The Volkswagen Golf Estate is one of those cars that does almost everything well and nothing badly. For starters, it’s a good load carrier: every luggage item bar the Aquaroll fit in the 505-litre boot. There’s no lip to load items over and it has a handy 12V socket. 
Fold the rear seats flat and there’s 1550 litres to play with. There’s also plenty of head- and legroom for adults, even in the back.

With a caravan in tow, the Golf continues to impress. While the AL-KO ATC system measured greater G-force than when the Golf hatch tackled the same manoeuvre, car and caravan stayed rooted to the intended course. Every judge was happy with the outfit’s stability at higher speeds in a straight line.

A good chassis is backed up by a strong engine. Response at the bottom of the rev range could be better, but once up to 2000rpm car and caravan began to shift along nicely. We recorded a 30-60mph time of 13.9 seconds.

Fuel economy is good, with a promised 51.4mpg on the combined cycle. When Practical Caravan took the car over its economy route, it managed 29.4mpg while towing.

Even so, the engine is the car’s weakness. Compared with the Renaults and the Peugeot, it’s just too noisy, yet by the time you read this, VW will have introduced the next-generation engine fitted to the Tiguan: much quieter but just as strong. Since this was our only reservation, the Golf Estate is deservedly the winner of this class.

Other cars in this category

Fiat Bravo

1.9 16v 150 Multijet Dynamic


Ford Focus C-Max

1.6 TDCi Titanium


Honda Accord Tourer

2.2 i-DTEC EX GT


Hyundai i30

1.6 CRDi Style Estate


Kia Cee’d

SW 2.0 CRDi Sport


Mazda 3

2.0 D Sport


Mazda 6

2.0D Sport 5dr


Peugeot 308

2.0 HDi SE


Renault Grand Scénic

1.9 dCi 130 Dynamique 7-seat


Renault Laguna Sport Tourer

2.0 dCi 150 Dynamique


Seat Altea

XL 2.0 TDI Stylance


Subaru Impreza

2.5 WRX


Toyota Auris

2.0 D-4D TR


Vauxhall Vectra

1.9 CDTi 120 Exclusiv 5dr


Volkswagen Golf Estate

2.0 TDI SE

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