VW Golf GTD Estate 2015 review

Is Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate's pace and practicality a winning blend on UK roads?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

This vast and fast VW Golf GTD Estate combines speed, practicality and style really well. It’s beautifully finished and adds an extra element over the hatchback version for an affordable £695 premium. Ultimately, it’s great to drive in all conditions, which makes it a very attractive package. However SEAT and Skoda do offer very similar models at an even more attractive price.

Volkswagen has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately following ‘dieselgate’, so performance diesels like the Golf Estate GTD aren’t exactly flavour of the month. However, as we’ve found out from our first drive on UK roads, there’s still lots to like about this fast and practical load lugger.

First up is performance. The Estate GTD has the same running gear as the hatch, so the 2.0-litre TDI engine sends 181bhp to the front wheels with the help of a clever XDS+ electronic diff, which serves up lots of grip. There’s also a choice of six-speed manual or DSG auto transmissions. Here, we drive the manual, and the car is all the better for it.

Volkswagen Golf review

The light, mechanically precise shift action is really involving and works brilliantly with the zippy engine. And with 380Nm of torque at 1,750rpm, the motor pulls hard and revs out freely – delivering surprising pace. VW claims the GTD races from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, and it feels good for every last tenth under acceleration.

The Golf carries incredible speed down bumpy roads, with plenty of security due to the precise steering and impressive damping. Our car had the £830 adaptive dampers, and we found the suspension is best suited to UK roads in Comfort, which knocks the edges off jarring humps nicely.

There are Normal and Sport modes, too, with the latter noticeably firmer. But even in this setting, the Estate never feels flustered, as the chassis has bags of poise. You can also select Sport for the engine, which sharpens up the response. However, this pipes a synthesised noise into the cabin, and as the 2.0-litre diesel isn’t the nicest-sounding engine in the world, it can get a bit tiresome.

The same goes for the steering, where the lighter weight in Comfort and Normal modes highlights the artificially heavy feeling you get in Sport. This spoils the car’s flow down a twisting back road.

At £28,285, the Estate GTD isn’t cheap, yet you get lots for your money. And as you’d expect from a hot Golf, it’s beautifully finished inside, with smart details like the ball-shaped gearlever, quality materials and tartan seats. And although it’s a versatile car, with a 605-litre boot, that doesn’t mean it loses out in the design stakes.

The GTD gets bespoke bumpers, a 15mm reduction in ride height and 18-inch alloy wheels which, together with the defined creases, give the car a suitably butch stance.

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