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Who needs a Golf GTI when you can have just as much fun in the Golf Comfortline?

The 2015 Golf Comfortline with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, superb handling and German engineering combine as a less expensive alternative to the GTI.
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The seventh generation Golf carries on as Volkswagen’s cost-effective choice for people looking for a German-engineered car but don’t want to pay Audi
The seventh generation Golf carries on as Volkswagen's cost-effective choice for people looking for a German-engineered car but don't want to pay Audi

The 2015 Golf Comfortline with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, superb handling and German engineering combine as a less expensive alternative to the GTI. Ok, so you don’t care about performance, you should know the seventh generation Golf carries on as Volkswagen’s cost-effective choice for people looking for a German-engineered car but don’t want to pay Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz money.

Styling might be considered conservative by some. Underneath, the new Golf is a technical pioneer – one of the first vehicles launched from the German automaker’s new global platform. The biggest benefit to buyers of this body platform in addition to light weight is a roomier Golf. Front legroom has increased by 20 millimetres and rear legroom by 15 mm. A bit of extra width means shoulder and elbow room have been bumped by 30 mm and 20 mm, respectively, too. The interior is what you would expect of a German car; top notch fit and finish, crystal-clear driver instrumentation and upgraded instruments with a new iPad-quality infotainment touchscreen. I like that windows are large for good visibility in all directions. Seats are firm and comfortable for long distance travel. My five-door tester had the fold-down 60/40 rear seats which helped expand cargo capacity.

As I mentioned the base engine is 1.8 litres turbocharged putting out 178 horsepower delivering it in a smooth, linear fashion through a very precise five-speed manual gearbox. For $1,400 you can get an optional automatic. This is a very enjoyable driver’s car with quick steering, tight handling and good ride comfort. The Golf makes commuting a little more entertaining, a little less humdrum. You also spend less time at the gas pumps. Around town with a little driving on the Henday, I averaged 9.5L/100km or 30 mpg. There was no opportunity for extended highway travel, but expect 6.5 L/100k at highway speed depending on how fast you’re going.

I like Volkswagen vehicles because they have a driving experience very different from Japanese or North American makes. It all has to do with engineering. The Comfortline, despite not wearing a GTI badge, is still a lot of fun to drive. It’s very easy to get the engine revving and before you know it, you’re moving along 20 km/h or more over the limit. Adding to the enjoyment of driving is the Golf’s high level of refinement. Nothing rattles or squeaks and if you turn off the radio and turn down the heater fan, the interior is very quiet. This all adds to the enjoyment of the car as a long-distance tourer.

The base price of a two-door Golf Comfortline is just over $20,000. My five-door started at $22,895 and comes with a long list of standard features. Unfortunately cloth seating is not standard. You get “Leatherette” which is just a fancy name for vinyl. An optional convenience package at $1,695 added automatic headlamps, dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing front wipers, panorama sunroof and dual-zone automatic climate control. Options I could do without because they’re frivolous and the sunroof would add unnecessary weight. Still if you did opt for the package, the price before freight and GST would come to $24,590. Very reasonable for a car so well built, roomy, comfortable and economical.

Garry Melnyk is a St. Albert resident and lifelong car buff who has written about new cars and trucks for radio and print publications since the ’70s.




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