2013 VW Golf Mk7 vs Ford Focus

We've been impressed by the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf, but how does it compare to the Ford Focus?

The all-new Mk7 Volkswagen Golf is bigger and better than ever. But is it automatically a class leader? The Ford Focus is still one of the finest family hatchbacks, and one of the best-selling new cars in the UK today. And although it’s not the best-looking Ford ever, it’s a smart and convincing design.

VW has taken its usual conservative approach to styling, and the latest Golf isn’t dramatically different to the old Mk6. But it stands out with its neat detailing, in the flow of the headlights into the grille and the attractive rear end. In contrast, the Focus has been criticised as clumsy in places, particularly with those huge triangular air intakes in the nose.

Climb aboard, and both cars impress. The Focus has more of a premium feel than ever, with its cool interior lighting, soft-touch plastics and high-quality switchgear. There are a few too many buttons on the centre console, but everything feels solidly built.

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VW Golf Mk7 shortlisted for European Car Of The Year 2013

European Car of the Year 2013 shortlist revealed

Volkswagen Golf Mk7

The latest Volkswagen Golf in Mk7 form is more powerful yet more efficient, lighter yet safer and boasts an interior that’s better than ever. It’s VW’s attention to detail and the firm’s engineering ethos, taking things to the nth degree, that mean the Mk7 Golf is a strong contender for top honours.

White VW Golf Mk7

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ABT Tuning Golf Mk7


ABT Tuned Golf Mk7

The Golf isn’t just a car; it is THE car, as the German slogan “DAS Auto” puts it. A phenomenon which has been moving the masses in a simple and uncomplicated way since its introduction in 1974. From the very beginning, ABT Sportsline has been the top source when it comes to speeding up the Golf. “This model range is inextricably linked with our company history”, explains Hans-Jürgen Abt, managing director of the world’s largest tuning company for cars from the Volkswagen Group. Of course, the Bavarian business has attended to the seventh generation of the Golf and highlighted the unmistakable character of the modern compact car, increasing driving enjoyment even more. “It has always been important to us that our upgrades make sense from both an ecological and an economical perspective”, Hans-Jürgen Abt states. The ABT Golf VII is a hot sports car, but, at the same time, it is sensible and suitable for daily use.

The performance upgrades developed up to now ensure improved acceleration values and far more dynamism, even when the car is fully loaded. The “small” extremely economical 1.2 TFSI achieves 105 HP or 77 kW in the ABT version (standard: 86 HP/63 kW). The 1.4 TFSI has a sportier feel: The standard engine comes with 140 HP (103 kW), the ABT version provides 165 HP (121 kW). The diesel models are sensible and have high torques. Depending on the respective basic version, the 2.0 TDI provides 180 HP (132 kW) or 210 HP (154 kW). The original versions have 150 HP (110 kW) and 184 HP (135 kW). The 1.6 TDI is the most economical choice and brings the Golf VII up to speed with 125 powerful diesel horses (92 kW) after its treatment at ABT Sportsline (standard: 105 HP/77 kW).

Confident to be sure: The ABT Golf VII is a perfect car that meets virtually every requirement of its owner – and the car should be allowed to show that. The components developed by the ABT designers make the new Golf appear sportier and more exclusive in a subtle way. The front spoiler and the front grille harmoniously emphasise the powerful appearance of the ABT Golf; its headlight covers show aggressiveness. Mirror covers and side skirts establish a connection to the rear of the car, which emanates subtle dominance with its rear skirt insert and its trunk lid attachment. The four-pipe rear muffler is a typical ABT design element. The rear of the ABT Golf at the latest reveals where this special car comes from.

The ABT programme for the Golf VII is rounded off by suspension springs, which lower the car’s centre of gravity and give it even better roadholding compared with the standard version. Of course, ABT Sportsline also offers matching designer wheels. The CR and DR alloys are particularly recommended, since they highlight the design of the Golf. The rims are available in 18 and 19 inches and can be combined with brand-name high-speed tyres. After all, the ABT Golf VII is the perfect combination of good sense and fun.


Tornado Red Golf GTI

Red Golf GTI

NCAP Safety - VW Golf Mk7

Five euro NCAP stars, four innovation awards and lower UK insurance groups announced for new Volkswagen Golf

The new Golf, which goes on sale in the UK in January, has received a top five star rating from the European consumer protection organisation Euro NCAP. It also won the award for innovations in the area of integral safety at the highly esteemed Euro NCAP Advanced Awards. Along with Lane Assist and Front Assist, proactive occupant protection and the standardmultiple impact brake activation system were recognised as pioneering safety innovations. This is further confirmation of the excellent competitive position of the Golf in its class.

