Odometer at pick-up: 6,788 km
Observed Fuel Consumption: 8.2 L/100 km

Welcome to a long-term test like no other we have done before. Volkswagen has afforded us the unique opportunity to essentially test their entire current Golf lineup to experience the full range of its flexibility and flavours. We start with a modestly equipped Golf 1.8TSI, then we’ll spend a month in the efficient yet engaging 2.0 TDI clean diesel, and cap off our experience with a few weeks in the GTI.

As many of our frequent readers can attest to, the Volkswagen Golf occupies a special place in our hearts here at Autos.ca. If I may be so bold as to quote myself: “We are biased in favour of refined, well-rounded vehicles that also offer an enjoyable driving experience.” Others are biased in favour of value, quality, outright efficiency, reliability, styling, brand cachet or power, and the Golf lineup offers hints or flavours of each of those. Okay, except perhaps reliability, where Volkswagen has a reputation for scraping by with CELs aglow and gremlins galore.

So this long-term car comes in with some big expectations, having recently won a pair of comparisons in two distinct trims, the GTI in Everyday Fun Cars, and the Golf 1.8TSI in Compact Hatchbacks.

We start our long-term test in the heart of the lineup, a value-conscious Golf 1.8TSI in Comfortline trim with the base five-speed manual transmission and a modest Convenience Package.

But let’s work our way up the Golf ladder to see where it fits in the lineup. The Golf line in Canada starts with a 3-door Trendline trim at $18,995 and a mandatory $1,395 Freight & PDI fee, with such amenities as three doors, four wheels (15-inch alloys) with disc brakes all around, five-speed manual transmission and a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder making 170 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. Along with that sweetheart of an engine, which feels more like 200 hp and 200 lb-ft when paired with the manual transmission, it is the very structure of the Golf that justifies its price.

The newly engineered flexible MQB small-car architecture will underpin virtually all small VWs and Audis eventually, spawning over 40 variants when all is told, and each one will feel more solid than the last I’d warrant.

Connect with Autos.ca