VW Golf GTD

Meet the office hottie! No, not our road test editor, but VW’s superb hatch, which has wooed nearly everyone...

  • CABIN quality is first rate, but the steering wheel deserves special mention. It’s one of the few parts of the car you make constant contact with as a driver and the tactile leather, attractive design and sculpted shape make it great to hold.
  • THE parcel shelf that covers the boot is our biggest gripe. The assembly feels flimsy and its locating lugs at either side slip out of their clips. One of the straps that attaches it to the tailgate has also broken, but it’s a simple fix.

OUR VW Golf has established itself as the office hottie at Auto Express. I can see why it attracts admiring glances wherever it goes, but this is one workplace relationship fuelled by hard graft rather than water-cooler gossip. And that’s because our Golf GTD isn’t simply good to look at.

Admittedly, our test car’s optional Vancouver alloys (£410) do wonders for its appearance – I actually prefer them to the distinctive telephone-dial style rims fitted to the GTI. But the VW is earning plaudits for what it does, rather than how it looks.

And you don’t just have to take my word for it, as my colleagues are only too keen to tell me about its talents. I’ve never experienced such a positive response to any car on the Auto Express fleet.

So what makes the GTD such a hit?

Well, it’s hard to pin down to one single element. Chief sub- editor Stuart Morton was most impressed by its in-gear pace. “Bumble along in sixth gear behind someone in the outside lane of the motorway, and the GTD responds supremely when they get out of the way – there’s no need to change down,” he said. “Also, the toys are brilliant. The reversing camera is fantastic and the iPhone integration magic.”

Editor in chief David Johns also emerged from a weekend behind the wheel raving about its abilities. “A car that well and truly debunks the ‘petrol-only’ hot hatch mantra,” he wrote in the logbook.

“Everything that’s great about a Golf GTI – fast, comfortable, super to drive, practical, flexible, fun – but with much better fuel economy. In fact, I reckon it’s actually better than the GTI. Didn’t want to hand the keys back – it’s that good.” Even recent additions to the Auto Express fold have been won over by the Golf’s charms. New motoring writer Paul Bond said: “Every time you get behind the wheel, you’re instantly reminded that you’re in something special. The build quality wouldn’t look out of place on a car twice its price, and the GTD’s potent blend of performance and economy makes it an effortless all-rounder.”

I can’t say I disagree with any of the above. Back in April, the Golf GTD lost a twin test to our long-term SEAT Leon FR TDI, largely because its VW Group cousin is significantly cheaper. But the more I drive the Golf, the more I think it’s worth every penny. So I’ll let road tester Graeme Lambert have the last word. “Best car on the current fleet. No question,” is his entry in the VW’s logbook. And his long- termer? The SEAT Leon FR…

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