPherson strut / Control Blade™ Independent Rear||MacPherson type / Drawn arms|
|Front||Ventilated Disc||Ventilated Disc||Ventilated discs|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||205/55 R16||215/50 R17|
|Wheels||16 x 6.5J||17 Alloy|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||1720||1360|
|Luggage Capacity (VDA)||L||380||350||359 / 385|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||8.4||9.3|
WILL I BUY IT?
The Volkswagen Golf Mk7 TSI is a rewarding drivers car, which lives up to the legendary Golf badge. It has recently been crowned Car of the Year for 2013. I would purchase the Volkswagen Golf TSI for sure but if I had slightly deeper pockets, the older faster brother with the GTI badge would be my choice.