The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9
The Volkswagen Golf Estate adds increased practicality to one of Britain’s best-loved cars. It’s built to last, practical and versatile.
Reasons to buy
- Impressive practicality
- Low running costs
- Five-star Euro NCAP crash rating
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
Volkswagen isn’t in the habit of creating exciting designs, but that’s something its customers tend to see as a good thing. They’re happy with an understated style, which looks classy rather than flash. That’s exactly how the
Golf is. It looks solid and dependable but it doesn’t shout about its looks.
What's the interior like?
The understated design continues on the inside, and arguably the Golf is all the better for it. The dash is extremely clear and so is the switchgear, so you don’t have to hunt for anything. So while it’s unexciting, it’s easy to use.
How practical is it?
As you’d expect, there’s no shortage of practicality with the estate bodystyle. The rear seats tip forward at the press of a button to give 1,495 litres of carrying capacity; leave them up and there’s 505 litres on offer. There’s plenty of leg and head room for all five occupants.
What's it like to drive?
You could be forgiven for thinking that the Golf is a bit stodgy dynamically because it’s so solidly built. But nothing could be further from the truth, as it’s great to drive. It doesn’t handle as sweetly as a
Ford Focus, but the Golf’s ride is good and there’s decent feedback through the steering wheel.
How powerful is it?
All Golf Mk6 estates are plenty quick enough, with even the entry-level 1.2-litre TSI offering a 118mph top speed and 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds. The best balance of performance against economy is the 1.6-litre TDi, with its 118mph top speed and 62.8mpg average. Opt for the Bluemotion edition and the economy averages a claimed 67.3mpg, with no loss of performance. The fastest Golf Mk6 estate of the lot is the 2-litre TDi, as tested here. With 138bhp and 236lb ft of pulling power, the car can accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds before topping out at 130mph.
How much will it cost me?
You’ll find no large-capacity petrol engines in the Golf estate, as Volkswagen has instead opted for small units with a turbocharger. This means that even the 1.2-litre unit can muster 102bhp, but it can still return 48.7mpg. Predictably, the diesels are the most economical, with the 2.0-litre TDi returning an average of 56.5mpg. Servicing is every 10,000 miles or 12 months, although variable servicing is an option. This takes driving style into account and allows up to two years and 18,000 miles between garage visits. The diesel should retain nearly half of its value after three years and 36,000 miles.
How reliable is it?
Volkswagen has an excellent reputation for reliability, which is generally well deserved. However, the Mk6 is a facelifted Mk5, and that car could suffer from faults such as failed door seals, temperamental air-con and coolant leaks. While the new model feels very well built, it’s some of the areas which are out of sight which are the ones most likely to give trouble. In a bid to offer peace of mind, the Golf comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty.
How safe is it?
With a five-star Euro NCAP rating, the Golf Mk6 estate should look after you if the worst should happen. It’s packed with safety kit too, such as electronic stability programme (ESP), curtain airbags, Isofix child seat mountings in the rear, passenger airbag deactivation switch and three-point seatbelts for everyone.
How much equipment do I get?
All Golfs get air-con, electric windows all round, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors plus remote central locking and a multi-function computer, but the entry-level car with S trim comes on steel wheels. Move up to an SE and 16-inch alloy wheels are included, plus cruise control, extra chrome trim, extra interior lighting and an eight-speaker stereo system. The range-topping Sportline also has sport suspension, a multi-function steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Volkswagen Golf Mk6 estate may be only a revised edition of the Mk5, but that’s no bad thing. The Golf Mk5 was such a capable car, that there was no need for Volkswagen to start again – merely polishing the existing car was all that was needed. Even better, many of the Golf’s rivals are now getting very expensive, making the Volkswagen appear to be better value than ever before.