Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk7 TSI, an ever ready zippy hot hatch


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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

QUICK FACTS

NameVolkswagen Golf TSI
SegmentC-SEGMENT
Engine1390 CC  140ps
PriceRM 159,888.00


EXTERIOR
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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

 

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.

INTERIOR
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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

 

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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

 

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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

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.

PERFORMANCE
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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

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 DRIVE
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.

Review: Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 TSI in Malaysia - AutoBuzz.my

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.

COMPARISONS
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 TSIFord Focus 2.0 SportCitroen DS4
ENGINE
TypeTSI turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder petrol engine2.0L Petrol Direct Injection I-4 DOHC 16V,
Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing
(Ti-VCT)
Inline 4 Cylinder DOHC
Displacementcc1390CC1999CC 1598CC
Max Powerhp/rpm138170 / 6,500rpm120/6,000rpm
Max TorqueNm/rpm250202 / 4450 rpm240/1,400rpm
Fuel Tank CapacityL5055 60
STEERING
Type Electromechanical power steeringElectric Motor Driven Power Steering (EPAS)Electronic hydraulic power steering
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission7-speed direct shift gearbox DSGPowershift® 6 Speed Dual Clutch Automatic6 speed automatic
SUSPENSION
Type MacPherson Strut / Multi-LinkMacPherson strut / Control Blade™ Independent Rear MacPherson type / Drawn arms
BRAKES
Front Ventilated DiscVentilated DiscVentilated discs
Rear DiscDisc Disc
TYRE & WHEELS
Tyres205/55 R16215/50 R17
Wheels16 x 6.5J17 Alloy
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS
Overall Lengthmm425543584275
Overall Widthmm179918241810
Overall Heightmm14521466 1533
Wheelbasemm26372612
Max Kerb weightkg17201360
Luggage Capacity (VDA)L 380350 359 / 385
PERFORMANCE
Max Speedkm/h212212
0 – 100km/hsec 8.49.3
PRICERM 159,888.00116,938.00 149,888.00

 

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.

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IMAGE GALLERY


EugeneF

EugeneF

I am considered a newbie automotive writer and a car adrenaline junkie / car modder who loves (in no particular order) cars, tech, automotive, music and kids.The cars we drive say a lot about us.- Alexandra PaulSpecialties Driving, reviewing, motoring, road testing, automotive technology, music and sound.
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