If this is the future of green motoring count me in

While I was expecting economy, I certainly wasn’t expecting high levels of refinement or agile performance from the Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion. I’ve previously driven the Polo Bluemotion and, while impressed by its economy, low emissions and driveabllity, it would be a stretch to suggest it was a real driver’s car.

There’s not a lot to identify thethe Golf Bluemotion. Apart from some subtle aerodynamic tweaks to help it slip through the air even more easily, it looks just like the standard Golf. That means the usual a neat design that evokes enough of the Golf heritage to be part of that lineage, combined with a no-nonsense design that projects a feeling of quality.

Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion

It’s a similar story inside, although there are some give-aways that this is more the workaday end of the Golf range. The steering wheel is plastic. Sad to say I have become so soft and so used to being pampered by leather-rim steering wheels, that the touch of a textured plastic one feels odd. The other surprise is just five gears.

Apart from these low-rent items, the rest of the interior has a premium look with that logical quality finish that makes a Volkswagen almost as good as the past masters at Audi. I like the little touches like the silver tips to the electric window switches. Not only do they look upmarket, they make the switches easier to find in a sea of black.

The real surprise with the Golf Bluemotion came when I took it out for its first drive. I simply was not prepared for such a driveable, lively, agile and refined motor car!

Where the Polo Bluemotion had quite a gruff diesel that made its presence noticed and felt, the Golf Bluemotion whispered so softly and smoothed its vibration so much that my wife was genuinely surprised (at the end of our drive) when I said it was a diesel!

Not only does it not emit that sonorous diesel drone, its responsiveness is surprising. This is a whole lot more lively than you would expect from a diesel that has been set up with the principal aim of returning headline-grabbing economy and CO2 emissions. It definitely feels considerably quicker than its on-paper 0-62 mph time of 11.3 seconds suggests – probably because its in-gear ‘real’ acceleration is good.

The 1.6-litre TDi common rail engine produces 105PS. In chasing outstanding economy and low emissions, the Golf Bluemotion is fitted with the now common stop-start system that turns off the engine when you are stationary. The tyres are designed to offer low rolling resistance, electricity is regenerated from braking and (as previously mentioned) there are aerodynamic tweaks to the body. On the dashboard there is a subtle display that shows you when to change gear for best economy.

Lively performance would be surprising enough on its own in such an overtly economy car. But the second surprise is the Golf Bluemotion’s agility and nicely balanced handling. Despite tyres designed for low rolling resistance and maximum economy, it grips the road well. The steering is precise and ideally weighted to give just the right amount of feedback for a family hatchback.

It also cruises well. On dual carriageways I found myself reaching to change up to the non-existent sixth gear. That simply reflects how effortlessly the Golf Bluemotion cruises at the legal limit that it feels like it could easily take a higher gear.

So, now to the critical part. The all important economy and emissions.

Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion

The Golf Bluemotion grabs the headlines by just sliding in below the 100g/km carbon dioxide threshold, with a figure of 99 g/km. That feat means that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK will reward Golf Bluemotion owners with a tax disc that costs nothing.

The combined fuel consumption figure is 74.3 mpg – a figure that would provoke incredulity just a few years ago. In my real-life driving there were a few times when I was stunned to see the average on the trip computer rise over 60 mpg on the open road. Overall I managed 44.4 mpg. That may be a chunk less than the official figure, but it is still outstanding for a family-sized hatchback... especially as I have to admit I was not driving in a particularly economical manner. Rather, I was revelling in the Golf’s willing performance.

If I had tried a little harder I might well have come closer to the real-time economy I achieved with the Toyota Prius. Not bad for a conventional keenly-priced car with no hybrid technology!

Little wonder that the new Golf Bluemotion has picked up a number of awards since it went on the market in the UK – most recently the ‘What Car? Green Car of the Year’ Award’ in July.

The price of the Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion is £18,715 for the five door, or £18,130 for the two door version.

What can I say? If this is the future of green motoring, count me in!
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