In 2002, you could pair Volkswagen’s 1.8T with a 6-speed manual transmission. Our test car used a 5-speed manual.
Is this progress? Strangely, yes.
• Overall on-road behaviour
• Powerful base engine
• Luxurious ambience
• Interior quality
• Timeless styling
|THE BAD |
• TDI still more appealing than TSI
• Not exactly inexpensive
• Fuel economy disappointed
• Rear seat space could use a boost
The new car makes way more torque: 185 lb-ft at 1600 rpm compared with 173 lb-ft at 1950 rpm. According to EPA tests, it also travels 25% farther on a litre of fuel. Regular fuel, too. The old car drank premium.
Regardless of what the spec sheet says, the new 1.8T is still a very quick car when mated to the 5-speed manual. And though the transmission would surely benefit from a tall sixth gear and feels as though it could use more tightly spaced ratios, shift quality is excellent and the clutch is friendly, with no learning curve required.
Over the course of a decade and multiple generations of Golf, the greater gains have (clearly) not come in terms of outright power but in overall refinement and the driving experience as a whole. These upgrades are unlikely to change the fact that the wild fuel economy figures achieved by diesel-powered Golfs will still draw greater Canadian attention. Like the well-behaved child who always carries his dishes back to the sink with two hands and efficiently and correctly finishes his homework, but who still sees all his parents’ attention paid to his delinquent little brother, der neue base Golf does its level best but still isn’t as desirable as its siblings.