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Cars Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 2020 review

22:50  04 december  2019
22:50  04 december  2019 Source:   autocar.co.uk

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Volkswagen Golf 2 . 0 TDI specification. Where Porto, Portugal Price £28,000 (est) On sale Spring 2020 Engine 4 cyls in line, 1968cc, turbodiesel Power 148bhp What VW offers is a heavily underpowered engine in order to fulfill the emissions requirements. You can actually get a 1.5 or 1.6 with real-world

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What is it?

Not so long ago, if you wanted an everyday car with good performance, excellent fuel economy and even better ergonomics, you bought a turbodiesel Volkswagen Golf. British roads overflowed with these cars, whose relative dullness, it seemed at the time, was the reasonable price to pay for vice-free motoring in many other respects. But we all know what happened next, and lately the pick of the Golf’s engine line-up has been the 1.5-litre TSI – a smooth-spinning, downsized petrol that for the eighth-generation car has also been fitted with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech.It’s unlikely any diesel-propelled Golf will ever again enjoy such popularity, but the Mk8 version is nevertheless here and, according to Volkswagen’s engineers, TDI power is now even cleaner than the equivalent petrol model. That’s because a new ‘twin-dosing’ system hits exhaust gases with AdBlue upstream of not one but two selective catalytic reduction (SCR) sites that together act on the gases over a broad temperature range to cut nitrogen oxide concentrations by 80% compared to the old model. It's heavy-duty stuff. That makes the latest diesel Golf exceptionally clean, but of course, it also needs to bring owners the more tangible benefit of sipping fuel in religiously frugal fashion. Volkswagen hasn’t released official numbers yet, but on the basis that fuel consumption is said to be 17% better than the outgoing TDI engine, the combined economy figure should better 60mpg by WLTP standards. On paper, it is an almost unbelievable improvement, but then again this EA288 Evo engine is almost entirely new, with significantly lower mechanical losses than the old unit. A full road test will help reveal the truth, but it seems likely this TDI will be the most frugal Golf in the current line-up, more so perhaps than the 245bhp GTE plug-in hybrid due next year, depending on your mileage.As for the engine itself, displacement is two litres, with the old 1.6-litre now history not only in terms of hardware but in concept. There are however two power outputs for this larger four-cylinder in order to cater for both those who want nothing more than a steady tool car and also those who would like some bite to match the Mk8’s visual bark. You can then have either a seven-speed dual-clutch or six-speed manual transmission, and it’s the former Autocar has driven, mated to the more powerful 148bhp engine (versus 109bhp), which generates its peak torque output of 266lb ft from only 1750rpm.

What is it like?

Out on the road, the plain, easygoing driveability of bygone TDI Golfs remains. Overly conservative gearshift mapping has become a problem in petrol-engined cars programmed to game economy tests, but here diesel torque alleviates this issue and the shifts themselves are, for the most part, impressively smooth.

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There is genuine progress elsewhere, too. As we discovered during our recent first drive of the mid-hybrid 1.5 eTSI, this new Golf steers with genuine precision on its stiffened-up MQB chassis. In a first for any VW Group product, dampers that now firm up on outside and soften on the inside to further help the car rotate into and through bends, and you really need to go looking for it to experience any meaningful understeer.

Ride-quality is generally good – supple without the float – though our car was fitted with DCC adaptive damping and, as with all Golf variants touting 148bhp or more, independent rear suspension in place of the standard torsion beam. On our test route there was also just enough fussing over bridge expansion joints and the like to suggest that 18in wheels will be best avoided in the Britain.

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The new 2020 Volkswagen Golf (likely a 2021 Volkswagen Golf when it reaches Australia) retains the same front-wheel-drive MQB platform as its predecessor, albeit updated to offer greater structural rigidity. The launch range also includes a 2 . 0 -litre four-cylinder TDI engine with 85kW and 110kW.

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But back to the engine, because perhaps as a consequence of the progress made in curbing emissions, under load its note is coarser than expected. It's not a deal-breaker, just a little out of step with an interior and ambience that otherwise reeks of polish and maturity.

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And, consequently, for a family hatchback that now offers maturity in spades, we'd expect a touch more class in the engine bay. This lack of sophistication is especially noticeable when pulling away from junctions or out of third-gear corners, when the TDI unit growls too enthusiastically.

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VW ’s chief designers also made great play of the attention to detail that had gone into the interior fit and finish and tight fit of the exterior panels. ´ Iceland has some of the noisiest roads in the world (worse even than South Africa and the UK said a VW engineer) but the cabin of our 2 . 0 TDI DSG model was

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Which isn't to say that this engine is unrefined in general. At motorways speeds, when seventh gear will drop crankshaft speeds to just 1500rpm, it's so discreet as to be undetectable, and even the small amount of wind-noise generated by the shapely door mirrors is exposed.

For many, that will be a price worth paying in return for the balloon of easily accessible torque. It’s still the defining characteristic of the car, and something that will make this TDI usefully more responsive than the TSI or even the hybrid eTSI when full of passengers or luggage.

In the lower gears the power delivery can seem hesitant before dramatically piling on propulsive force at around 2000rpm, but once into third gear it will spin out in impressively linear fashion for a diesel workhorse, even if there’s no point in ever venturing beyond 4000rpm.

Should I buy one?

Without knowning the exact price of the car or how far it will go on a tank of fuel, we can't answer this. As with the Mk7, the Mk8 Golf is probably the car with the greatest all-round appeal in its class, and an economical diesel engine does nothing to stunt its appeal as an everyday proposition, even if the TSI is the more engaging motor.

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We would argue that the engine in the equivalent BMW 1-Series has greater breadth. That car's handling is also more invovling and the interior technology quite a bit more intuitive, but ergonomics and in particular rear headroom remain are still a problem. It's debatable whether the Mercedes A-Class rides well enough to properly challenge this new Golf, while the Audi A3 is ageing and the latest Focus desperately lacks the air of sophistcation.

All of this before you consider the Volkswagen's vast suite of safety technologies and a cockpit that, for its useability foibles, looks and feels the part. So, if you'll forgive the cop-out, we'll reserve judgement until there's been a proper diesel-hatch showdown with all the major players back on British roads.

Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI specification

Where Porto, Portugal Price £28,000 (est) On sale Spring 2020 Engine In-line 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel Power 148bhp @ 3500-4000rpm Torque 266lb ft @ 1750-3000rpm Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch auto Kerb weight 1400kg (est) Top speed 139mph 0-62mph 8.8sec Fuel economy tbc CO2 tbc Rivals BMW 118d, Mercedes A220d

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