We've got hold of a Volkswagen Golf for a few months to live with it every day. In some ways it's a more realistic test of a automobile than our usual week-long loans. Paddy will be the 'owner' of the automobile most of the time, but I'll be getting behind the wheel regularly too to give a second opinion.
Our automobile is the BlueMotion model, which is the most fuel efficient Golf available. It's not difficult to spot some of the modifications made in the name of efficiency. It sits lower for a start and boasts a modest body kit - designed for aerodynamic slipperiness more than aesthetic appeal. Up front there's a unique grille and the tyres are low rolling resistance items. We'd prefer the attractive Glacier Blue metallic paint colour available, but the black hue is likely to be chosen by more VW customers.
Although this is an 'eco' model, there are few compromises. The 1.6-litre TDI engine is really quiet and the Golf is as comfortable as ever. We'd like a little more equipment as standard though, as neither Bluetooth nor cruise control are included in the €23,650 price.
What you do get is an incredibly efficient automobile. We're averaging 5.3 litres/100km so far (53.3mpg in old money) and it has been used in all conditions from stop-start traffic to long motorway drives. I took it to Bantry and back from Dublin recently without needing to add any diesel, which is a distance of nearly 700 kilometres. Sure, a lot of that was on the motorway, but the automobile was loaded up with two adults, two kids and our luggage for a few days. That's impressive.