We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering -- would you buy one?
What is it?
Volkswagen's entry level Golf. This is generation seven of the world's best selling hatch, but you'd be forgiven for not being able to pick it from the old one the exterior changes are subtle.
Prices for Golf start at $21,490, although our test vehicle in Comfortline trim is one step up the ladder at $24,990. That price does not include an auto which adds $2500 nor a decent paint which is another $500.
What are competitors?
You name it. The Mazda3 is Australia's best selling hatch followed closely by the Corolla but many people aspire to own a Golf.
What's under the bonnet?
A 1.4-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine that produces 90kW of power and 200Nm of torque, the latter between 1400 and 4000 revs. It's mated with a six-speed manual as standard or 7-speed double clutch style DSG transmission as an option.
The XDL electronic differential lock is now standard in all models and improves both traction and handling.
How does it go?
The turbocharged engine offers punch, but throttle response can be jerky in traffic. The brakes can also be quite aggressive.
Is it economical?
Gets auto stop/start which contributes to the excellent fuel figures: 5.4 for the auto and 5.7 litres/100km for the manual, bearing in mind that it takes premium 95RON petrol.
Is it green?
Gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from the Govt's Green Vehicle Guide, just a whisker less than the hybrid Prius.
Is it safe?
No probs here. Gets a full five stars for safety and has done so since 2005, with seven airbags and electronic stability and traction control as standard.
Is it comfortable?
Golfs are built for big people and bogans like us fit easily. Too bad the plastic cap on the seat back adjustment fell off the first time we used it.
What's it like to drive?
We're in two minds. Golf nails the figures but the combination of small force fed engine and robotised double clutch gearbox is just not as smooth as a standard setup. As such we didn't find the experience particularly relaxing.
Is it value for money?
More so now that Volkswagen has adopted fixed price servicing. Comfortline is the one to get with dual zone air, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and alloy wheels. But it's a $30K car by the time you get it on the road.
Would we buy one?
Having recently driven the new Mazda3 overseas we'd prefer to drive them back to back before making that call. The 3 is impressive, maybe more impressive than the Golf?
Volkswagen Golf 90TSI Comfortline
Price: from $24,990
Warranty: 3 years roadside
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder, 90kW/200Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Thirst: 5.7L/100Km, CO2 133g/km