Commentary by Bob Aldons - Northstar Volkswagen
Obviously based on the Golf, the Golf Cabriolet also shows styling cues from the Audi A3 Convertible.
Isaac Bobber comments about the 2012 Golf Cabriolet and leaves me a bit puzzled. If you scroll to the bottom of the article, he lists a BMW 1 series hardtop in his comparable cars along with the Renault Megane Cabrio and a Peugeot convertible. Rather than letting us wonder Isaac, why don't you explain why you haven't included cars such as BMW Cabrio. Mini's new vehicle, along with even Audi and Mercedes.
However his closing comments are probably the most suited - "So sorted is the chassis, the braking, and the cars overall balance, and its plenty comfortable inside too that it not only leaves is VW sibling, but also its rivals well behind it." - and methinks he wants one for a long term evaluation.
if you'd like to know more about the VW cabriolet, visit Northstar Volkswagen for a test drive. You'll find Northstar at 322 Anzac Avenue Kippa-Ring on the beautiful Redcliffe Peninsula. You can check out more about this car at www.northstarvw.com.au or see the monthly specials at www.lovemyvw.com.au . Other news and reviews are available at www.mycarreview.com.au
Isaac Bober road tests and reviews the 2012 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 118TSI.
With all of our sun you'd think drop-tops would be (more-ital) popular here in Australia.
The reason they're not is usually because driving a convertible is about as much fun as carrying a water-logged tissue box - almost no structural rigidity, see.
But that's not the case with the soft-top Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet; with the top up or down it feels as solid as the proverbial rock. Ordinarily, driving a soft-top can be like riding along with your head inside a bass drum, but the Golf Cabriolet is easily one of the quietest canvas-roofed cars on the planet.
And with its 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine, its nimble handling and decent ride your left scratching your head about why you'd look further up the tree at the also-topless VW Eos.
With prices starting at $36,990 for the six-speed manual, and $39,490 for the seven-speed DSG, the Golf Cabriolet undercuts the likes of the VW Eos (from $49,990), C70 Convertible (from $61,950) , Peugeot 308CC (from $50,990), and even the MINI Cabrio (from $40,350).
And you get a fair amount of kit for your money, including dual-zone climate control, hill start assist, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity with audio streaming, electric door mirrors, and wireless remote control of the central locking, matte chrome dash and door inserts, 17-inch alloys with 225-series rubber, rain-sensing wipers. More than that, the glove box can be cooled and the rear seat back has a 50:50 split.
Under the bonnet is Volkswagens familiar 1.4-litre twin-charger unit which combines turbo charging and supercharging for maximum efficiency and oomph. There's 118kW at 5800rpm and a hefty 240Nm from 1500-4000rpm, mated to the six-speed manual fuel consumption is 6.6L/100km and drops to 6.5L/100km for the not-so-smooth seven-speed DSG.
But it's the soft roof that's the clever-clogs part of the car. See, usually it's impossible to make a canvas roofed car nice and quiet, but the VW engineers have managed to insulate the inner and outer layer and have virtually eliminated wind noise. And, thanks to four roof bows, the canvas roof manages to keep its shape at all times. It takes the electro-hydraulic roof just 9.0 seconds to open and 11.0 seconds to stow, and it can be operated at up to 30km/h.
Even more impressive is the fact there's no rollover bar, rather, there's an automatically deployable rollover modules which are triggered when the airbags are deployed. These units are incredibly compact allowing for folding back seat rests rather than just a ski pass-through port.
Obviously based on the Golf, the Golf Cabriolet also shows styling cues from the Audi A3 Convertible (just look at it from the rear three-quarters). But, rather than just be a drop-top Golf, the Cabriolet has its own distinctive and, dare I say it, muscular and sporting look - it's certainly more sports car than cabriolet. And with the roof up or down there's a reasonable 250 litres of boot space.
On the inside, the styling is typical VW and that means its ultra practical and easy to use on the fly. But more than that, it's also incredibly well screwed together and the material choice is first rate; in this price range no-one makes a better interior.
There's plenty of room in the front seats which are comfortable and supportive, and thanks to the rear-seat entry aid getting into and out of the spacious back seats (which seat two) is an cinch for even a six-footer like me.
Due to the fact a soft-top carries no reinforcing roof structure, the engineers are required to make the body as strong as possible. And they've done a great job with the Golf Cabriolet which is free of scuttle shake and feels just about as rigid as a hard-headed Golf.
In addition to the stronger body, the Golf Cabriolet has a five-star ANCAP safety rating, runs five airbags, front and rear head restraints, anti-slip regulation, electronic diff lock, stability control, ABS and electronic brake force distribution, and much more.
This is a tale of love and hate... around town I found the Golf Cabriolet to be an awkward beast that was forever wheel spinning from a standing start and then lurching through its first two or three gears. Up to about 30-40km/h the seven-speed DSG seems clumsy indeed compared with the six-speed unit we tested in the petrol-powered Yeti the other week.
But, once you're up and running the transmission smooths right out offering rifle-bolt precise shifts and a seamless delivery of oomph. The diesel-like 250Nm from 1500-4000rpm makes flattening hills and overtaking an cinch.
And the nimble chassis, compliant ride and well-weighted steering means the Golf Cabriolet is anything but a soggy soft-top. Indeed, turn the Golf Cabriolet into a corner and such is its composure and balance, thanks to its lowered sports suspension (similar to the Golf GTI), that it ends up feeling more hot hatch that high street poseur.
This is a drop-top for keen drivers and not just hairdressers... indeed, thanks to the roomy back seats and the ease with which you can access them this could - maybe, possibly - even work as a family car
In the Golf Cabriolet and the Eos, Volkswagen has two very similar drop-tops, and going into this drive we thought the Cab would pale next to the Eos, rather were left wondering why you'd pay the nearly $10,000 more for the Eos. So sorted is the chassis, the braking, and the cars overall balance, and its plenty comfortable inside too that it not only leaves is VW sibling, but also its rivals well behind it.
AT A GLANCE
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 118TSI
Price: From $36,990 (+ORC)
Warranty: Three years, unlimited kilometres
Resale Service Interval: 15,000km or 12 months
Safety Rating: five-star ENCAP
Spare: space-saving spare
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual; seven-speed DSG
Body: 4.33m (L); 1.72m (W); 1.42m (H)
Thirst: 6.5-6.6L/100km / 155g/km CO2
Renault Megane CC - compare this car
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl
Transmission: Constantly variable transmission, Front Wheel Drive
Body: Three-door Cabriolet
Thirst: 8.1 / 100Km
BMW 1 Series - compare this car
Engine: 1.6-litre twin-turbo 4-cylinder petrol; 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual and auto
Body: Five-door hatchback
Thirst: 5.8 / 100Km
Peugeot 308CC - compare this car
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl, turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, sequential; front-drive
Body: Three-door convertible
Thirst: 7.0 / 100Km