Bags of space – VW Golf Variant
Text and Photos by Kannan Chandran, Storm.
Volkswagen's Golf has matured quite nicely over the decades. A neat little package, it possesses the balance between looks, performance and practicality to grow with an aspiring group of car owners who want more than mundane performance out of their car.
Given its diminutive disposition, the Golf Variant (GV) comes across as something of a contradiction to what the model represents. Here's an estate that obviously stretches things out with the Golf. You can understand Volkswagen trying to broaden the appeal of this model range, bringing its existing customers along for a journey that may result from families growing larger or individuals requiring more space for their business or leisure activities.
Commercially, the GV makes sense. Built on its modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, it allows for the development of cost-saving variants in an era of more rapid change and evolution resulting from the disruptive nature of technology.
The elongated profile of the GV suits the model. The Golf, while punchy and enjoyable behind the wheel, sometimes suffered for that hatchback kicking in too suddenly. The R-Line variant also offers touches that add more to the aesthetics, via the bumpers, radiator grille and 18-inch alloy wheels. The extended roof rails provide a sense of utilitarian chic.
More length also means more space and storage. Rear seat occupants will have more legroom, and when the panoramic roof is exposed, lots of light will fill the cabin. The already spacious boot can be further expanded by dropping the rear seats. To avoid having to clamber into the gaping back to shove the privacy screen, a couple of taps sends it to the limit. And if you don't require it, the screen can be stored with the spare tyre.
Moving People In Comfort
Given the extra dimensions worked into the GV, it handles differently. It's a more sedate experience, but not lacking in any of its assuredness. The drive is stable, without any unwelcome shudder or shake, and the handling accurate as it picks its way through traffic. There is enough difference between the drive modes to offer a sense of versatility and certainly efficiency, evident when there's more noise than sprint when you floor the accelerator with a full load onboard. Gear shifters are handy on the multi-function steering, which also accesses other features that make the GV a pleasant driving experience.
Loaded with a slew of aids to help the driver cope with the extended length, it's easy to navigate the GV. A big 8-inch touchscreen lights up with a view of the rear when reversing, has satellite navigation (a tad outdated), and allows for connectivity with your mobile device so that - heaven forbid - you're never out of touch with what's going on.
While safety is a big concern - PreCrash protection strives to keep occupants safe in the event of an incident - there is a lot more going for the GV. One thing's for sure, there'll be no shortage of space to carry your golf bags.
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