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Volkswagen Golf Trendline 2017 Review

EXPERT RATING
7.6
The Golf 7 was a very good proposition, and Golf 8 is a way off, so Volkswagen has opted for a nip-and-tuck half step, the Golf 7.5 - tested here in 110TSI Trendline guise - rather than a reinvention.

Have you noticed that wheels have stayed pretty much wheel-shaped since their invention in around 3500 B.C? That's because they do the same good job now as they did way back then, and so, there's really been no need to reinvent them.

Enter, then, the Volkswagen Golf 7.5 - tested here in 110TSI Trendline guise. The Golf 7 was a very good proposition, and the Golf 8 is some way off, so VW has opted for a nip-and-tuck half step, rather than an out-and-out reinvention of its top-selling wheel (see what we did there?).

The biggest giveaway? It looks exactly the same as the Golf 7 it replaces. Well, it's a tiny bit different, but you'd have to have a wardrobe packed to overflowing with anoraks to spot the tweaked headlights and grille, which don't just headline the changes; they are the full extent of them.

That said, there is plenty of new stuff going on under the skin, but is a mid-life update enough to keep the Golf ahead of the small-car pack?

Volkswagen Golf 2017: GTI
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.2L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$31,888

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

It might be only a slight refresh, but special mention goes to the sharp and angular headlights, and the strip of daytime running lights beneath them, which forces the design of the car back into the flanks, making the Golf look a touch more focussed. The sharp creases on the bonnet add a sense of performance, too, and join the equally sharp lines running along the body.

Outside, you'll find 16-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) Outside, you'll find 16-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

Inside, the dash is wrapped in an unbroken piece of soft-touch material, accentuated by a thin strip that does a commendable impersonation of a kind of perforated aluminium, that reappears in the door panels.

All the switches have a quality feel to them, including those on the steering wheel, and while the air-con isn't climate controlled, it is effective in combating Sydney temperatures.

But the highlight in the cabin has to be the wide, black-ringed multimedia system that's clean, unfussy and easy to use. The only downside? Catch it in the wrong light and it looks like a CSI: crime scene, with greasy fingerprints everywhere. The only other downside of the design is that, while the screen's controls are largely integrated, the power and source wheels feel like plastic add-ons, jutting out from the screen like afterthoughts.

  • The sharp creases on the bonnet add a sense of performance, joining the equally sharp lines running along the body. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The sharp creases on the bonnet add a sense of performance, joining the equally sharp lines running along the body. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • You'd have to have a wardrobe packed to overflowing with anoraks to spot the small design tweaks. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) You'd have to have a wardrobe packed to overflowing with anoraks to spot the small design tweaks. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

In the back, some of the niceties do vanish. The soft-touch materials are replaced with hard plastics, and there's little in the way of creature comforts, but it does still feel nicely put together.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

Front seat riders will share two cupholders in the centre console, which really doesn't have room for much else, other than a 12-volt power outlet. You'll also find and aux-in point and USB connection hidden beneath a folding flap that opens to reveal another small storage space below the air-con unit. The front-door pockets are huge, and will happily swallow bottles with storage room left over.

  • Inside, the dash is wrapped in an unbroken piece of soft-touch material. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) Inside, the dash is wrapped in an unbroken piece of soft-touch material. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • All the switches have a quality feel to them, including those on the steering wheel. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) All the switches have a quality feel to them, including those on the steering wheel. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

Full disclosure; I like my driving position to be pretty close to the pedals and steering wheel, but even so, there's plenty of room behind the driver's seat in the back. There's clear air between my head and the roof, too, though anyone taller than my 180cm won't be quite so happy.

Elsewhere, there's bottle storage in the rear doors, and two air-con vents (though no controls), but there's a distinct lack of power, USB and aux connections for backseaters. That said, there are two cupholders hidden in a pull-down armrest, which also gives you portal access to the boot, in case you should want to carry skis or something like them.

Speaking of the boot, it's a fairly small space with the seats up, but the 60/40 split rear seats do drop to help with the load lugging, increasing storage from 380 to 1270 litres.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The Trendline occupies just the second rung on the Golf 7.5 ladder (though it amazingly doesn't look or feel cheap) sitting above only the 110TSI ($23,990 manual, $26,490 auto).

