Swift, comfortable load-hauler with lots of toys
The L&K edition offers an amazing amount of kit for the money.
The estate's boot is a good size, and positively voluminous with the back seats dropped. Net system for restraining loads is excellent.
2.0 TDI 140bhp is fairly quick (0-60mph in under 10 seconds). There is a massive lump of torque that appears between 1,700 and 2,200 RPM, but holding onto a gear beyond around 3,000 RPM achieves very little - it takes a while to get used to shifting short when in a hurry. When around town, it pulls sufficiently from 1,200 RPM and rarely needs taking above 1,500 RPM - keeping the revs low keeps fuel consumption down. First gear is disturbingly unresponsive, but it pulls nicely from around 15mph to about 110mph, when it starts to run out of puff.
It is a heavy car, and you notice that in sharp bends, but VW's stability program handles it well. The brakes are amazing.
I have a long-term average of just over 50 MPG (imperial), which is pretty impressive for a car of this weight, especially as this figure is for when it is driven enthusiastically. I have found that Shell regular diesel (not V-Power) beats other brands/supermarkets by 5-10% in this car.
The ride is settled and quiet at motorway speeds - 75mph is 2200 RPM in 6th – but the suspension is a bit firm for poorly-maintained town roads. Maybe the 16" wheels with higher profile tyres could solve that as opposed to 17" rims with low profiles.
The estate will take four 6'+ adults quite happily, the roofline on the hatchback might not allow as much headroom for rear seat passengers.
Seats are sufficiently comfortable for most journeys, but start to get annoying after 4 or 5 hours.
I had to replace the front tyres after 39,000 miles – they were £140 each, but the original rear tyres are less than half-way through.
It gets through a litre of oil roughly every 15,000 miles.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th November, 2009