Volkswagen can now add tax-free motoring to the Golf Estate’s breadth of abilities. Emitting only 87g/km of CO2, this BlueMotion version offers a compelling blend of efficiency and practicality.
Claimed 85.6mpg fuel consumption is less than 3mpg down on the equivalent hatch, but boot capacity swells from 380 litres to 605 litres. This has been achieved through adding 307mm to the car’s overall length plus various aero and engine tweaks, keeping economy competitive with Skoda’s Octavia Estate Greenline and the SEAT Leon ST Ecomotive.
The 1.6-litre diesel has been given a 4bhp power boost over the non-BlueMotion model – up to 109bhp – and a six-speed manual gearbox replaces the standard five-speeder.
Further changes include firmer low-rolling resistance tyres, regenerative braking and a smoother front grille to help the Golf Estate cut through the air more efficiently. And although the BlueMotion model dramatically reduces running costs, the changes do little to disrupt how well it drives.
The only really noticeable difference is the slightly harsher ride, especially around town, due to the firmer tyre compound and 10mm reduction in ride height. Hit a pothole and the Golf Estate becomes slightly unsettled, accompanied by an unwelcome thud making its way through the cabin.
Elsewhere, it’s pretty much business as usual from behind the wheel. The steering is light, but provides enough feel, and the six-speed manual transmission is smooth and precise.
The powertrain upgrades make the BlueMotion slightly quicker than the S version it’s based on, with 0.2 seconds cut from the 0-62mph sprint, which now stands at exactly 11 seconds.
Kit is generous, too. Bluetooth, 15-inch alloys, touchscreen, DAB radio, a 5.8-inch colour screen and air-conditioning are all standard. The only sticking point is the price. At £22,165, the Golf has a £1,680 premium over the SEAT Leon ST Ecomotive, which offers identical running costs in a more stylish package.