The new Golf VI has subtle but pleasant looks

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

There is no doubt that the Golf is the most exciting model in the Volkswagen stable.

Since 1974, when Golf 1 was introduced, it has evoked excitement.

Last week marked the end of an era as the Golf V made way for Golf VI.

The new Golf was launched in Cape Town in four derivatives.

The new Golf VI does not show radical changes from the Golf V.

It bears subtle and pleasant changes but without losing the Golf theme.

It can be spotted from miles away as a VW Golf.

The sixth generation Golf reashes our shores already wearing a big accolade of 2009 World Car of the Year.

To the Golf V GTI owners, make sure you fully enjoy your car for the remaining seven weeks before the new star arrives.

The new Golf was launched in four engine derivatives. Three petrol and one diesel.

I was particularly impressed by the quietness of the diesel engine.

But all models were smooth and responsive. Driving through Franschhoek Pass the new Golf behaved like a princess, with the kind of handling that will instill confidence in an amateur driver.

Thanks to the team led by veteran car designer Waler Da Silva, this sixth generation has a considerably more extended appearance.

The Golf is being offered with a seamless package of safety features as standard equipment. On the passive side there is a further perfected safety body (including additional reinforcement in the door area and optimised pedestrian protection), seven airbags including knee airbag on the driver's side and a patented head restraint system for the driver and front passenger.

The new Golf is equipped with a sensor concept for detecting crash intensity and ignition of the airbags. This involves having the electronics, located centrally in the passenger compartment, evaluate the low-frequency deceleration signals.

All functional components are easier to operate. These include the climate control system.

The instrument panel has been redesigned, resulting in a clear, well-organised geometry that offers an uncompromising ease of operation and a high level of timeless elegance.

On initial contact with the new Golf, one is immediately impressed by the luxurious soft materials of the upper cockpit area and door trim that complement the design.

Volkswagen will be offering the new Golf, for the first time, with the parking assistant (Park Assist) and rearview camera (Rear Assist).

Also new aboard the Golf is a generation of ESP that has a finer response, counter-steering boost and trailer stabilisation.