Unfortunately I am part of a breed that would have red paint thrown all over them in the near future. Why …
Well … I am not a fan of hybrid / eco-cars. I have never been. I believe the eco-hybrid cars are to big V8 engines, what video was to the radio star. Sure they are a driver for the direction where motoring is going in the coming years, but it scares me. I wasn’t part of the big V8 Chevrolet generation, so I’m catching up. I love the rumble, how you can practically hear the oil-fields running dry, and the incredible performance. I’m still enjoying that…and the eco-car is here, burning pitchforks in hand, to take that away.
Thankfully, there was no threat of red paint this week as I took delivery of a VW Golf 6 Bluemotion. For those not in the know, Bluemotion is VW’s eco-line, using modifications to current models to make them more … no … a LOT more economical and environmentally friendly.
The modifications on the Golf are cosmetic changes to the body (lower sills, a wing, different grille and undercarriage changes) to make the body nice and slippery when cutting through the air. Low-resistance Michelin rubber, Start-Stop system, (which switches off the engine when the car is stopped and in neutral) low resistance engine modifications, lowered sports suspension and a form of regenerative braking is employed. No big battery here
The Golf Bluemotion is powered by a 1.6TDI (turbo diesel, 77kW, 250NM) engine, that is actually a lot more responsive and gutsy than you’d think. The part I heart about this car, is that you don’t have to drive the hell out of it to get it to move. The 250NM of torque means you can easily cruise at speed, overtake without shutting your eyes and saying your last prayers, and get off the green-light without having a man on a bicycle whizz past you. So far, so good.
The interior is standard Golf stuff, with no fancy bits, but has everything you need :
• Electric windows and mirrors all round
• Great sound system
• 7 Airbags, ESP and ABS with EBD
• Multi-function leather steering wheel & cruise control
• Dear VW. Please put iPod/Aux plug in as standard, it’s 2011
The options list is unfortunately, not as extensive as the rest of the range, mainly because they don’t want you loading up the car with extra weight and then getting the same fuel consumption as the Hummer. It’s sensible, as saving weight is the name of the game here. Speaking of saving weight, there’s no spare tyre (confused face) Not ideal in SA conditions, but they do give you a fixing kit and compressor.
Handling and braking is pretty much on par with other Golf 6 models. The drive is firm (lowered sports suspension) but the big soft sidewalls on the Michelin tyres means you don’t crash over bumps and undulating surfaces. That said, I’m not a huge fan of these tyres, you can practically feel them bending away from the rims when you corner aggressively, but I guess they get the main job done … economy.
Main gripe, is probably the gearing (A 5-speed manual). You really need to be careful as a rolling change into second going round a corner and uphill could easily have you stall. You can’t really slip the clutch to keep the engine on the boil enough at low speeds. This said, should you stall you can easily fool the start-stop system into starting the engine by an in-and-out on the clutch. Ha!
Total 7day average I managed 6.5l/100km (Manufacturer claims on Urban cycle – 5.7) however I did a lot of city driving, and decided that I wasn’t going to putter around like a pensioner, but rather drive like a normally do (Which isn’t slow) to see what type of realistic consumption it’s going to give. That said, the 6.5l/100km is brilliant in my books, and I did get it down to around 4.5l/100km when highway cruising. One of my colleagues at ZACarShow (www.Zacarshow.co.za) easily returned the claimed figures because he can easily switch to a geriatric motoring style. At closer to claimed figures, it will easily get over 1200km on a tank, and is a fantastic cruiser for that, and many other reasons.
Overall this car does what it’s gone out to do … and well. It does it well without cutting off your balls and replacing them with a mangina (a-la Prius). You’re still driving a Golf6, which is respectable, and that exactly said, it’s a Golf6, which is a well engineered vehicle! How many pennies would you have to fork out for this VW? Well, it goes for R266 900 (Thankfully no CO2 Tax). For the first time, I can honestly say that it’s the ONLY eco car I’d give my own hard earned South African Rontz out for.
For more information/specification on the Golf, visit www.vw.co.za
Vehicle supplied by VW South Africa.