Viva la Variant - Volkswagen Golf Variant 1.4 TSI DSG R-Line
Text and Photos by Julian Kho, sgCarMart.
The estate version of the iconic Volkswagen Golf hatchback brings life into the car, making it one complete compact estate.
The magnificent Volkswagen Golf hatchback is like that girl next door whom you really adore. She's simple, fun-loving, family-oriented and has a lot of heart to give. The only pet peeve about her is that she has the lack of courage to fight for what she really wants. More often than not, she comes across as someone who's trapped between who she wants to be and who she should be.
The Volkswagen Golf Variant, on the other hand, has a sort of positive vibe that comes across as addictive. It is everything the hatchback sibling is, but with that generous dose of courage and the quiet maturity of knowing whom she really wants to be without compromising on who she should be.
Up close and Personal
As you would come to expect, the Variant is identical to the hatchback from the frontal view. In fact, you could easily mistake this radiant Variant with the handsome hatchback when parked butt in side by side. What has also remained the same is the bold horizontal line that extends neatly from the A-pillar right through to the taillights.
Where the Variant differs from the hatchback, clearly, is from the C-pillar onwards. Instead of merely bulking and extending the butt from the hatch, which could cause an unfortunate rear-end disaster, the car you see here comes across as crisp and contemporary, more so considering the test car came equipped with the R-Line trim, which makes it look a tad antagonistic at the right places.
At 4,562mm long, 1,799mm wide and 1,481mm tall, the Variant doesn't have an imposing stance or an air of arrogance on the road, which is undoubtedly a good thing.
Instead, what you get is the kind of humble yet courageous attitude, as proof of what this pint-sized writer experienced over the four-day test drive when other drivers attempted to overtake what they thought was a mere hatchback, only to find out it's a wagon they're going past before they slowed down to take a quick second glance with a tinge of envious look on their faces.
While the inside sports a familiar seventh generation Golf layout and electronic function, space is ample in the Variant. Thanks to its humongous 605-litre boot space, which is more than both the Sportsvan and the hatchback of 500 litres and 380 litres respectively, transporting awkward-sized items is a walk in the park.
Knock the benches down and space immediately goes up by a couple of notches to a whopping 1,620 litres.
Despite having 307mm of extra length and weighing almost 100kg more over the hatch, the Golf Variant does not feel like a burden to pilot.
With its humble 1.4-litre powerplant mated to the smooth-shifting seven-speed gearbox and churning out the same figures of 123bhp and 200Nm of twisting force as its hatchback brethren, the car has a lot of heart to give. The very fact that it's nimble and agile further enhances its appeal.
You are aware of the car's boundaries, especially around a series of bends, because there is a hint of understeer when you brake too late around a corner. In that sense, it's also a good thing because the car never feels like it'll start wagging like an ecstatic dog. But that doesn't mean it's careless and loose.
The Golf Variant, despite its sizeable proportions, takes on the task of carving corners with aplomb and precision when pushed hard but not beyond its limits. Part credits have to go to its rather stiff suspension, which gives you that extra layer of confidence to tackle the twisties.
The only setback here is that while it absorbs and glides above the annoyance of regular bumps and humps, it can get a little unsettling over badly broken tarmac, which has been quite a common sight of late due to the constant road construction for the new MRT lines.
While you may have other affordable options such as the Subaru Levorg or the Hyundai i40 Wagon, they don't quite come close to the great design and handling of the Golf Variant.
The Volkswagen, quite simply and sincerely, offers all the goodies from the Golf hatchback with a larger rear end and a more grown up personality.
More relevantly, at $130,800 (as of 10th March 2016), this car will make you feel like you're getting a lot of car for the amount you're paying, and will certainly enhance your unflashy good taste for the simple things in life.
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