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First drive: Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate
No GTI wagon yet from Volkswagen, so the GTD takes up sub-R performance duties instead.

   



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Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate

4 4 4 4 4

Volkswagen, at the time of writing, reckons the GTI badge is too special to be slapped on the rump of its handsome Golf Estate. So, to bridge the gap from the 150hp GT model up to the stonking 300hp R, Wolfsburg has appropriated the GTD nomenclature instead, giving us one of those frighteningly capable all-rounders that the Volkswagen Group is fabled for.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate
Pricing: from £28,285
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 115g/km (VED Band C, £0 first 12 months, £30 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 64.2mpg
Top speed: 143mph
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Power: 184hp from 3,500- to 4,000rpm
Torque: 380Nm from 1,750- to 3,250rpm

What's this?

One of a trio of Golf Estates launched recently by Volkswagen, all of which have their merits (some more than others, though, given the absolutely stellar performance doled out by the R wagon). Volkswagen called this trilogy's launch 'Higher, Further, Faster' and the GTD represents the middle attribute, which sounds vaguely like being damned with faint praise to us. Although the officials on hand at the event hinted something special would be announced at Wörthersee, we're confident it won't be a Golf GTI Estate, so it's the diesel engine that gets ported over from the warm Golf hatch. That makes sense, as it gives us a C-segment load-lugger capable of both 64.2mpg and 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, giving you an idea of the GTD wagon's jack-of-all-trades character. The GTD loses nothing in the transition from five-door hatchback to estate, as the specification and design are identical from car to car. All that differentiates this GTD from the hatch is extra metal behind the C-pillar, slightly revised suspension settings at the back to compensate for any heavy loads in the 605- to 1,620-litre cargo bay and an extra 70kg on the kerb weight.

How does it drive?

Largely like the Golf GTD hatchback. You'd be hard pressed to notice the extra weight of the Estate, even if you jumped straight out of a five-door and into the Jacara tartan driver's seat of this wagon. It has the same firm but not uncomfortable ride, the same excellent diesel engine that likes to rev and has a monster mid-range, and the same sort of tidy, impressive handling that is more than commendable for a diesel estate, if not the most exciting thing you'll ever drive; on this last score, its decent road holding is achieved through the standard fitment of the XDS+ electronic differential, which makes the front-wheel drive GTD an understeer-resistant, nimble sort of machine.

The GTD is only let down by variable steering that is too light in comfort mode and oddly hefty in its sportier setting, neither extreme offering huge amounts of feedback. It sounds good, though, and is brisk enough across the ground to truly merit one of Volkswagen's performance badges. Indeed, its parsimonious attitude to fuel consumption coupled to that more commodious rear means it probably makes more sense than the hatch, especially as the GTD Estate commands a mere £695 premium over the five-door. Talking of options, for £1,400 you can equip the GTD with DSG, but then you'd lose the 'shouldn't like it but we do' golf ball gear knob of the manual, which is a fine transmission when all's said and done.

Bizarrely, the most powerful example of the heavier, all-wheel drive Alltrack Golf (launched at the same time) beats the GTD on 0-62mph times, being a tenth of a second quicker over the benchmark sprint. That might be because the Alltrack does have the extra traction over the front-drive GTD, and also because the Alltrack uses a six-speed DSG gearbox with shorter low ratios. However, having driven both in short succession, the GTD still feels the quicker, more involving car - for obvious reasons - thus proving that on-paper stats aren't always all they're cracked up to be.

Verdict

If we said that the dynamics and character of the Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate turned out to be extremely predictable, it'd sound like we weren't that fussed by it. But we are - it's every bit as good as the hugely capable five-door version and all Volkswagen has done is add extra practicality, with very little in the way of either monetary or economical penalties to counter its decision. We'd therefore say the GTD Estate is the best of the ever-broadening performance Golf offering... if it weren't for the presence of the astonishing, if niche, R Estate above it.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 25 Apr 2015



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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.



2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTD Estate. Image by Volkswagen.
 






 

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