From January 2008 issue

List price when tested: £18,887
Kerbweight: 1356kg
85% match: 1153kg
Max towing weight: 1153kg
Towball limit: 75kg
Braking 30-0mph: 10.4m

ASIDE FROM the high price and some engine noise, there’s nothing of substance to complain about with the Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI. It’s a very complete car.

First and foremost, it tows very well. Some cars of this size seem to be pushed and pulled by the caravan, but not the Golf. Throughout our tests it felt firmly in control, even when pushed hard in the emergency lane-change test.

Mid-range muscle

Hitched to a Bailey Ranger 460/2, it pulled from 30-60mph in a brisk 11.2 seconds. The Golf comfortably holds 60mph on motorway inclines, such is the mid-range muscle of the 2.0-litre engine.

When it’s time to stop, not go, the brakes are as efficient as the engine, bringing the outfit to a halt from 30mph in 10.4 metres. The Golf had no trouble with our hill-start test, either.

Tidy handling

Leave the van behind, and the same well judged suspension that delivers good stability when towing provides a firm but comfortable ride and tidy handling. It’s not quite as entertaining as a Ford Focus, though.

Inside, the Golf is one of the most spacious small family hatchbacks, with plenty of head and legroom, even for those in the back seats. There’s a reasonable 350 litres of luggage space, which can be extended to 1305 litres if you fold the rear seats down.

You get a reasonable list of standard kit for the money, and there’s the reassurance of a five-star rating for adult occupant protection from crash test experts, Euro NCAP. However, there’s no getting away from the Golf’s high price.

We say
Towing: 4/5
Solo: 4/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 3/5

Verdict: 4/5. A secure towcar which rides and handles well, although it is rather expensive.

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