Skoda Octavia RS 2014 Review
Derek Ogden road tests and reviews the 2014 Skoda Octavia RS wagon.
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Volkswagen has launched the third variant in its new Golf 7 range with a five-door wagon joining the hatch and GTI that arrived last year. The hotshot Golf R will follow later this year.
Volkswagen Golf has never been an ostentatious car with its designers over the years opting for neat and conservative styling. The seventh-generation model continues that trend. Though the body is all-new there are plenty of cues to the outgoing Golf 6, indeed to many other Golfs over the years.
The Golf 7 wagon is identical to its hatchback sibling up to the B pillar but distinct from there to the rear with a roofline that slopes slightly downwards but does so without infringing on either rear headroom or cargo space. Although both Golf 7 hatch and wagon share the same wheelbase the load carrier, at 4657 mm, is 308 mm longer than the hatch.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
As with the Golf 7 hatch the new wagon comes with the choice of three turbocharged engines, two petrol and one diesel. In VW tradition the model names are used to specify the maximum power output of each engines in kilowatts. The entry level 90 TSI having a 1.4-litre 90 kW petrol engine, the 103 TSI with same engine tweaked to 103 kW and the 110 TDI a 2.0-litre 110 kW diesel.
Even better numbers are the peak torque outputs of 200 Nm, 250 Nm and 320 Nm respectively. Unlike the hatch which gets the option of a manual gearbox in the 90 TSI the wagons only come with Volkswagen's DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, six-speed with the petrol models and seven-speed with the diesel.
Golf 7 uses Volkswagen's BlueMotion technology which includes stop/start engine, brake energy recuperation, gearshift recommendation and intelligent thermal management.
Four variants are offered. The 90 TSI comes as a base model and with Comfortline equipment while the top-spec Highline is now available in a Golf wagon for the first time and is the only option with the 103 TSI and 110 TDI engines.
There's good space within the new Golf for up to five moderate-sized adults with acceptable rear legroom. Boot space is an impressive 605 litres (100 litres more than the previous model) with the rear seats in place rising to 1620 litres (from 1495) with the rear seatbacks folded.
Apart from the normal cargo blind that can be extended horizontally from the top of the rear seat to the rear window Golf 7 wagon also gets a protective curtain that clips onto the back of the folded rear seat and extends up to the roof. Cleverly, both the cargo blind and safety curtain can be stored in moulded supports located below the cargo floor and above the space saver spare wheel.
Golf 7 wagon comes with all the safety features we expect, including seven airbags; ABS brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution; hill hold; tyre pressure monitoring and a multi-collision braking system that applies the brakes to prevent or minimise a subsequent impact when the car has been involved in a collision.
There's also a fatigue detection system that assesses the driver's style in the early stages of a trip and then continually checks for any significant change that could indicate that their concentration is deteriorating. Isofix child seat anchorage points are fitted on the outer rear seats. Rear parking sensors are optional on the 90TSI with front/rear sensors and a reversing camera standard in the Comfortline and Highline variants.
Two display modes are used, both based on a 5.6-inch colour touch screen that operates in similar fashion to smartphones with swiping and pinching gestures. Composition Media is standard on the entry level 90 TSI and both Comfortline models; with Discover Media optional with Comfortline and standard in Highline.
Composition Media interacts with the AM/FM radio; Bluetooth phone and audio streaming as well as displaying driver information. Discover Media adds satellite navigation. There is a CD player but with declining usage it been hidden away inside the glovebox alongside SD slots for both music and SatNav data.
Standard across the range are roof rails; daytime running lights; rear fog lights; cruise control; leather trimmed steering wheel and gear lever; and height and reach steering wheel adjustment.
The 90TSI Comfortline adds dual zone air; storage drawers under the front seats; rain sensor windscreen wipers; 12V socket in the cargo area; and a rear-seat centre armrest with cup holders.
As well as the higher level infotainment features the two Highline models get chrome highlights on the lower air intake; side windows and roof rails; and Alcantara cloth seats. Alloy wheels are 15-inch in the 90TSI, 16-inch in the Comfortline and 17-inch in the Highline.
The optional Driver Assistance Package ($1300) available on Comfortline and Highline adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake and Park Assist.
We tested the Golf 7 wagon on a varied drive through suburban areas and hill country on the launch, and it showed that a wagon can be both functional and fun to drive. Our route included some interesting twists and turns that were handled with ease. The three torquey engines are all so responsive that it's easy to forget that they are turbocharged. Cruising on the open road and motorways was as smooth, comfortable and quiet as in many large family cars that we've driven.
While large family sedans have been the most prominent victims of the current SUV craze station wagons have also suffered. Which doesn't make a lot of sense because apart from their higher driving position the current crop of small SUVs don't offer any significant advantages over Euro-style wagons such as the new Golf. They certainly don't come close to matching the driving enjoyment.
Could move a lot of buyers over from the small SUV part of the showroom.
|118 TSI||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$17,990 – 21,888||2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 118 TSI Pricing and Specs|
|103 TSI Highline||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$13,999 – 21,990||2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 103 TSI Highline Pricing and Specs|
|110 TDI Highline||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$9,990 – 21,990||2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 110 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs|
|90 TSI||1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$9,900 – 15,990||2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 90 TSI Pricing and Specs|