What a car! A locomotive marvel! Subtle from every angle. A gladiator swathed in French perfume. No matter how you look at it, the Golf V is unobtrusively perfect - or so it seems. Yes, the chassis is responsive and solid. Yes, it handles like hot Prestic on even hotter tar. It even has the power and grunt to make the driving experience enjoyable. A real driver's car... But that's not the full story.
You see, after driving my car for just over a year now, I've started noticing little - call them quirks.
The seatbelts for instance, are of good German quality, comfortable even, but my issue isn't with them when they're in use.
You see, Golf drivers are usually a lot livelier on the roads and through the twisties than other drivers, and if you happen to be driving alone, the passenger seatbelt finds it oddly amusing to incessantly remind you of its presence by bouncing off the side of the B-pillar. Solution? You decide to keep it secured. Bad idea! It seems the angle and tension then placed on the holster cause the plastic casing to weaken. Picture this, you open the door for your date, you disconnect the belt from the holster and its casing falls apart! Your face heats up, you blame the Germans.
Ok, so the bouncing seatbelt won't bother run-of-the-mill drivers. But let's take a closer look at that "chrome" finish the Sportline is furnished with - it's very appealing to us younger folk. But I don't think the designers realised that the car was meant to be used and not just a beautiful show piece.
I mean, the handbrake release button, when new, is all shiny and pretty, but give it a couple months and that reflective chrome finishing starts feeling lonely and starts clinging on to anything it comes into contact with, leaving a dull creamish and very unattractive handbrake button. Again, this is not something that would bother everyone.
What about rattles? Well, it's true what they say, the smallest things drive you the craziest. I have to admit, it's not a constant issue in the Golf V, but switch the radio off and take a brisk drive over some of South Africa's national roads and you will find the car starting to mumble at you from the weirdest recesses. Even playing music with certain harmonic frequencies really awaken some creaks that will annoyingly try and compete with your new favorite track. Sigh.
But that's it. You can't fault this car from any other angle. Its 103 kW and 320 Nm of torque and an endless array of safety equipment give you piece of mind in any driving situation. 1 000 km off a tank is a regular occurrence, making it one of the most fuel efficient two-litre diesel engines on the planet today. Family or Fanatic, the Golf V 2.0 TDI is a smart choice. The number of them on our roads is evidence of this.