The overall safety package of the new Golf − consisting of occupant protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and driver assistance systems − was recognised by the European consumer protection organisation Euro NCAP for its top results. Once again, in its seventh generation, the Golf is confirming its top position, which it has held in Europe for decades now.

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Research and Development for the Volkswagen Brand, said: ‘We are very pleased that our new Golf was once again successful in fulfilling the challenging requirements of the Euro NCAP and earned its top rating. We are especially proud of the no less than four Euro NCAP awards for excellent safety innovations with which the new Golf was recognised. But this success is not just coincidental, because it reflects our corporate philosophy: safety must be made affordable for everyone. Right from the start, we worked intensively with our engineers to develop a safety package whose scope is so far unique in the compact class.’ He continues: ‘These results once again confirm that we are on the right path. We will systematically continue this development work into the future with the best interests of our customers in mind.’

The new Golf was awarded top ratings for its occupant protection. Evaluated here were frontal and side impact tests, a pole side impact test and what is known as the whiplash test, in which loads to the cervical spine are measured in a rear end collision. Not only adults, but children too can feel safe in the new Golf. This was verified in tests, some of which utilised dummies sized to represent 18 month old and three year old children. The new Golf also impressed testers with its pedestrian protection capabilities.

In addition to a high level of occupant protection, the seventh generation Golf also offers a broad array of driver assistance systems. In addition to the standard multiple impact brake activation system and the optional proactive occupant protection system, the safety package can be further customised and extended with the optional adaptive cruise control, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, fatigue detection and the Lane Assist lane-keeping assistant. A total of seven driver assistance systems are offered in the new Golf which significantly improve vehicle safety.

The multiple impact brake activation system, which ADAC has already recognised with the Yellow Angel innovation award, automatically brakes the vehicle after a severe collision to reduce residual kinetic energy. The goal here is to either prevent a secondary collision altogether or at least significantly reduce the speed at impact. Accident statistics show that around a quarter of all accidents involve secondary collisions, and these are especially hazardous, because occupants no longer have the protective effects of airbags and seatbelt tensioners. As is the case in all assistance systems from Volkswagen, the driver can choose to override the multiple impact brake activation system at any time.

Other features which were traditionally the reserve of vehicles in higher classes are also now widely available on the new Golf. The Driver Alert fatigue detection and proactive occupant protection systems are standard on SE and GT models in the UK (optional on S). The latter detects, in combination with other vehicle dynamic parameters, critical driving situations and reacts with either ESC interventions or full braking. In case of a subsequent collision, it automatically pretensions the safety belts of the driver and front passenger to ensure the best possible occupant protection by the airbag and belt system. In case of impending skidding accidents, the system closes the side windows to just small openings and closes the sliding sunroof so that safety systems such as the head and side airbags can offer optimal support and the best possible effectiveness. As soon as the hazardous situation has ended, the safety belt is untensioned.

In the UK, the new car’s excellent safety and security features contribute to Thatcham insurance group ratings that are up to 13 groups lower than those of the models they replace. The entry-level Golf S 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS is in Group 7 – four groups lower than the same specification Golf Mk VI – while the current top of the range model, the Golf GT 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS, qualifies for group 19 insurance. The previous-generation Golf GT 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS was in group 24. All Golf models also have the insurance group suffix ‘E’, which means that they exceed the required standard for vehicle security set by the Association of British Insurers. On the whole, lower insurance groups translate into lower insurance costs; another reason why the new Golf, although better than ever, is also better value than ever.

VW Golf Mk7 UK Prices

Prices announced for new value-packed Volkswagen Golf

From launch, the Golf will be available in the UK in three trim levels: S, SE and GT (the GTI and BlueMotion models will join the line-up in 2013). Four petrol engines and two diesel engines will be available to order.

The petrol engine range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85 PS, rising via a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS and a 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS motor to the all-new 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS engine with Active Cylinder Technology. This helps to create an extremely efficient engine capable of 60.1 mpg (combined cycle) and 110 g/km (when fitted with a seven-speed DSG gearbox), thanks to the ability to deactivate the central two cylinders under light loads.

The two diesel engines at launch are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS and a new 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS unit. Both feature the latest common rail diesel technology for maximum efficiency. All new Golf models – both diesel and petrol – come with a Stop/Start system as standard, along with battery regeneration.

Gearboxes are a mixture of five- and six-speed manuals, and six- and seven-speed DSG units, depending on the engines’ power and torque outputs.

Standard specification levels build on those of the outgoing Golf, bringing new items of luxury and technology to the class.