The Golf 110TSI Trendline makes use of a handy 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The Golf 110TSI Trendline makes use of a handy 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

It'll set you back $27,490 with the seven-speed DSG automatic - though a manual version can be had for $24,990 - and packs plenty of gear into that price tag.

Outside, you'll find 16-inch alloy wheels, LED tail-lights, DRLs at the front, as well as auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers.

Inside, you're reminded this is a cheaper model through the manual air-con controls and cloth seats, but the steering wheel and gear shift are wrapped in leather to help brighten the mood in the cabin.

Entertainment is covered via the Apple Car Play and Android Auto-equipped 8.0-inch multimedia screen, which pairs with an eight-speaker stereo.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The Golf 110TSI Trendline makes use of VW's turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, good for a handy, if not life changing, 110kW at 5000rpm and 250Nm at 1500rpm.

That power is shuffled off to the front wheels via VW's seven-speed 'DSG' dual-clutch automatic, and you'll watch 0-100km/h whizz by in a claimed 8.2 seconds.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

A standard stop-start system helps drop fuel claimed consumption to a diesel-baiting 5.4L/100km on the combined cycle, though we were mostly camped in the region of 7.0L/100km on our real-world test.

Emissions are a claimed 128g/km of C02, and the 110TSI Trendline's 50-litre tank will require 95RON fuel.

What's it like to drive?   9/10

The short answer? It still feels premium from behind the wheel. And that's the key here.

Yes, its Asian competitors are chasing it down - and fast - but nobody (with the possible exception of Mazda) has yet managed to instill that feeling of Euro quality into the drive experience like the Golf, even in this second from cheapest Trendline. There's a solidness about the way it drives that instills confidence.

It can be a little uncertain in the gearbox at low speeds, but if you adjust your driving style accordingly it soon becomes a non-issue.

It's also surprisingly agile. There's almost no roll through the body, and the well-weighted steering does exactly what it should in corners - even super twisty ones. It's not as fun as the go-fast Golf products, of course, and it's not quite so composed as a GTI or R, but it's far more engaging than its price point might suggest.

But the most impressive thing here is the quality of its ride. There's no way to adjust the suspension settings, but it is always comfortable to bomb around in - no small achievement given the abysmal quality of most of this country's B-roads.

  • It's a fairly small space with the seats up, but the 60/40 split rear seats do drop. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) It's a fairly small space with the seats up, but the 60/40 split rear seats do drop. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • Boot storage can expand from 380 to 1270 litres. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) Boot storage can expand from 380 to 1270 litres. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

Downsides? It can be a little uncertain in the gearbox at low speeds, and the lag under hard acceleration is an enduring annoyance, but if you adjust your driving style accordingly it soon becomes a non-issue. Oh, and while there's very little road noise, which does (weirdly) open the door for engine noise to invade the cabin.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

Basic safety is covered by seven airbags (dual front, front-side and curtain, along with a driver's knee bag) and the usual suite of braking and traction aids, including ABS, multi-collision braking and stability control.

There's some big-ticket safety items thrown into the deal, too. You'll get AEB, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera with grid lines, and a driver fatigue detection system all as standard.

The Golf range was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when crash tested in 2013.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Like the rest of the Golf range, the 110TSI Trendline is covered by a three-year/unlimited km warranty with service intervals pegged a 12 months or 15,000 km.

VW's website shows service costs (for the first three years, at least) at between $318 and $507 per trip to the dealership.

Verdict

Small changes are enough to keep the Golf brand humming along here, and we'd venture that, if it's not the benchmark in the segment, it's certainly duking it out with the very best of them.

Has VW done enough with the Golf 7.5 upgrade? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$22,990
Based on 266 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$15,125
Highest Price
$58,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
110 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $22,990 – 29,990 2017 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2017 110 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
110 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $18,888 – 20,999 2017 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2017 110 TSI Pricing and Specs
110 TSI COMFORTLINE 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $18,888 – 22,480 2017 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2017 110 TSI COMFORTLINE Pricing and Specs
110 TSI Highline 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $19,990 – 32,990 2017 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2017 110 TSI Highline Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption8
Driving9
Safety8
Ownership7
James Cleary
Deputy Editor

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