Lightning strikes twice for VW's winning Golf
From an industry point of view, this “lego-like” modular format has the potential to radically alter the production and development process and dramatically cut costs. Engineered by the firm’s head of research and development Ulrich Hackenberg, it’s already bearing fruit and could prove to be the critical innovation that will turn the VW Group into the world’s largest car firm.
As for the car itself, there’s a sense of quality about the Golf, from the cabin to the external build quality. The cabin is functional and uncluttered yet offers – unfortunately, in too many cases, from the options list – the latest technology you will need in this segment.
The breadth of the powertrain portfolio is impressive, particularly when you consider the work underway on electric and plug-in hybrid variants.
VW is a victim of its own success when it comes to design, and needs to retain the fundamental DNA of the Golf lineage while modernising the look. It has not always delivered on this in the past, but this generation is a good mix of modern looks adapted to the Golf’s immediately identifiable profile. Its designers may be tethered to a template by now, but this seventh iteration is clean, crisp and uncluttered.
The Golf also delivers in terms of value for money, not necessarily through its forecourt price but in the fact that you do feel like you’ve got a quasi-premium car for mainstream money – and in many markets the residual value on a Golf is amongst the stronger in its segment in the used market.
From its clean, iconic lines to the aura of solid build quality inside and an array of engine options to suit all tastes, the latest Golf delivers a car of the year performance.
Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ – 6 points
The beauty of the GT86/BRZ is that it’s an honest, unpretentious sports car, a reminder of what made so many of us passionate about motoring.
The pre-production concept models were better-looking than the final production model, but its design reflects its blue-collar sports car DNA, something that’s carried through to the interior and the way it drives. It’s a singular message well delivered in every aspect of the car and fitting with the heritage of the brands themselves.
The beauty of the GT86/BRZ is not that it’s lightning quick or dynamically excellent; instead, it offers sports car driving pleasure at a relatively affordable price. You get a sense of speed and sports car agility at legal speeds. In short, it’s fun to drive and that’s what counts.