All Golf models come with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, XDS electronic differential lock and Isofix preparation for two rear child seats. The entry-level Composition Media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, a CD player, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), Bluetooth telephone preparation and audio streaming and eight speakers. Also standard is ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning, among a host of other features.

Moving up from S to SE trim brings an outstanding range of features, including standard ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which can even bring the vehicle to a complete halt if necessary, a Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, Driver Profile Selection (with four modes and five on DSG-equipped cars), rain-sensitive wipers, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and dusk sensor (automatic driving lights). Interior trim includes brushed stainless steel decorative inserts, and ‘Zoom/Micro’ cloth upholstery, along with a leather-trimmed handbrake grip, gear lever and multifunction steering wheel. A black radiator grille with chrome trimmed-inserts and ‘Toronto’ 16-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior.

From the outside, the GT model can be recognised by its 17-inch ‘Dijon’ alloy wheels, front fog lights and air intakes with chrome surrounds, ‘Cherry Red’ rear light clusters, and heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass. Inside there are gloss black decorative inserts, Alcantara and cloth sports seats, LED reading lights, ambient lighting in the doors and centre console, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights, and front and rear parking sensors with visual display.

As standard the GT comes with the Discover Navigation media system. This includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen preloaded with European mapping data (with three years of free upgrades), traffic sign display, and twin SD card reader (as well, of course, as the same multimedia functionality as the Composition Media unit).

Optional equipment includes high beam assist, lane assist, park assist (which is able to parallel-park the Golf in spaces only 80 cm longer than the car itself in addition to providing automatic end-on parking), ACC adaptive chassis control and a rear-view camera. Drivers can also select from a choice of alternative alloy wheels up to 18 inches in diameter, bi-xenon headlights, ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery (optionally with 12-way electrically adjustable front seats), 2Zone climate control, the Discover Pro navigation system with 8-inch colour touchscreen, keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof, among other options.

Volkswagen Retailers will start taking orders for the new Golf on 18 October, with first deliveries due in January. For full details, see the price list.

VW Golf Mk7 Bluemotion fuel economy

A real family car with 88.3 mpg? must be the new Golf Bluemotion!

The first generation of the Golf BlueMotion made its debut five years ago at the Geneva Motor Show, with the car coming to market in mainland Europe at the end of 2007. At that time, the Golf BlueMotion set new standards for its class with a fuel consumption value of 62.8 mpg and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km. In 2009, Volkswagen showed the second-generation Golf BlueMotion in Geneva: here was a concept car whose fuel consumption had been reduced to 74.3 mpg and emissions cut to 99 g/km.

The fact that fuel consumption for the third Golf BlueMotion has now been reduced by another 15 per cent and CO2 emissions by 14 grams per km to a class-leading 85 g/km is a reflection of Volkswagen’s continuous technical progress. With its 50-litre fuel tank and 88.3 mpg fuel consumption, the new Golf has a theoretical range of 970 miles. Assuming an average annual driving distance of 15,000 km (approx. 9,300 miles), most drivers will only have to refuel ten times a year.

The car’s combined fuel consumption has been achieved through innovative lightweight design (including 26 kg less weight in the running gear and 37 kg less in the body), engine-related modifications and a collection of other measures. These include super low rolling resistance tyres with higher air pressure, longer gear ratios (five-speed manual gearbox,the Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems that are standard in all new Golfs, plus specific aerodynamic modifications.

The frontal area of the new Golf was reduced by 0.03 m2 and aerodynamic drag (Cd x A) by nearly 10 per cent. Compared to other Golf models, the aerodynamics of the BlueMotion were also refined by a lowered ride height (by 15 mm), a roof spoiler, lateral air guide elements on the rear window, a masked front grille, partially closed air inlet screens, optimised cooling system airflow, special underfloor panels, optimised brake cooling channels and a C-pillar spoiler. These measures provide the Golf BlueMotion with a Cd value of 0.27, making the car one of the most aerodynamic in its class.

At the heart of the new Golf BlueMotion concept is a 1.6-litre 110 PS TDI from the newly developed EA288 engine series. The four-cylinder 16-valve unit develops its maximum torque of 250 Nm from just 1,500 rpm up to 2,750 rpm.

Various measures such as reduced internal friction, an innovative thermal management system with shortened warm-up phase, exhaust gas recirculation, cylinder pressure sensor, two-stage oil pump, switchable electric water pump and water-cooled intercooler right in the intake manifold result in successfully reducing fuel consumption and emissions. To reduce emissions values further, Volkswagen has also implemented an oxidation catalytic converter, a diesel particulate filter and a NOx storage catalytic converter.

* All figures are provisional and will be homologated for UK specification closer to launch.