"The VW Golf Estate offers the comfort and quality of the standard hatchback, but boosts appeal further with a spacious and stylish boot."
Volkswagen produces the Golf estate for those who want the classy looks, solid build and comfort of the Golf hatchback in a simple, yet more practical package. The spacious boot increases the carrying capacity of the Golf significantly, the load area growing from 350 litres in the hatch to 505 litres in the estate. Fold down the rear seats for maximum carrying capacity and the estate boasts 1,495 litres of luggage space. That's not quite as generous as the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra estates, but the Golf feels like a classier proposition with its upmarket interior and smart looks.
The Golf Estate has the same looks as the latest hatchback model, but it's actually a clever update of the previous generation, MkV Golf. As a result, the estate struggles to match the latest hatchback's impressive balance of handling and comfort, but still serves up accurate steering and strong brakes. Diesel engines make more sense in the Golf estate, given the likelihood it’ll be used as a workhorse. The 1.6 TDI offers the best blend of performance and economy, returning 62.8mpg on the official combined consumption cycle.
It might not quite have the measure of the MkVI hatchback Golf for outright quality, but the estate still impresses when it comes to comfort. The seats are firm and supportive, while the suspension allows the Golf to ride over our cracked and rippled roads with real finesse. The cabin is a lesson in clarity and simplicity, and the chunky controls are easy to use.
Volkswagens have a reputation for quality, and the Golf estate shows why. Its neatly trimmed interior feels robustly built, while the major controls all feel hard-wearing. All cars get driver and passenger airbags as standard, as well as Isofix child seat fittings.
The large and easy-to-access boot makes the Golf estate a perfect choice for those with the need to carry larger loads. The flat loading area, lack of a boot lip and large hatchback make filling that spacious boot easy, although the sloping rear roofline does make carrying larger items a bit tricky. The maximum capacity of the boot with the seats folded is 1,495 litres, which is around 40-50 litres less than key rivals the Ford Focus estate and Vauxhall Astra Sport Tourer.
Value for money
The Golf estate doesn’t quite deliver the high resale values of its hatchback relative. That's thanks to less demand for small estate cars rather than any reflection of its quality and usefulness. The Golf used to be considered expensive compared to rivals, but Volkswagen has been very aggressive with its pricing, and the Golf is actually now one of the better-value propositions in the small estate car class.
Pick the 1.6 TDI diesel in BlueMotion form and you’ll get 67.3mpg, 109g/km emissions and ample performance. That’ll help keep your visits to fuel pumps to a minimum and your annual tax bill low. Servicing and insurance are sensible too, with VW offering a three-year, one-off payment on servicing for all cars its sells.