The Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion is a turbo-diesel-powered Golf with a 1.6L engine, five doors, five seats, a five-gear manual gearbox – and some twists.
It boasts technology that stops the engine when the car comes to a standstill and recovers energy by charging the battery when braking and claims these deliver better fuel economy. We took it for a spin to find out how it performs and what it’s like to drive.
This is not designed to be a sporty vehicle. The BlueMotion goes from 0km/h to 100km/h in a reasonable 11.5 seconds, and once it hits about 2000rpm it accelerates well for everyday use.
The brakes are powerful enough to stop the car safely at any speed and steering is light, though direct. The ride is firm and it feels stable even when taking a corner fast.
We would have preferred more power at the lower end of the rev range, as it tends to judder when cornering at low speeds.
What makes it green?
The juddering is actually a result of a low-gear ratio optimisation feature and cues to change gear from the middle of the dashboard also help maintain maximum efficiency.
The start-stop technology employed in the engine is fairly seamless and didn’t annoy our test driver; however, it can be turned off.
Including a repair kit instead of a full tyre or space saver spare lightens the car’s load, and VW claims the tyres have low-rolling resistance, decreasing effort.
The cabin is very comfortable - both the backrest and pew of the driver’s seat provide plenty of lateral support, and the seat is comfortable enough for extended drives.
A bit of road noise enters the cabin when driving on rough roads and slight wind noise is present over 100 km/h but the cabin’s well insulated from engine noise. However, filling the car with diesel is messy, so keep a pair of gloves in the car.
The fuel label claims 3.8L/100km, but our measurements show 5L/100km is more realistic. That’s still 2L/100km better than the larger engine Golf, so if you switch to the BlueMotion you’ll start saving straight away.
There are less-expensive diesels around – but they’re unlikely to have the style features the BlueMotion offers.
The BlueMotion delivers a pleasant driving experience and doesn’t crow about its technology, looking just like any other Golf, without any flashing dials and switches.
Its price may be restrictive for some, but for those who want reasonable economy in a medium car, we recommend it.