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Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Highline 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Tim Robson road tests and reviews the VW Golf 110TSI Highline with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. If you're looking for luxury in your hatchback, VW's Golf 110TSI Highline is the place to start. The private car buyer's tastes have morphed over the last decade away from the status quo of large sedans towards more

Tim Robson road tests and reviews the VW Golf 110TSI Highline with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

If you're looking for luxury in your hatchback, VW's Golf 110TSI Highline is the place to start.

The private car buyer's tastes have morphed over the last decade away from the status quo of large sedans towards more utilitarian devices like SUVs and dual-cab utes.

These larger cars don't always answer the right questions, however, when it comes to our ever-more urbanised lifestyles.

There's no need to compromise on a smaller second – or even primary – car any more, though, with brands as varied as Hyundai, Ford and Peugoet offering highly specced hatches.

Our case in point; Volkswagen's Golf 110TSI Highline.

Design

The fundamental elements of the Golf haven't shifted much over the last couple of generations, with the most current Mk VII being the most angular and defined of the crop.

The Golf's design manages to straddle the line between sporting pretensions and the everyday quite neatly, though some may argue it has a harder-edged, more masculine appearance than some of its competitors.

It's a small yet steady performer which does its job in admirable refinement and silence.

Standard halogen headlights can be replaced by optional bi-Xenons, while the taillight covers are tinted.

A set of attractive 17-inch rims round off a handsome visage.

Practicality

Small hatches are great for one big reason; their practicality in the cut and thrust of the cityscape is hard to beat. The 110TSI is attuned totally to the urban jungle, with easy access, loads of space and lots of thoughtful touches.

There is room for six big drink bottles, for example, and a USB port up front, along with a second 12v socket in the cargo area. USB ports for back seat passengers would be a nice touch, though.

The Golf can lug 380 litres of gear with the 60:40 seats upright. When almost-flat exended space can swallow 1270 litres. The cavernous hatch opening will swallow an adult's bike or big pram with ease, too.

Five people can be carried in the Golf, especially if the rear riders are under 14. Five adults gets a bit close and personal, though four-up is a breeze with adequate head, shoulder and foot room for all.

The driver is well catered for, with a leather steering wheel, leather heated seat (that is unpowered in any other way, interestingly) and a simple, easy to read dash with loads of functionality via the small TFT screen between the dials.

More info about the car's performance can be found on the 6.5-inch centre screen, which operates via near-field touch technology. As you gesture towards the screen, more options illuminate before your finger reaches it.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also present, as long as you have the requisite app on your phone and the right cord to plug in with.

The seven-speed double-clutch gearbox can be used as a manual, but only by pushing on the gear shifter itself; there are no paddles behind the wheel as per the GTI range.

If you opt for the Driver Assistance Package, you'll also get VW's easy to use parking assistant which, we're pleased to say, works a treat in most parallel-park situations you'll find in suburbia.

Other niceties include proper keyless start and access, satellite navigation and a low tyre pressure indicator.

Price and features

Available only with a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, the 110TSI starts at $32,9990 before on-road costs. Metallic paint adds $500, while there are three option packs on offer.

The Luxury Pack offers automatically self-levelling bi-xenon headlights with dynamic cornering lights and integrated LED daytime driving lights, along with a panoramic glass sunroof for $3000.

The R Line package, meanwhile, adds alloy pedals and scuff plates, black headlining and trim, tinted rear and rear side glass, dark dash accents, heated front seats, flat-based leather wheel, the progressive steering rack from the Golf GTI series and a bespoke bodykit. It costs $2400.

The last option on offer is the Driver Assistance Package, which for $1500 adds blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, city emergency braking and park assist, along with active occupant safety (pre-tensioning belts and door locking).

Engine / Transmission

The 110TSI gets its name from the 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the bonnet which makes (surprise!) 110kW at 6000rpm. Torque is rated at 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm.

It's a small yet steady performer which does its job in admirable refinement and silence.

the small turbo engine provides a deceptively high level of refinement and perfectly adequate pace.

Just the one gearbox is on offer; Volkswagen's seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. It's worth noting that the new generation of DGSs are a step above and away from the earlier versions that were recalled a few years back.

It works though VW's XDL electronically locking front diff, which helps to tidy up the front end's behaviour in corners. The R Line's addition of the excellent variable steering rack is well worth the kit's price, by the way.

Driving

The 110TSI has a totally different job description than the GTI that it sits below. There is no firecracker exhaust or gear shift paddles to crack through the ratios; instead, the small turbo engine provides a deceptively high level of refinement and perfectly adequate pace.

The suspension tune from the independent front and rear suspension set-up, combined with 225/45 R17 tyres, is compliant yet well controlled, with minimal dive or body roll to upset passengers.

Noise intrusion is also well managed.

VW's most luxurious Golf hatch does an admirable job of quiet, sedate, refined transport.

The biggest issue with this drivetrain combo is the occasionally odd behaviour from the double-clutch gearbox. The software defaults to a second-gear start not matter whether the box is in Sport or Normal mode, which is nice for refinement, but can leave the little engine flat-footed at inopportune moments.

It can also hunt and shunt in stop-start traffic, where the box is unable to detect if a lower or higher ratio is next in the queue.

City driving is the Achille's heel of double-clutch transmissions, unfortunately, and even though the current generation combinations are eons better than their predecssors, there is a groundswell of movement in the industry that is favouring a return to traditional autos, especially for citified models.

Fuel economy

The 110TSI is rated at 5.4L/100km combined, giving it a theoretical range from its 50-litre tank of more than 920km.

Our 325km of testing saw a return of 5.7L/100km. It's worth noting, too, that the 110TSI will run on 95RON fuel.

Safety

The five-star crash rated Golf comes standard with seven airbags, along with a rear-view camera and sensors, traction and stability control, and post-collision braking.

A Driver Assistance Package that includes additional active and passive safety electronics is available for $1500.

Ownership

A three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty applies to the 110TSI, while service intervals of 15,000km or 12 months are recommended.

A six-year capped price servicing program is available, peaking at $562 for a 60,000km/four-year service. Pollen filters and brake fluid are not included in that price, though.

Verdict

VW's most luxurious Golf hatch does an admirable job of quiet, sedate, refined transport. It's spacious, cleverly appointed and a pleasure to actually drive.

The jury is out on whether the dual-clutch transmission is the best match for small-capacity, light-use vehicles, though, and this is the 110TSI's only real drawback.

It's not an issue, as such, but it's something you are forced to think about and adapt to, which is in stark contrast to the quality displayed in the rest of the car.

What do you look for in a hatch? Performance or practicality? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Volkswagen Golf 110 TSI Highline pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$21,000
Based on 428 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,997
Highest Price
$45,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
118 TSI Exclusive 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $24,530 – 30,250 2016 Volkswagen Golf 2016 118 TSI Exclusive Pricing and Specs
110 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $17,888 – 29,990 2016 Volkswagen Golf 2016 110 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
110 TSI Highline 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $18,990 – 28,990 2016 Volkswagen Golf 2016 110 TSI Highline Pricing and Specs
92 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $12,990 – 18,980 2016 Volkswagen Golf 2016 92 TSI Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$22,770

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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