The sgCarMart Editorial team takes its pick from the Volkswagen Golf fraternity
Desmond firmly believes that a Golf 1.4 is all you need
The Beatles famously sang, 'All you need is love, Love is all you need'. Sometimes, the simple things in life are all that you need. Well, when it comes to cars, substitute 'love' with 'Golf' and you are pretty much set.
As evidenced by the number of them on our roads, the Volkswagen Golf has been the popular choice of many drivers. And rightfully so - it's a sensible hatchback offering a laudable combination of practicality, daily usability, affordability, and good driving dynamics.
Of course, there are many different Golf choices you can opt for - Nigel loves the GTI, while Anthony thinks the Variant is the one to have. And you know what? I can see where they are coming from. Both are great cars in their own right, offering something a little bit different than your standard Golf.
But the truth is that, especially in Singapore, there's very little need to have anything more than this straightforward Golf 1.4. The extra power or space might be great talking points over midnight prata, but on a day-to-day basis, you won't really need it. I say, buy what you need, not what you think you may need.
This Golf is all the car you need - its got a punchy 1.4-litre engine that also offers decent frugality. On the road, the comfortable ride means that it's easy to drive, while the assured handling still lets you have fun in corners. The interior is spacious, comfortable and high-tech. And of course, it's a Golf, so its looks are timeless and hard to fault. Moreover it's cheaper than the other two to boot - significantly cheaper to buy, and certainly cheaper to run.
So really, the Golf 1.4 is the one to have because sometimes the simplest things are the best. All you need is a Golf, a Golf is all you need.
In Nigel's humble opinion, the iconic and influential Volkswagen Golf GTI is a car
everyone should own at least once
The GTI tag is one that requires no introduction. Denoting Grand Turismo Injection, it's a moniker many manufacturers such as Citroen, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Suzuki have used for higher performance models.
But the most iconic and recognised GTI in the world of motoring is undeniably the king of hot hatches, the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Unknown to many, however, the Golf GTI was in fact a car, which shouldn't even have gone to production some 40 years ago.
Back in 1973, a six-man team headed by Anton Konrad, Volkswagen's then head of public relations, went against the company's wishes of avoiding performance cars. His team of ingenious rebels worked in secret on a fast version of the popular Golf, to be named the Sport Golf.
The car was based on a Scirocco with a 100bhp version of the Audi 80 GT's 1,588cc engine, a barely silenced exhaust and race-firm suspension. The outcome of a few brave men was the Mk1 GTI, which in time evolved to become not just the best hot hatch in the world, but also an automotive icon.
During its public debut at the 1975 Frankfurt motor show, the Mk1 GTI was the fastest Volkswagen ever made. The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer has since sold more than two million GTI units globally, spanning over seven glorious generations.
Before the upcoming Mk7.5 GTI reaches us, the latest GTI is the one you see here, the Mk7; and people continue to love the model because it's able to do everything - it's all the car you'll ever need. Grocery runs? Easy. Road trips? No sweat.
The GTI isn't the fastest or sharpest performance car around but it's practical, comfortable, premium on the inside, yet magical when you decide to go anywhere near its 'fun' pedal. With 217bhp and 350Nm of torque from its turbocharged EA888 motor on tap, the Mk7 GTI in stock factory form isn't slow by any means, too. Coupled with a well-sorted chassis, suspension setup and an improved electronic differential, you can be sure of its all-rounded performance.
If you're in the market for a Golf, and if your finances allow you to, just go for the GTI. You won't regret it. I sure didn't.
Anthony feels the wagon bodystyle is making a comeback in the stylish and practical
The once ubiquitous wagon hasn't been the most popular class of car on our roads for a while now. Maybe it was just a passing trend, like the wide-leg JNCO jeans or Tamagotchis. Or maybe some think it resembles a hearse. Or maybe it just looks dated.
Whatever the case may be, the wagon is making a comeback and it's doing it in style. Challenging the preconceived notion that wagons look like hearses is the Volkswagen Golf Variant.
Standing out from a sea of Golf lookalikes, the Variant offers everyday practicality with a touch of class. From the front, the estate looks just like its hatchback brethren. But move along its bold horizontal line, which spans from the A-pillar right through to the taillights, and you'll find a magnificently modern-looking rear-end.
Looks aside, the Variant is hands-down the most practical of the trio. Where the Golf GTI and Golf 1.4 would struggle, the Variant would make short work of a trip to Ikea.
At 4,562mm long, 1,799mm wide and 1,481mm tall, the Variant boasts a 605-litre boot - considerably more than both the aforementioned cars - which come in at 380 litres. Fold down its rear seats and you'll get a whopping 1,620 litres of boot space, perfect for stowing away those flat packs that Ikea is so proud of.
A 1.4-litre powerplant - also present in the Golf 1.4 - powers the Variant, putting out the same figures of 123bhp and 200Nm of torque. The added weight of almost 100kg and an extra 307mm in the Variant, however, don't make the estate any less easy to drive than its hatchback sibling. Slight understeer presents itself during late braking around corners but for the most part, the Variant is deceptively agile for its size.
We managed 14.5km/L on the Variant during our time with it, which wasn't far off from the standard Golf 1.4's figure of 15.6km/L, and we weren't even trying to be 'eco'. A lighter foot would definitely have brought fuel economy figures up considerably.
At about $52,000 less than the GTI, the Variant ($136,900 as of 9th January 2017) is definitely the more sensible choice. It does, however, cost $14,000 more than the 1.4. But, you'd be getting a distinctly better-looking, more practical Golf that has fuel economy figures so close to the hatchback that they're negligible. It's a no-brainer.