REVIEW DATE: 22 Jan 2008
Does the entry-level Golf Plus have enough In its locker to make an impact? Steve Ghosley checks out the 1.4-litre Luna
The Golf Plus may, at first glance, appear to be a strange choice of vehicle for Volkswagen to market. After all, they have one of the most successful hatchbacks ever produced in the Golf, so why create a taller version? Volkswagen believe that they can attract buyers for the Golf Plus from those that would normally look to buy family-oriented vehicles like MPVs but would prefer a little more style than offered by the current crop of people carriers.
The entry level model in the Golf Plus range is the 1.4-litre Luna variant that we look at here. It's powered by Volkswagen's older 80PS petrol engine, a unit that delivers 38.2mpg on the combined cycle. In overall speed terms, this Golf will stroll to 62mph in a leisurely 16.2 seconds before topping out at 100mph and producing 175g/km of CO2. The price is £13,290.
The car is fitted with a slick five-speed gearbox to enable you to row it along fairly briskly. The extra 95mm of height over a standard Golf might lead you to worry about an increase in body roll but you needn't. Volkswagen have increased the standard hatch's spring rates to cope and added a thicker rear anti-roll bar: as a result, there's virtually no discernable difference between the two cars from a driving perspective.
"One benefit of basing the Golf Plus on the Golf Mk V chassis is that it has an excellent start to life.., "
So what do you get for the extra £1,000 over an equivalent standard Golf? Well, for a start, the additional outlay gets you 20mm of extra interior headroom, enabling you to sit much higher than in a standard Golf. That means more legroom for passengers too, even before they start playing with the sliding rear seats. Volkswagen have resisted the temptation to jemmy in seven seats and have instead concentrated on making the five seats and luggage bay as practical as possible. The rear seats can be shifted fore and aft by 160mm and folded by means of a new system to Volkswagen which means that they are automatically lowered when folded down. This results in a virtually level load space, making the Golf Plus a very practical option indeed. The seats do the usual 60:40 split and the middle seat can also be folded down to form a drinks table. Additional stowage spaces around the cabin and a double height boot floor are nice touches but once again, the Golf Plus throws up more questions than answers. After all, these features could probably have been integrated into the Golf without too much of a headache.
One benefit of basing the Golf Plus on the Golf Mk V chassis is that it has an excellent start to life, the electro-mechanical steering feel and composed body control being leagues ahead of most of the opposition. It also retains the basic stance of the Golf. The interior keeps the Golf Plus at the top of the family hatch tree. It uses a fascia design reminiscent of the Phaeton luxury saloon although the centre console is lifted from the Touran mini-MPV. With the possible exception of its pricier Volkswagen Group cousin, the Audi A3, the cabin has the beating of anything out there as regards ambience. The interior features soft-feel slush-moulded plastics, high-quality switches, subtle use of chrome, fabric-covered A-pillars plus blue instrument backlighting with red needles - a signature of the fourth generation model. In addition, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), no fewer than six airbags and anti-lock brakes are fitted as standard throughout the range. Big car features such as automatic activation of headlamps and wipers are built into the car's electronics.
What you do need to ask if you think you might be in the market for this car is whether £13,290 is too much to pay for a five-seat Family Hatchback with great build quality and a dash of extra versatility. After all, you can get a fully-fledged mini-MPV from a rival manufacturer for less (or a Volkswagen Touran for only a couple of hundred more).
Overall, the Golf Plus Luna 1.4 should find a ready market with those whose priorities are centred on comfort, carrying capacity and economy.
The results below show the top GOLF PLUS deals on buyacar
|Volkswagen Golf Plus 2.0 TDI 140 SE 5dr DSG diesel hatchback|
|Price £20,702||Save £3,993|
|Volkswagen Golf Plus 1.6 TDI 105 BlueMotion Tech SE 5dr DSG diesel hatchback|
|Price £19,829||Save £3,901|
|Volkswagen Golf Plus 1.4 TSI SE 5dr DSG hatchback|
|Price £18,924||Save £3,771|
|Volkswagen Golf Plus 1.4 Luna 5dr hatchback|
|Volkswagen Golf Plus 1.4 TSI SE 5dr hatchback|
|Price £17,759||Save £3,621|
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|OVERALL||7.7 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||8|
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