The Golf Estate was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and will cost £765 more than the equivalent hatch when it arrives in the UK in October. Later in 2013, there’ll also be a BlueMotion model for the first time, which will return a claimed 85.6mpg and 87g/km of CO2. VW expects the 1.6-litre diesel to be the top-seller, but we’re driving the most favoured petrol model – the 120bhp 1.4 TSI.
The Golf Estate’s look is a smart extension of the hatchback, particularly where the crease in the car’s flank carries on past the rear wheelarch. The standard-fit roof rails look slick, too. While the wheelbase is the same, at 2,637mm, the estate is 307mm longer. That gives 605-litre load capacity with the rear seats up – 100 litres more than in the old estate, but a tactical five litres fewer than in the new Octavia Estate so as not to spoil the Skoda’s practicality USP.
VW has obviously decided that rear-seat passengers take priority over maximum space. Rear seat room is excellent, with plenty of leg and headroom available. However, flip the rear seatbacks down, either with the boot-mounted handle or the button on the seat itself, and they won’t fold fully flat as they do in rivals like the Kia Cee’d Sportswagon or Toyota Auris Touring Sports. As a result, maximum space is 1,620 litres – 22 and 38 litres less respectively – although the boot lip is nice and low.
The Golf also has a slightly fiddly folding boot floor that can be used to adjust the load volume and both a load cover and adjustable luggage net. These can be stored under the boot floor, above the space-saver spare wheel, when not in use.
The driving experience is very familiar from the current hatchback, with sharp steering and strong brakes, although you do feel the extra 104kg that the estate weighs over the equivalent hatch when cornering.
That said, the car’s gearing and 200Nm of torque from the petrol engine combine to give a good balance of keeping revs down to boost economy, while also ensuring decent response, which bodes well should you be carrying a heavy load. The petrol engine is very smooth and quiet, too.
The estate can now be had with VW’s excellent Adaptive Chassis Control, which gives a very comfortable, compliant ride, even on 17-inch rims, and is worth considering if you drive lots of miles.