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Major player Seventh generation Golf is the best ever


It's not hard to see why the new VW Golf is European Car of the Year and has made the shortlist for the World title .

In fact, a blind man on a galloping horse would have spotted that the legendary hatchback was never going to be overshadowed by the mini me UP! and Polo which both won the coveted accolade in the last three years.

After 38 years and 29 million sales to date the seventh generation is hoping to make it a double for the iconic model after scooping the gong on 2009.

The mantra of "evolution not revolution" seems to be paying huge dividends as the latest offering is lighter, safer, better equipped and above all, more efficient.

To back that up, Wolfgang engineers are bragging that they have made the whole line-up a whopping 23pc greener and that ALL models of the new Golf including automatics reside in the 120g/km Tax Band A.

More about that later.

First a look at the styling.

Now at first glance one could be forgiven for thinking that it doesn't look all that different from the MKVI, which wasn't too dissimilar to the MKV.

To the untrained eye maybe, but the more you look at what some critics are calling the "ultimate hatchback" the more in awe one becomes.

It's wearing a sharp tailor-made suit with impeccable creases over the bonnet, running down the flanks and across the boot – accentuating the more aggressive, chiselled stance.

The lower sit of the car (thanks to 18 inch alloys) is complimented by the clever line in the headlights which continues the flow from end to end. Credit too for resisting the temptation to over use the chrome and piano black on the lower bumper and around the foglamps.

Not too much and not too little – just that touch of class.

The same can be said of the interior which again is smart, uncluttered and excels in build quality (the Highline model we tested was wall-to-wall leather with suede effect door panels).

Available here in three trim levels: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline, it's loaded with goodies and standard kit includes a 5-inch colour touchscreen, media centre with radio, a CD drive (MP3 compatible), climate control and electronic handbrake.

Moving up to the Comfortline and you get cruise control, Bluetooth with voice commands, a 5.8 inch touch screen display which responds to swiping and zooming gestures and snazzy 15 inch alloys.

It's a smidgen more practical too with a larger boot (30 litres) and lower back-friendly sill – making it easier to carry awkward loads especially with folding rear and front passenger seats.

Powering the new bus will be three petrol and two diesel engines.

The petrol range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85 bhp, a more powerful 105 bhp unit and the all-new 1.4-litre TSI 140 bhp engine with Active Cylinder Technology.

This shuts down the two central cylinders when the car is cruising – slashing fuel consumption. This helps to create an extremely efficient engine capable of 4.7 l/100km and 109g/km.

The two diesels on offer are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 bhp and a new 2.0-litre TDI 150 bhp unit twinned to either a five or six-speed manual box. We tested the 150bhp which was epic. The DSG box with flappy paddles on the steering proved a real treat especially when you let her off the leash on twisty, country roads.

I really found it hard to find fault with this car proving that practice does indeed, make perfect.

Prices for the new Golf start at €19,995.