Volkswagen Golf hatchback
Price: £16,775 - £25,370
- Decent practicality
- High-quality interior
- Economical engines
- A little bit boring to look at
- Not as big as a Skoda Octavia
- Not as fun to drive as a Ford Focus
The seventh generation Volkswagen Golf continues to raise the family hatchback bar, with rivals such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane all measured against it for quality and handling. The Mk7 Golf is nearly 100kg lighter than the old Mk6, but its dimensions are actually wider and longer, which means more room in the boot and extra passenger space inside.
Thanks to the fact the current VW Golf is slightly lower than its predecessor, it looks and feels that little bit sportier, too. Inside, the Golf has VW's usual mix of high-quality materials and loads of up-to-date equipment – there's even an option for a huge eight-inch touchscreen to sit at the centre of the completely redesigned dashboard. You can choose between eight engine specs across four versions – S, SE, BlueMotion and GT.
All models are quiet and smooth on the road, with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. New Mk7 Golf estate, GTI and GTD models are now available on the UK market, while the old model Golf Plus MPV and Golf Cabriolet are still on sale, too. There have been some critics of the new car's design, saying it's too tame and similar to the old model, especially with the likes of the SEAT Leon pushing the boundaries a bit. But a conservative look is a small price to pay for what could easily be described as the only car you’ll ever need.