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Car trim reviews

Volkswagen Golf GT

"A bit like a Golf GTI but cheaper to buy and run, the VW Golf GT is a good compromise. You can even have it with a diesel engine to keep fuel bills down."

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With the VW Golf GT, the firm has made a car that offers some of the visual and driving excitement of the legendary Golf GTI, but at a more attainable price and with cheaper insurance and fuel costs. It’s not been quite as extensively modified and restyled as the GTI, but it still has lower sports suspension than a regular Golf, rear tinted windows, red rear light clusters and front foglights that help to illuminate corners.

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There are stylish 17-inch alloy wheels, front sports seats with Alcantara centre sections and an eight-speaker stereo with Volkswagen's Discover sat nav system. It looks as good as it drives, too. There are two engines to choose from – a turbocharged and supercharged 1.4-litre petrol unit that delivers diesel-like power across a broad section of the rev band, and a refined 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel. The diesel is available with VW’s fuel-saving BlueMotion Technology (engine stop-start, brake energy recovery, gearshift indicator and low rolling resistance tyres) and both engines can be paired with a semi-automatic twin-clutch gearbox – only in five-door versions, though.

Good points

The GT package sharpens up the already excellent driving manners of the Golf without spoiling the car’s comfort. Both engines are supremely flexible thanks to their strong mid-range torque, without demanding too much fuel.The diesel will do nearly 59mpg, or close to 66mpg with the BlueMotion Technology package. It’s a tough task to choose between them, but the petrol engine just feels a bit more suited to a semi-sporty hatch such as this.Insurance rates are respectable, and the GT has the same qualities as any other Golf – space, quality, safety, reliability and strong second-hand values. The diesels hold on to almost half of what you paid over a typical three-year ownership period.

Bad points

If you pass a Golf GTI, you might end up feeling you’ve made do with second best. The GT doesn’t enjoy the full restyling package that’s on the GTI, and it’s not as crisp to drive, nor as quick, which is only to be expected when it’s around £4,000 cheaper.There seems no logical reason why the semi-automatic DSG gearbox is available on five-door models but not those with three doors.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Alarm
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • DAB Radio
  • Cruise control
  • Sat nav
  • Stop/Start
  • Automatic wipers
  • Sports seats
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Our choice

The 158bhp 1.4-litre engine with a turbocharger and a supercharger is the perfect match for this semi-sporty Golf. It’s smooth, comfortable and quick.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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