The updated Volkswagen Golf pushed very hard for the top spot in the ‘Up to 1400kg’ weight class.
First and foremost, it tows brilliantly. Having put the Golf through a lane-change, an acceleration test and an emergency stop, our What Car? road tester rated the VW’s towing ability as second to none in this weight division, a view reinforced by data from the Al-Ko ATC sensors on the caravan.
The other driving judges were also thoroughly impressed with the Golf’s stability at high speeds, and the relaxed way it coped with the hill-start test. The electronic parking brake made life easy, with no need to yank hard on a handle to stop car and caravan from slipping backwards.
Our practicality team also rated the VW Golf highly. There wasn’t quite room for every item of luggage, even with the boot floor on its lowest setting, but that’s not a surprise for a hatchback of this size. There was no warning against towing using the space-saver spare in the handbook.
As a daily drive, the Golf is very adept. It rides with more sophistication than the Octavia, and the well weighted and accurate steering makes for confident and enjoyable cornering. High-speed refinement is very good, too.
You might expect to pay a price premium for a Golf compared with other mainstream hatchbacks, but VW actually lowered Golf prices earlier in 2017. It’s now better value than before, especially as resale values should be healthy.
As good as the Golf is, though, it can’t match the space and practicality of the Skoda Octavia, which is why it narrowly misses out on winning an award.