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Simple design, advanced engineering

Golf 1.4 TSI DSG Highline

Golf1This country needs to fall in love with hatchbacks more. There I said it. Despite its size, it takes care of that one problem — space.

Just to give you an idea of how much cargo room you get, a hatchback variant will have an extra 6-7 cubic feet of space, depending on the brand, compared to its sedan sibling.

Currently, only subcompact hatchbacks enjoy a certain amount of popularity. Compact hatchbacks are still under the radar since majority of buyers prefer a regular trunk to a hatchback.

I take the Golf 1.4 TSI DSG Highline for a spin to show you how hatchbacks can be the better alternative than the average sedan.

 

Simple designGolf2

The Golf, of all the hatchbacks available, has probably the most plain design. It is absolutely unassuming and totally straightforward with basic lines, subtle curves and minimal highlights. There’s no pretense to be what it’s not because it leaves all that to its more endowed sibling, the GTI. The effect it has is the illusion that it’s cut from a single sheet of metal.

One thing that will stand out with the Golf is something you’ll actually notice only in the dark. The Highline, which is the top-of-the-line trim (Comfortline is the entry-level), comes with Bi-Xenon headlamps encased in square-shaped LED daytime running lights and it quite simply is a stunningly exquisite design.

To top it off, the Golf (both trims) come with the “Leaving Home” and “Coming Home” function. This means its lights — headlamps, courtesy lights under the sideview mirrors and rear lights — will turn on when you unlock the vehicle and stay on for a few seconds, lighting your path as you walk away from the vehicle.

 

Practical interior

The Highline comes with ‘Vienna’ leather seats that, just like the exterior, may not seem much at first glance but it feels as soft as the voices of the choir it was named after. The seats feel more padded than they actually look. In fact, the ComfortPlus support that it offers makes it feel like the same ones used in the GTI. The leather cools down quickly, with the help of climate control of course, even after hours parked under direct sunlight.

Laying out all the buttons and knobs during the design stage must have been a nightmare but the result came out like a dream. Despite the numerous switches, VW made it so that each is spaced out, clearly labeled and extremely easy to find.

The steering wheel comes with a variety of controls for hands-free functionality, audio and cruise control, while a 5.8″ color touchscreen monitor handles the vehicle setting and audio to the eight-speaker system.

Allergy-prone people will be happy to know that the ventilation system comes with dust and pollen filters, although always remember to turn ‘On’ air recirculation as it’s ‘Off’ by default every time you start.

 

Power to the 1.4

Without a doubt, the Golf ranks right up there when it comes to handling. Its small 1.4L turbocharged engine, putting out 150 PS, is one of the reasons this is possible. The brochure says it can go from 0-100kph in 8.2 seconds all the way to a top speed of 216kph. I’ll take the manufacturer’s word for it.

Through the steering wheel, the Golf lets its weight be felt, but the power coursing through your legs from the throttle lets you know everything is going to be alright. Throttle response is amazing. A little pressure equals 250 Nm of torque.

Drivers with a heavy foot may feel like they’re breaking in a stallion, but once you get the knack of how to gently massage the throttle, you will level up and become one with your Golf.

The Golf’s seven-speed direct-shift gearbox (DSG) changes effortlessly and seamlessly from gears 1 through 7. Up or downshifting is silky smooth without losing any torque during transmission, and while increasing fuel economy by up to 15-percent.

 

Got hatch? Get a Golf

The hatchback is the practical solution for a family of four who love taking trips out of town on long weekends, an adventurous young couple or even singles with a passion for the outdoors and long drives.

It takes care of issues like tight parking spaces, maneuverability and increases your options instead of ending up with bigger, bulkier and more fuel-hungry SUVs. Even after a full six days of ‘energized’ driving in the city and highways, the Golf still returned 8.7 kilometers per liter.

Its price is on the high side at P1.74M but you can opt for the Comfortline for P149,000 less and still get the same engine, transmission and performance.

The Golf 1.4 TSI DSG Highline is perhaps the epitome of the hatchback’s utilitarian background: simple design backed by Volkswagen’s advanced engineering to give you great fuel economy, performance and versatility.